Vehicles - Expert Commentary

Fire Fleets Switch Gears To Fully Automatic Transmissions
Fire Fleets Switch Gears To Fully Automatic Transmissions

For those responsible for procuring and managing fire vehicle fleets, speed, driveability and reliability are paramount concerns. As well as the ability to accelerate, slow and stop rapidly and safely in city traffic, fire engines need to be highly manoeuvrable in tight spaces or on rough terrain. They are required to access many different types of environment at high speed, and, even more than other types of heavy-duty vehicles driven at slower speeds by professional lorry drivers, they need to be easy to operate. At the same time, vehicles are needed that are large and powerful enough to carry fire crews, heavy specialist equipment and large quantities of water or foam. They must also provide a smooth ride, for when crews are wearing bulky items such as masks and oxygen tanks. And they have to be extremely reliable, as breakdowns can cause loss of life. In recent years, manufacturers have generally preferred to specify fully automatic transmissions For all these reasons, fully automatic transmissions are now specified on most European fire vehicles, particularly in Germany, France, Spain and the UK. Compared to manuals, they can offer up to 35% quicker acceleration, with more torque at launch as well as no power interruption during gear changes upwards or downwards, enabling quick deceleration of the vehicle and bringing appliance to a complete stop when combined with an Allison Transmission retarder. That all adds up to faster response times and better manoeuvrability on crowded city streets. Automatics are also far more reliable and durable than manual or automated manual gear boxes, which are prone to wear and tear, particularly on the clutch. A key benefit that most automatics offer is a torque converter, which eliminates the need for a clutch altogether. automatic transmissions Compared to manuals, they [fully automatic transmissions] can offer up to 35% quicker acceleration This was the rationale for the specification of Allison automatic transmissions on London Fire Brigade’s latest Mercedes-Benz Atego and Scania trucks. “The Allison [automatic] transmission was specified partly because of its responsiveness and controllability, and partly because it has proven itself to be such a reliable solution for LFB’s operations,” Neil Corcoran, engineering and technical manager at Babcock International Group, which manages and maintains the LFB fleet, told us." We have seen for ourselves that the Allison has minimal maintenance requirements. And, of course, the dependability of equipment is essential in emergency services.” Allison has a dominant position in the European fire sector, where it has spent decades designing and building fully automatic transmissions that perform at their best in critical situations and offer vital benefits not provided by manual or automated manual transmissions (AMTs). This is particularly true in airport fleets, where vehicle response times are dictated by legislation. London Fire Brigade has a large number of Mercedes-Benz Atego fire trucks, all equipped with Allison transmissions Cleaner fuels In recent years, manufacturers have generally preferred to specify fully automatic transmissions. This continues to be true now when, in common with other commercial vehicle markets, they are looking at alternatives to diesel fuel, such as compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG), to reduce emissions in the medium to long term, particularly in urban areas. Automatics are far more reliable and durable than manual or automated manual gear boxes, which are prone to wear and tear Automatics tend to be well suited to both compressed and liquefied natural gas engines because the torque interrupts that occur with manual and automated manual transmissions during gear shifts are more volatile and less predictable in the case of spark-ignited CNG and LPG engines. Automatics, by contrast, can provide a smooth transfer of power to the drive wheels and maximum efficiency between engine and transmission, resulting in better performance, manoeuvrability, safety and driver comfort, as well as a significant reduction in noise. In 2019, German fire engine manufacturer Magirus revealed the world's first compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered firefighting vehicle in series production. Part of the company’s 'Innovative Drive Line (iDL)' series, the (H) LF 10 fire engine has an Iveco Eurocargo 4x2 chassis with 420 litres of CNG and a fully automatic Allison transmission. It has a range of up to 300 km or pump operation of up to four hours. Speed and power for forest fire vehicles Automatic gears are also increasingly specified on 4x4 vehicles used to tackle forest fires as they outperform AMTs in extreme conditions. Forest firefighting vehicles need to be able to carry powerful, high-capacity pumps and canons as well as very large quantities of water or other extinguishing media. And they must be able to travel rapidly over large distances and very rough and steep terrain, in extreme heat. AMTs and manual transmissions cannot cope well with these conditions. An example of a newly launched automatic forest firefighting vehicle is the Spanish-made UROVESA K6 IS, which is equipped with the Allison 3000 Series™ transmission. It features a chassis with a maximum gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 16 metric tonnes, excellent traction and extremely robust parts. According to UROVESA's President and CEO Justo Sierra, the automatic transmission, combined with an independent suspension system, affords greater guarantees of safety and efficiency than other vehicles and is in great demand for forest firefighting applications because it can travel at twice the speed of conventional 4x4 trucks. "These transmissions facilitate driving, prevent gear shift errors, enable both hands to be on the wheel at all times and enhance driver ergonomics and safety," explained Sierra. The UROVESA K6 IS forest firefighting vehicle, made in Spain, equipped with a fully automatic transmission. It can travel at twice the speed of conventional 4x4 trucks combating vehicle rollback There are a number of ways in which automatics help reduce accidents and improve driver awareness, comfort and safety, from combating vehicle rollback – a major concern with manual transmissions – to providing superior vehicle control and manoeuvrability at low speeds. Furthermore, because the engine’s responses are so closely related to what the driver asks of it, the vehicle’s start-up progress is more predictable to cyclists and pedestrians who might otherwise misinterpret a slow start as an intention to remain stationary. Electronic features like putting the transmission into neutral when leaving the cab or safety interlocking with body equipment further reduce the risk of accidents. Built to last Fire vehicles tend to be in use for only a few hours each week, with low mileage. Consequently, they can be operational for up to 25 or 30 years. So it's even more important for fleet buyers that they get specifications right, to ensure their vehicles will pass the test of time and provide the performance they need for decades. That's one more reason why so many continue to opt for Allison planetary automatics.

