By Bruce Nalesnik/KME Chassis Product Manager
The KME Predator™ cab model delivers unsurpassed safety, ergonomics, reliability and ease of maintenance. While safety comes “standard,” the KME Predator boasts a wide range of options for powertrains, seating, storage needs, and fire apparatus budget. The KME Predator is the ideal foundation for a KME aerial, pumper, tanker, wildland, or rescue fire apparatus.
KME has been producing custom chassis since 1986 and is in the midst of its fifth generation of chassis development. We currently offer more than 300 custom cab configurations for all types of pumper, aerial, and rescue applications. We continue to strive to improve our design and option portfolio based on customer feedback and industry trends. KME offers a 100-inch and 96-inch exterior cab width and offers standard-width and narrow-width engine enclosure options in the 100-inch-wide cab. KME continues to offer different cab widths and lengths and the associated supportive engineering for these options because of fleet department requests for narrower and shorter wheelbase designs for their environmental operations. Different cab materials are likewise offered (i.e., stainless steel) for those customers who require a specific cab material based on their history with certain cab configurations.”
KME designs each Predator cab model using the latest versions of 3D modeling engineering software and finite element analysis (FEA) to ensure structural integrity under all loading and operating conditions. After the initial design work is complete, LS-Dyna crashworthiness simulation is performed to verify that the crashworthiness exceeds federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) and SAE requirements. Actual vehicle crash testing is performed to validate the simulation and FEA models and to verify that the occupant zones of our cab can withstand impacts at over two times the required impact parameters, providing the occupants the maximum protection available. All cab models start with the same cab substructure made from specifically engineered 6061-T6 and 6063-T52 aluminum extrusions. These extrusions, along with an integrated panel system, provide the structural framework that allows it to be the strongest cab in our market. KME does not bolt together cab structure components; all cab structural areas are welded or bonded with structural-grade adhesives. The combination of thick walled extrusions and the use of up to 3⁄16-inch aluminum sheet materials gives our cab weldment superior longevity and test-proven structural integrity.”
KME manufactures its cab doors with 6061-T6 and 6063-T52 aluminum extrusions, and then they are covered with a 3⁄16-inch-thick 5052-H32 aluminum plate. KME cab doors mount to the cab shell with a 3⁄8-inch-diameter continuous stainless steel piano hinge. Strength doesn’t stop with the cab. The cab-to-chassis attachment includes two rear latch assemblies and two pivot assemblies. Each pivot assembly features two plates that are welded into the cab main structural supports along with high-strength steel pivot brackets attached to the frame with Grade 8 fasteners. This attention to detail has allowed the Predator cab and chassis to exceed frontal impact testing with an impact load greater than 2.1 times the specified load.”
KME recognizes that despite excellent engineering and design practices in conjunction with proven construction methods, testing is still a critical phase for ensuring the safety of custom cabs for the fire service. In conjunction with industry-leading third-party safety specialists, our cabs and chassis have met and exceeded all crash and crush test standards for frontal and side impact and roof crush tests in compliance with SAE-J2420, SAE-J2422, and ECE-R29. Through extensive third-party testing at an independent laboratory, KME cabs and chassis are subject to the most rigorous and thorough battery of tests available in the industry. The independent leading third-party tester performed all front and side impact testing. Also at 2.1 times the industry requirements, frontal impact testing was done. KME’s independent leading third-party tester performed all required roof and side additional crush testing. Weights exceed the industry requirements by 100,000 pounds. KME believes these three test criteria are sound benchmarks for the fire service to ensure a minimum level of protection to all occupants.”
Cab designs have changed drastically over the past 10 years as fire department needs have evolved to provide multiuse apparatus. The use of the cab for additional compartment space via emergency medical service compartments and on-scene operations reinforces the need for flexibility by the chassis manufacturers, or they will find it increasingly difficult to compete in the market.
KME designs and produces all of its custom chassis cabs at its main production facility in Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania. KME Predator Chassis offers best-in-class room, ergonomics, and safety.
For more information, visit www.kmefire.com.