May 2014

Vapor, Ricon products aim to improve efficiency, safety and productivity

by Janna Starcic, Executive Editor

Vapor is supplying its high-performance door actuation equipment on 550 Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority buses.

Vapor is supplying its high-performance door actuation equipment on 550 Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority buses.
In keeping with parent company Wabtec’s mission of helping their customers improve their efficiency, safety and productivity, Vapor Bus International and Ricon Corp. have continually introduced innovative products and services. To that end, Vapor recently introduced its Electric Door System in response to growing interest in the transit community.

Electric Door Systems
“The [High Performance Electric Door Actuator for Transit Buses] was developed in response to a change in the market with the introduction of hybrid and all-electric buses,” says Bob Gallant, VP/GM for Vapor.
OEMs and end-users were seeking to reduce the parasitic loads on the power plant, which would include the air compressors and other components, he adds.

Additional benefits include improved diagnostic capabilities and a more instantaneous response.

“From a performance perspective, the electric system responds more quickly to driver and passenger inputs, like when a door obstruction is sensed during an open or close cycle,” Gallant says.

The advanced technology for the door actuator combines a rugged, high-torque electric motor with a smart controller to provide precise motion and door speed control. The non-back drivable mechanism secures and maintains door panel position without power consumption.

Vapor is supplying this equipment to all the major bus builders on contracts for Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Minneapolis Metro Transit and Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. In Canada, Vapor Electric Door Systems are in operation at Grand River Transit (Waterloo) and Mississauga Transit.

APTA Roadeo competition
In addition to showcasing its latest products at the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Bus & Paratransit Conference and Roadeo in Kansas City, Mo.,in May at the Wabtec booth, Vapor Bus will also be a part of the maintenance competition.

“This is the first year Vapor’s door systems will be a scoring event at the Roadeo,” Gallant says. “It provides a great forum to interact with our transit customers’ technical experts and share our knowledge and experience with them to ensure safe and reliable operation of door equipment. Additionally, it allows us an opportunity to give back to the community — we can learn from the technicians’ experience and identify potential changes in design to further enhance both the transit authorities’ and its passengers daily experience.”

For optimal passenger safety, Ricon lifts include an interlocked occupant restraint belt.

For optimal passenger safety, Ricon lifts include an interlocked occupant restraint belt.
Wheelchair Lifts
Alongside Vapor, accessibility system manufacturer Ricon will be showcasing its Titanium wheelchair lift and FoldOver ramp models.  

The Titanium line of wheelchair lifts, developed for small to mid-size buses, features advanced engineering that delivers reliable, low-maintenance performance, according to Stanton Saucier, VP, marketing and product planning, Ricon. In addition to the non-intrusive, space-efficient footprint and a full three-year warranty, innovations include a reinforced heavy-duty platform, versatile water-resistant control pendant and a 1,000-lb. load capacity option.

The Ricon lift’s Safety Zone includes a patented, fully interlocked occupant restraint belt system, automatic outboard and inboard roll-stop barriers, steel side rail barriers and standee handrails to secure passengers during lift operation. Patented Sto-Loc technology ensures a quieter ride and prevents lift drift. The threshold warning system features a low-profile, 360-degree warning beacon and an audible alarm.

Low-maintenance features include quick-release pump cover, easy-to-reach flow control valves, lubrication-free metal-backed PTFE bearings and hardened steel pins. The lifts comply with all applicable ADA and FMVSS regulations.

In addition to a new appearance highlighted by a new, standard color (Titanium Gray) and tougher, brighter decal set, the Titanium lift has what the company refers to as a “true” 1,000 lb. rating.

“Most folks don’t know about an issue with the way the term ‘standard load’ is defined in FMVSS 403,” says Saucier. “Under the current definition, a lift can be ‘stickered’ for 1,000-pound capacity without increasing the static load test requirements beyond the 1,800 pounds and 2,400 pounds minimally required under the current regulation. At Ricon, we’ve actually tested Titanium to 4,000 pounds.”

Additionally, all Titanium model lifts are equipped with Ricon’s new Dura-touch Pendant. Made from rugged polypropylene with a heavy-duty, polyurethane over-wrap, Duratouch is the toughest pendant available on the market, says Saucier.

Access ramp
Ricon’s new model 621SA FoldOver access ramp for low-floor transit buses will also be featured at the exhibit. It offers a 1:6 multi-slope performance using a revolutionary patented cam design. The ramp automatically adjusts to bus stop conditions to provide the least possible continuous slope for easiest access for passengers using wheeled mobility aids. The fully-electric drive system is easy to operate and maintain, according to Saucier.

The FoldOver ramp has a 1,000-lb. capacity and rugged stainless steel enclosure.

Enhanced website
Other new company innovations include Ricon’s revamped website.
“We are very excited about the new website,” Saucier says. “Though the homepage will have the same ‘look’ as the current site, the ‘back’ has been completely redesigned to integrate with Ricon’s ERP system to provide real E-Commerce capability complete with automated order acknowledgement and order tracking capability.”

Further, the new E-Commerce part is built on a new, menu-driven parts catalogue that quickly and easily takes the user to the correct manual for a given product, Saucier adds.


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