Optimize Your Firefighter Training Program
Optimize Your Firefighter Training Program

Want to know an easy way to judge the quality of a fire department? Look at how much they train. Career, volunteer or combination, fire departments become successful through training. Yet all training is not equal. Focus too much on hands-on training (HOT) and you could be missing important legal and compliance updates. Lean heavily on web-based training and you may fail to identify shortcomings in skills proficiencies. Keep students confined to a classroom and you may lose their interest quickly. Not surprisingly, a balance of all three types of training is needed to produce competent, empowered firefighters. For this article, I was challenged to think about what’s missing from our current fire training programs. As I thought about the varied way we approach fire training, three issues jumped out at me. Base training on facts and statistics Take advantage of new technologies Incorporate policy into your training   Your training program should also be strong in the types of calls you respond to most Base Training On Facts And Statistics If your department has a robust training program, outlined by a calendar of various topics and employing a mix of HOT, online and classroom training, you’re ahead of the curve. But even in departments with well-developed training programs, training is often based on preference or habit, not data. Think about the topics in your training program. Do you know why they’re included? Do they match your call make-up? Are they targeting specific skill shortcomings? (And yes, we all have them!)What’s missing from many fire department training programs is a detailed needs assessment What’s missing from many fire department training programs is a detailed needs assessment that in turn establishes a factual basis for the year’s training topics. The needs assessment should include: Surveying the members to determine the types of training they want or feel they need. Measuring firefighter proficiency on basic tasks, such as NFPA 1403 drills, NFPA 1710 drills and EMS patient assessment skills audits, to assess personnel by mandate or by industry best practice. This will identify skills deficiencies to address through training. Incorporating call volume statistics and details. A significant percentage of the calls fire departments respond to are EMS and vehicle extrication But I’d venture to guess the training programs of most departments don’t match those percentages. Yes, you need to train for the high-risk, low-frequency tasks. But your training program should also be strong in the types of calls you respond to most. Incorporating these “facts and stats” into your training program will help you keep it fresh, relevant and interesting. Firefighters can use their phones and tablets to access department training information and complete training assignments Take Advantage Of New Technologies There is something to be said for back-to-the-basics, keep-it-simple firefighter training. But it’s a mistake to ignore technological advances. From teaching safe apparatus backing procedures to practicing hoseline deployment and Vent/Enter/Isolate/Search (VEIS) tactics, instructors have more options than ever before. Some instructors regard simulators as second-rate to “the real thing.” Certainly, simulation and other forms of technology-driven instruction can’t replace the value of hands-on experience. But they can augment it in important ways. Driver simulators, for example, not only save money because apparatus don’t have to be taken out of service or sustain wear and tear; they also provide an environment where firefighters can learn without risk of injury. If sitting behind a computer isn’t your kind of thing, live-burn simulators, vehicle fire simulators and hazmat simulators are available—and they all significantly boost training efficiency.Technology will never replace hands-on instruction, but it can facilitate it But you don’t need fancy simulators to incorporate technology into your fire training program. Learning management systems (LMS) are another important tool that can increase training program efficiency. Although they’ve been around for a long time, LMS continue to improve. The ability