Hearth engines might have modified since Sutphen received its begin on the finish of the nineteenth century, however the firm continues to be family-owned and operated. Photographs courtesy Sutphen

The corporate provides firefighting equipment to fireplace departments all through the nation.

Firefighting is commonly a household affair.

Lengthy shifts on the firehouse produce a brotherhood amongst firefighters, and it’s widespread for generations of particular person households to don the uniforms and helmets of America’s courageous firefighters.

However household ties will not be restricted to the women and men who take up the noble explanation for extinguishing fires and saving lives.

Within the case of 1 firm, household additionally applies to the manufacturing of fireplace vehicles and different tools wanted for the precision work exhibited on the scene of an sudden inferno.

Sutphen has been manufacturing firefighting equipment for the previous 131 years. It’s the oldest repeatedly owned and operated hearth equipment producer within the nation, and at the moment operates services in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

C.H. Sutphen started the enterprise in 1890 and it has been family-owned and operated ever since. The corporate has by no means needed to reorganize and has by no means been led by anybody apart from a Sutphen.

Roughly 5,000 hearth vehicles are bought in america every year. However the private, household contact is what units Sutphen aside from the opposite bigger producers, in line with B.J. Laney, normal supervisor of the corporate’s Dublin, Ohio operations.

“Folks take pleasure in doing enterprise with Sutphen due to the Sutphen household expertise,” Laney stated. “We provide a unique expertise right here than lots of our rivals, and other people select us as a result of we manufacture the best high quality customized product within the business and your precise expertise each bodily and mentally is completely different with us than it’s with others.”

A Sutphen-built hearth truck on the scene of a hearth in Estero, Fla.

Sutphen operates 5 manufacturing and servicing services in Ohio: the Dublin headquarters, Hilliard, and three places in Urbana. One other facility, Sutphen East, is positioned in Lake Ariel, Pa.

The Dublin plant alone employs 115 hourly associates and one other 35 salaried workers, and the Dublin hourly staff are represented by the Teamsters Union. General, Sutphen employs 465 staff members at its six services.

Manufacturing a hearth engine isn’t any easy process. It requires a whole lot of suppliers for the numerous elements that make up these complicated autos.

Sutphen, nevertheless, retains it made in America, manufacturing in Ohio and buying its many elements regionally and in close by Midwest states comparable to Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Hearth vehicles will not be produced with an meeting line methodology like cars, however as an alternative are constructed from the bottom up, shifting among the many 5 Ohio places till completion.

A welder engaged on firefighting equipment.

The method begins on the firm’s headquarters in Dublin, the place the truck cab is constructed. It then strikes to Urbana for the chassis construct.

“I’m constructing a truck for the six days that it’s in Dublin, after which it indexes,” Laney defined. “It goes to the subsequent facility on the road, the place we provide the instruments and the elements and the personnel to finish the subsequent step for the truck. We have now expert electricians, expert assemblers and expert plumbers so that everyone engages with the vehicles in what we name their 15-week journey as soon as it really enters the manufacturing facility.”

Firefighting equipment is made up of two distinct kind of vehicles. There are pumpers, that are usually smaller in measurement however present massive quantities of water to struggle fires the place an alternate water supply, comparable to a hearth hydrant, just isn’t accessible.

And there are the aerial vehicles which have mounted ladders and platforms for preventing fires at completely different heights and distances.

Sutphen prides itself on its aerial hearth engine vehicles due to its mounting in the course of the truck for elevated stability.

“We are able to take a ladder out 100 ft, function it 360 levels and you’ll prolong it straight out from the aspect, straight up within the air,” Laney stated. “Any time you will put two to 3 firefighters 100 ft within the air with open flames round and numerous completely different chaos, you higher make sure that your product is the best high quality.”

Sutphen hearth ladders in manufacturing.

The heart of a Sutphen truck are made in-house, as the corporate builds its personal chassis’ and constructs the physique of the automobile from aluminum and chrome steel sourced from corporations such because the metallic processing firm Ryerson in Chicago.

“Most of our suppliers usually provide us with metals in sheet type, whether or not it’s aluminum or stainless and we are going to weld these collectively,” Laney stated. “We’re customized, however all vehicles go collectively the identical approach no matter measurement of size of the truck or the scale of the engine.

“What makes us distinctive available in the market is we do weld our aluminum however in nearly each alternative we use huck bolts. All through the truck we use a huck fastener. It has a collar that clamps down. In the end if you huck this fastener, it actually nearly creates one materials. So as an alternative of a weld that over time has the flexibility to crack or break, these hucks nearly simply type all of the metallic.

“Between the huck, the collar and the metallic we simply joined it actually turns into one metallic, so we use that all through the truck whether or not that be to bolt a metallic physique down or to lock a field. That’s one thing Sutphen has been doing for a really very long time and that’s what separates us from different vehicles which are simply welded.”

A accomplished Sutphen rear-mount aerial automobile.

Hearth vehicles have a lifespan from 20 to 30 years relying on the quantity of use and mileage. At prices starting from $300,000 for a fundamental pump truck to $1.5 million for an intensive aerial crash truck, high quality and longevity is a high precedence when metropolis and county hearth departments resolve to switch an ageing fleet.

Sutphen, which produces about 200 vehicles per yr, is completely happy to serve the small township that will simply want one truck over a 30-year interval. However the firm additionally handles main markets comparable to departments in Orlando, Fla., Miami-Dade, Fla., Palm Seashore, Fla., and Dekalb and Gwinnett counties in Georgia.

In contrast to cars, there isn’t a showroom for the fireplace preventing equipment. As a substitute, Sutphen builds demonstration fashions that journey all through the nation. These fashions differ in tools as a truck preventing fires within the southeast won’t be geared up in the identical method as an aerial made for fires within the cities of the northeast the place high-rises abound. Vehicles, largely pumpers, can have a unique configuration if they’re despatched to western states comparable to California the place preventing forest fires has develop into the norm.

“We’re a privately held household firm and a sole supply producer that permits us to do every thing ourselves and that permits nice service capacity after the sale,” Laney stated. “Our after-sale service is what brings again repeat prospects.

“And, after all, the household ambiance. It’s an important group and an important household. I’ve received staff members which have labored right here for 50 years and households with generations of staff. They take satisfaction in Sutphen and know their work here’s a legacy to verify what we’ve been doing for 131 years will proceed.”

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