A Look At Link Fire Truck Suspensions
October is National Fire Prevention Month so we wanted to salute all the firefighters who regularly head toward danger and put others’ safety ahead of their own. Did you know firefighters respond to more than 30 million emergencies in America each year? While the exact nature of the calls range from fires to medical situations, response time is always at a premium. As you can image, the heavy loads and high speeds put a tremendous amount of stress on fire truck suspensions and components.
In fact, what makes fire trucks especially well-suited to respond to fires and other emergencies (large ladders or aerial lifts, plenty of storage space, water tanks, etc.) also makes them susceptible to tremendous wear and tear. Despite strong construction, the flexible elements (like ladders) fatigue over time. Cracks can form. Cabinets break. And when they do, municipalities are left with expensive insurance claims or worse, out-of-service fire trucks.
One of the best ways to minimize these issues is through an improved suspension. Link has a long history of partnering with the firefighting industry to develop fire truck suspensions. Our two flagship products, Air Link and Atlas, both provide unique advantages for fire trucks.
Air Link® Tandem Drive Vocational Suspension
Air Link, or as you may be more familiar with, “The Raydan Suspension,” is an extremely robust and durable tandem drive suspension that provides excellent roll stability, load equalization and a smooth ride. It merges the load equalization of a walking beam suspension with the ride quality of an air suspension. The smooth ride created by Air Link isn’t just a luxury for passengers. Air Link minimizes the vibration from a rough ride that leads to cracks, breakages and vibrational stresses – which contribute to damaged equipment and jarring of the crew. Air Link is also engineered to equalize the weight on the axles. This helps prevent overload, damaged axles and poor traction, which accelerates wear and tear on the vehicle and equipment.
Another unique aspect of Air Link is its ability to remain operable in the result of an air leak. If an air system failure occurs (such as road debris puncturing the air spring) rubber stops inside the air spring prevent the frame height of the truck from dropping more than one and three-quarter inches, keeping the driveline angle correct and the rear overhang off the ground. It was proven in some of the toughest terrain imaginable - northern Canada logging roads and oil fields – so we know it can perform in extreme conditions.
Atlas™ Drive Suspension
Drawing on the lineage of Air Link, Atlas provides similar benefits in a single-axle air suspension. It’s ideally suited for those seeking maximum cabinet volume, ladder length capacity and tipping load of 500-700 lbs. With up to 35,000 lbs. carrying capacity, Atlas allows fire trucks to carry longer ladders and more equipment in a more efficient manner without sacrificing performance and comfort.
While Air-Link and Atlas currently provide key advantages over other fire truck suspensions, we’re constantly listening and working with the firefighting industry to innovate and overcome new obstacles. We’re working to make our products lighter, with higher capacity and to help meet different travel requirements for fire and rescue vehicles.
Managing Director, Link Canada