to integrate with mobile devices is huge, allowing firefighters to use their phones and tablets to access department training information and complete training assignments. Leveraging this technology can allow you to more efficiently manage information, schedule training and free up valuable time needed for other important tasks. If you’ve attended some of the larger regional or national fire conferences recently, you may have had the opportunity to see audience response technology in action. By capturing the firefighters’ responses to questions in real-time, instructors can adjust the material to reflect students’ knowledge level. Audience response is also simply a great way to keep firefighters engaged. Technology will never replace hands-on instruction, but it can facilitate it. If you’re using training methods that haven’t changed in decades, something’s missing from your training program.   Without incorporating policy into your training, you’re only giving your firefighters half the equation Incorporate Policy Into Your Training I saved the biggest and best for last. When I work with fire departments across the country, I repeatedly discover the failure to incorporate policy into training. Think about it: Training curricula are almost always designed around procedures—the how of doing something. But isn’t the why just as important? And that’s what policy is all about. Without incorporating policy into your training, you’re only giving your firefighters half the equation.Inevitably firefighters will encounter times when following the procedure isn’t possible Inevitably firefighters will encounter times when following the procedure isn’t possible. That’s when policy training kicks in—firefighters understand the fundamental objective, and they can think on their feet about how to achieve it. Training on policy also helps departments address the issues that so often get firefighters into trouble. How many of your firefighters really understand your department’s social media policy? What about the rules surrounding sick time usage? These are things that trip up firefighters time and time again. If you’re not training on policies, it’s unlikely firefighters remember them. How many of your firefighters really understand your department’s social media policy? In addition, normalization of deviance is a risk to every organization. When personnel fail to follow policies and no negative repercussions result, it can quickly establish a new normal. Policy-based training resets the “normal” and makes sure that members of the organization comply with the policy and not what they think the policy says.Most line-of-duty death reports cite failure to comply with policy or lack of adequate policy Fire instructors often avoid training on policy because they regard it as boring or unrelated to what really matters—firefighter safety and survival. Yet most line-of-duty death reports cite failure to comply with policy or lack of adequate policy as contributing factors in the incident. If you’re worried that policy will make your training program dry and uninteresting, link it to real-world events. An online search provides lots of examples of when things went wrong and how adherence to policy might have produced a different outcome. And limit policy training to small chunks. Take out a 10-page policy and go through it line by line, and your students’ eyes will glaze over in seconds. Instead, look for ways to enrich your current training by bringing relevant pieces of policy into it. Your firefighters will be learning the department’s policies without even realizing it! Focus On Continuous Improvement Fire chiefs and fire instructors have a challenging job. Budgets are tight, and training is often one of the first things to be cut. Yet we need firefighters to be proficient in all-hazards response. Every department has a long training wish list. But if we focus on continuous quality improvement, we can get a little better each year. Looking for opportunities to incorporate statistics, technology and policy into our training is a good place to start.

Mobile Firefighting Systems Provide Flexible Fire Protection For Major Facilities
Mobile Firefighting Systems Provide Flexible Fire Protection For Major Facilities

