AMF-Bruns of America combines state-of-the-art technology with skills accumulated from nearly 60 years of experience in the mobility industry.
“In the 1970s, we developed the industry’s first wheelchair safety and anchoring systems and were the first to pass an anchorage system crash test,” explains Steve Barker, sales manager for AMF-Bruns.
The company manufactures wheelchair securement products, occupant restraint systems, and associated equipment for the safe transportation of special needs passengers. Along the way they reached several milestones, including developing the first four-point retractor system and making the first power knots with an integrated wheelchair lap belt.
Founded in Germany in 1958, the U.S. manufacturing distribution facility opened in 2013. While the company now services customers in more than 50 countries, it first entered the North American market with the Smart Floor.
“It is an assembled aluminum floor that is actually glued to the chassis of a vehicle, instead of actually putting plywood on top of a metal floor,” explains Barker. “You assemble the aluminum and insert the ‘L’ track in spaces where you want positioning to go, whether it’s for track seating or wheelchair securement, and it proves to be stronger than the plywood flooring that is traditionally used.”
The Smart Floor is ideal for various vehicles, including the Ram ProMaster, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, and the Ford Transit.
AMF-Bruns of America’s latest innovation is the Hide-A-Way Wheelchair Securement System, where the restraints are fully-integrated into the floor — freeing up valuable floor space and increasing passenger capacity. It allows bus operators to mix and match passenger wheelchairs with non-wheelchair seats. The system is completely foot activated, making it simple to use.
“It’s a pretty neat system. You kick it forward and step down to activate the release mechanism and then you put the actual retractor hooks onto the wheelchair. When you kick it again backwards, it secures the chair, automatically locking everything in place, while the self-tension retractors actually secure the chair in place,” Barker says. “For the person being secured, it’s a little simpler to operate — you don’t spend a lot of time actually trying to secure someone with this system.”
Features of the Hide-A-Way system include increased load capacity, a single-tensioning knob for additional tensioning, and a durable zinc die-cast cover. The product fits transit, paratransit, and mobility vehicle applications. It also meets all FMVSS/CMVSS, ISO, SAE, and CSA requirements.
Meanwhile, the PROTEKTOR wheelchair and occupant restraint system — which includes the new WC18-approved Platinum Series retractors — provides critical stabilization for passengers in the event of a collision. Designed for heavier loads, the system’s heavy-duty four-point wheelchair retractor system ensures that the passenger is always secure.
“Our new Platinum Series retractors have no false internal housing like the Silver or Black Series. The stress of the lap belt and wheelchair gets put on the belt rather than going back into the floor. So, you’re shifting a load that used to go into the floor back into the WC 18 retractor, which has twice the strength of your typical retractor,” says Barker.
AMF-Bruns of America also provides complete training for operators, who have its systems installed on their vehicles.
“We’ve developed a full training program that is a little more sensitive to the actual occupant of the wheelchair itself, which is the biggest issue out there right now,” says Barker. “We can spend anywhere from an hour to five hours on training, depending on whatever the operator needs.”