Within traditional commercial and industrial firefighting systems, engineers have primarily focused on permanent installation designs rather than entertaining alternative or supplemental mobile firefighting systems. Permanent installation design is typically better understood, supported, and supplied throughout the fire protection engineering and manufacturing community. However, mobile firefighting systems provide unique solutions and advantages compared to their permanent installation cousins such as flexible deployment, simpler servicing, improved economy, and much higher performance availability. The combination of both systems is frequently the most strategic solution for the facility operator. Limitations of fixed installation systems Permanent installation (fixed) systems include everything from sprinklers, foam systems, primary watermain pumps, and the plethora of piping in between. A large refinery complex will need to address various hazard mitigation and control problems that span both hardware and personnel needs. In the event standard hazard mitigation safety procedures and equipment have failed, the facility immediately initiates a hazard control operation. Passive fixed systems automatically engage the hazard through an array of sensors, mechanical triggers, and control algorithms. A properly designed system with adequate hazard coverage, preplanning, preventative maintenance, and testing will successfully terminate the hazard, while firefighting personnel respond and ensure no further hazards develop. This conceptual approach relies on hardware and personnel all operating as planned…. Combining permanent and mobile apparatus “According to plan” would never have any failures or fires, but history has a different script. In the worst-case petrochemical scenario, fixed systems fail to extinguish a hazard putting the entire response on human and mobile hardware resources. This would include but is not limited to firetrucks, mobile high-flow pumping systems, large mobile monitors, foam proportioning units, and large diameter layflat hose. This type of response escalates into a larger scale operation, sometimes involving agencies beyond the facility operator itself. Although a low probability event, the risk to life and property is significantly substantial. Fixed systems may be rendered inoperable due to the loss of electrical power or actual physical damage Reducing fire-related expenditureMore typical than the worst-case scenario, facilities experience both maintenance-related system downtimes and natural phenomena damage such as extreme weather and seismic events. In this case, fixed systems may be rendered inoperable due to the loss of electrical power or actual physical damage. In any of these situations, mobile fire apparatus may fill the gap requirements of the facility as their flexible storage and deployment would protect them from everything but the worst natural disasters. Their further benefit is that a smaller set of mobile apparatus resources may be used to protect a larger amount of infrastructure, especially while in use in a mutual-aid program between facilities and communities. According to the NFPA’s report “Total Cost of Fire in the United States”, fire-related damages and expenditures from 1980 to 2014 have risen from roughly $200B (adjusted for inflation to 2014) to nearly $330B. The greatest expenditure is in fire safety costs in building construction, amounting to $57.4B. Although the overall losses per year as a ratio to protection expenditures has dropped by roughly 70% over the past 30 years, petrochemical facility losses have continued to rise over the same time. In the worst-case petrochemical scenario, fixed systems fail to extinguish a hazard  Petrochemical facility challenges According to the NFPA, refineries or natural gas plants had reported an average of 228 fires or explosions per year through the 1990s. Furthering this data with Marsh’s “100 Largest Losses, 25th edition”, refinery losses have continually expanded throughout the last two decades with 11 of the top 20 largest losses of the past 40 years happening during or after the year 2000. Two primary drivers of this trend are the advanced age of petrochemical facilities and their staggering complexity. As oil margins fall, upstream operational businesses are detrimentally affected by reduced investment in everything to new equipment, maintenance and passive safety systems. There is an observable correlation between a major oil price drop followed by upstream facility fire losses. Even with reduced investment and oil throughput growth rates, US refinery utilisation at the end 2017 was at 96.7%, the highest since 2005 (Marsh, The Impact of the Price of Oil). The short story is that systems and personnel are being asked to do more with less with each passing year. Cost-effective mobile apparatus systems  Mobile fire apparatus is generally more cost-effective to procure when using standardised designs and application methodology. They can access open water sources by either drafting (when in close proximity to the water) or using floating source pumps (for variable level or difficult access water sources). Mobile fire apparatus is generally more cost-effective to procure when using standardized designs and application methodology With this open water access, they can provide significantly more water (upwards of 10,000 GPM or more per system if necessary) than any typical fixed fire pumping solution. Moreover, as their primary benefit, they are easy to move and deploy. This benefit allows them to be utilised at the point of hazard as needed while being easily accessible for service. While fixed systems are installed at “every known” hazard and must be continually maintained to operate effectively, mobile systems may be used sitewide or across facilities. This flexibility reduces overall capital expenditure requirements and establishes a valuable primary and secondary firefighting system depending on the hazard and facility resources. Combining fixed and mobile systems Permanent installation fire suppression systems are a mainstay of modern day firefighting. They provide immediate passive response with little human intervention. However, as facility utilisation is pushed to maximum capacity while fixed systems continually age out without adequate replacement or maintenance, mobile systems will need to both fill the response gap and provide a final wall to total loss incidents. The reality is that both fixed and mobile systems need to work together to provide the safest possible operation. Service and training requirements need to also be maintained to manage an adequate, or even better, exemplary response to hazard control incidents. Managing major facility uptime requires continuous oversight and to drive hazard mitigation standards throughout the organisation, including executive management. A safe, reliable and fully-functional plant is also a profitable and cost-effective plant much like a healthy worker is a better worker. Protect your people and property and you will protecting your company’s future.

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Secutech Vietnam 10th Anniversary Witnessed Record-breaking Increase In Visitor Numbers
Secutech Vietnam 10th Anniversary Witnessed Record-breaking Increase In Visitor Numbers

At Secutech Vietnam 2017 there were 270 exhibitors from 20 countries and regions The 10th edition of Secutech Vietnam will be remembered for its record-breaking increase in visitor numbers. The show welcomed 12,097 global visitors (2016: 7,473) – up 62% on last year, as exhibitors seized the opportunities presented by one of the most promising security markets in Southeast Asia. 270 exhibitors from 20 countries Across 9,000 sqm of gross exhibition space, there were 270 exhibitors from 20 countries and regions: Australia, China, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Norway, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam, the UAE, the UK and the US. The likes of Bosch, Dahua, EN3, Everdigm, Force 21, GIGA, Hikvision, Himax, Honeywell, NAFFCO, Nittan, Questek, Rapidrop, Seagate, SFFECO, Synology, Techpro and Vantech were amongst the leading security and fire brands at the fair. In addition, three pavilions were in place during the course of the show. The Silversea Pavilion housed integrated and smart security solutions, while the UL Pavilion showcased fire safety systems and technologies. At the KFI Pavilion, a number of Korean companies exhibited their state-of-the-art product designs and innovations. Speaking of the results of this edition, Deputy General Manager of Messe Frankfurt New Era Business Media Ltd, Ms Regina Tsai, said: “The security market here in Vietnam is maturing, and shows a high demand for cross-sector technologies. Basic components cannot satisfy the market anymore. Therefore, as you can see, exhibitors have incorporated features for intelligent security solutions, smart buildings, smart city, home automation and fire safety and rescue opportunities in their products.” Across 9,000 sqm of gross exhibition space, there were 270 exhibitors from 20 countries and regions Advanced devices for end users Both newcomers and long-term exhibitors are aware of this market shift in Vietnam. Thus, they have introduced a plethora of advanced devices to end-users to the region. First-time exhibitor Boon Edam is a manufacturer of security entrances and revolving doors. The company’s Export Area Sales Manager, Mr Paul Liu, said: “With its surging economy, Vietnam is a rising market for the security industry with all kinds of opportunities. This is our first time exhibiting at Secutech Vietnam. It is amazing that the leading brands are all here at the show, which I believe is one of the reasons why there is a large flow of visitors.” Meanwhile, GES Co, an advanced security system provider, was delighted to meet target customers during the three-day show. Project leader of Overseas Business Division, Mr Hyun-il Ko, commented: “This is our first year exhibiting at Secutech Vietnam. We think the trade fair is well-organised in terms of visitor traffic and show arrangement. We’re excited to meet up with many distributors coming from commercial and government sectors. We’ll absolutely consider coming back next year.” Advanced technologies on display For some long-term exhibitors, Secutech Vietnam is a place to present their most advanced technologies. Drones and VR for security and rescue purposes as well as facial recognition management systems are some of the hot items. For instance, Vantech’s International Sales Manager, Mr Florian Le Guen, said: “This year, we’ve seen the highest traffic at the trade show than previous ones. Secutech Vietnam is an important business platform in Vietnam for security companies to show new products, and for visitors to see the future of technology.” Managing Director of Aventura, Mr Jack Cabasso, also commented: “Vietnam is the most significant emerging security market in the region and Secutech Vietnam fulfils the industry needs. We’ve seen a great amount of high quality attendees with current and upcoming security product requirements at the show this year.” The Global Digital Security Solutions Forum received positive feedback from both speakers and attendees Events and seminars What’s more, Secutech Vietnam offered more than just business opportunities to industry players. A series of concurrent events featuring leading security firms and associations aimed to disseminate insights and market trends. The Fire & Safety Seminar examined the most recent developments and applications of fire equipment. In addition, the Global Digital Security Solutions Forum, with the theme ‘Play Smart in Security – Applying Smart Solutions with Utmost Added Values’, received positive feedback from both speakers and attendees. The Asia Fire Protection Inspection Council General Meeting also concluded on a high note, with its exclusive 10 member countries discussing issues in their respective markets. There was also the Outdoor Demo Zone which displayed the latest fire equipment.  Secutech Vietnam 2018 Secutech Vietnam is supported by the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Science & Technology, the Ministry of Planning & Investment, the Ministry of Industry & Trade, the Ministry of Construction, and the Ministry of Transport. The next edition will be held 16-18 August 2018 at the Saigon Exhibition & Convention Center, Ho Chi Minh City.

Saudi Arabia Predicted To Become Second Largest Homeland Security Market By 2018
Saudi Arabia Predicted To Become Second Largest Homeland Security Market By 2018

Protex Arabia was launched in response to increased demands for fire services and alarm systems Saudi Arabia’s homeland security market is forecast to become the second largest in the world after the United States, with an expected worth of a massive US$97 billion in the next 7 years. This equates to a massive US$12 billion spend per year, highlighting very real business opportunities in this rapidly evolving market.As tensions increase in the security environment around the Middle East, authorities are now ramping up efforts to source the latest in counter measures and security systems to meet their increased needs. Security fences, thermal scanners, monitoring and surveillance systems, biometric readers and specialised arms and hazard control equipment are in high demand as measures are sought to protect pipelines, oil and industrial installations, as well as air and sea ports. Saudi Arabia supplies the majority of the world’s crude oil and 50% of its GDP being contributed by the oil and gas sector, the security of this sector alone is a very real risk to the Kingdom.The construction industry in Saudi Arabia, has also seen an increased awareness of the problems and enforcement of safety regulations, due to the number of major projects underway in Saudi Arabia, including the US$6 billion development of the Makkah-Madinah Railway, the expansion of King Abdulaziz International Airport and the development of Jeddah Islamic Seaport. These projects have lead to a boom in demand for safety training and equipment, fire services, detection and alarm systems. Protex Arabia gives firms with a serious interest in the fire markets the opportunity to meet with the key decision makers in the Kingdom In response to these market developments, the first international trade exhibition to focus on fire, safety and protection in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Protex Arabia 2011 was launched. The event took place at the Jeddah Centre for Forums and Events and has been inspired by the outstanding demand from both local and international market leaders such as Firex, NAFFCO, Harco, Bosch, SFFECO and Dupont, who have recognised the long-standing need for a platform of this sort in Saudi Arabia. The event, run jointly by two market leading organisers - The CWC Group and Al-Harithy Company for Exhibitions - focused on the three areas that are the fastest growing sectors and crucial to the Kingdom; commercial, IT and aviation security, homeland security & policing, fire and rescue and health and safety. Trade professionals could enter the exhibition for free by registering online, or alternatively on-site at the exhibition venue.Saudi Arabia has vast opportunities for international companies looking to expand their business in the region and internationally. “To win business in Saudi Arabia, companies must be present and showcase products and services in the Kingdom, meet the people, the agents, representatives and the customers who will affect decisions,” says The CWC Group’s Exhibitions Director, Rob Percival. “Protex Arabia gives all firms with a serious interest in the fire, safety and protection markets, the opportunity to meet with the key decision makers in the Kingdom and discuss and gather first-hand information about state-of-the-art technologies and services, whilst also networking with the biggest international companies of the industry,” he adds.The site of Protex Arabia 2011, the state-of-the-art Jeddah Centre for Forums and Events, is the Kingdom’s modern international exhibition centre tailor-made for big international trade shows.  The exhibition complex included an interactive demonstration area, allowing special outdoor demonstrations and live displays. Protex Arabia was the first opportunity in the Kingdom to view special demonstrations of the latest unmanned drone technology, thanks to leading Saudi systems integrator SecuTronic, as well as presentations from armoured Hummer manufactures, CCTV, the Police K9 unit and fire service. In addition to this, SFFECO hosted an awards ceremony for exhibitors awarded special contributions to the industry.  

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