Kussmaul was founded around the idea that an autonomous, reliable, dependable, and rugged battery charger could be of great use to fire, emergency, and public safety fleets. That idea was quickly proven correct, as it gave rise to Kussmaul’s first product line. Today, its battery chargers are still the class of the industry for police, fire, and emergency applications, but the company has long since expanded its catalog. In addition to its proven battery chargers, Kussmaul offers a comprehensive assortment of battery indicators, auto eject systems, air compressors, solar power charging systems, power management systems, and equipment monitoring technology.
The man behind the company, Ernie Kussmaul, is yet another example of how a determined creator can make it big in America. Long before the company was moved to a 34,000-square foot facility, Ernie tinkered and invented in his garage, with the help of a few people he employed. At first, he would take any engineering job he could get, but when a fire commissioner friend asked if he could make a battery charger for his department’s vehicles, that’s when everything changed. Before long, Ernie and his team were dedicating all of their efforts to improving fire and emergency vehicle functioning.
Kussmaul was established in 1967 and its first major product line was a set of vehicle-mounted battery chargers. But that wouldn’t be the company’s most popular and successful offering. That would be Kussmaul’s line of air and power auto-eject systems. According to Ernie, that was what put the business on the map, and it hasn’t looked back since. From its base on Long Island, Kussmaul does all of its own manufacturing and assembly and puts that assembly in the hands of people who have been with the company for a long time. With its experience and organization, the Kussmaul team can quickly turn around any product order and develop custom solutions within days.
Kussmaul’s Products: Safety Locks, Ejection Systems & Air Pumps
Kussmaul’s products are about supporting the underlying electronic infrastructure inside fire or emergency vehicles. And though the company has placed the lion’s share of its focus on fire and emergency fleets for most of its existence, it now offers products just for police fleets. But what deserves first mention is Kussmaul’s auto-eject technology. After all, the company wouldn’t be around if it wasn’t for that smart little invention.
1. Power and air auto-ejection systems – Kussmaul manufactures several auto-ejection systems, designed for a variety of amperage and air pressure specifications. Each one is designed to fit over a fire or emergency vehicle’s AC shoreline or air connection. When not in use, the cover plate hinges shut to prevent dust or water intrusion into the connection.
During use, the auto-ejection system can accommodate a power connection using heavy duty pin and sleeve contacts, or an air connection using a brass fitting and shut-off valve. When the vehicle’s engine is started, if the power or air connection is still in place, the auto-injection system kicks the connection hose out and closes the connector shut. This prevents the kind of heavy damage that can occur when the vehicle departs while connected to the shoreline. As fire and emergency personnel are in a constant state of rapid response, this scenario is quite common. But with Kussmaul’s auto-ejection systems, a brief lapse of attention won’t cost money or pose a safety hazard.
2. Vehicle battery chargers – Kussmaul’s battery chargers ensure that critical vehicle functions are always available and that the vehicle’s batteries remain charged at all times. The company’s battery chargers operate automatically and regulate the output to one or a pair of battery banks.
Kussmaul’s battery chargers are built with a sensor that checks the battery’s voltage 120 times per second. If there is a voltage drop, the charger compensates and ensures battery performance remains stable. Every charger is wrapped in a heavy-duty aluminum housing and comes with a status display.
With a Kussmaul battery charger, fire, emergency, and police vehicles can maintain heavy parasitic draws from systems like lights, sirens, and radios while not threatening the battery.
3. Air compressors – Kussmaul’s air compressors are intended for use with air braking systems. Specifically, they compensate for any system leaks in a vehicle’s air brake, providing enough pressure to prevent brake lockup.
The company’s air compressors are available in 100 PSI and 125 PSI versions and operate using a regulated pressure switch. When the pressure switch senses low pressure in the braking system, the compressor automatically delivers added pressure to restore proper brake function. The compressor comes with a 15A circuit breaker and a pressure gauge for easy status reading. Each one is compact, is built with sealed ball bearings, and will not interfere with any engine-mounted air compressor.
They also come with an auto drain that triggers every time the compressor cycles off using a 12V solenoid. This keeps the compressor free of moisture and saves maintenance personnel precious time.
4. Safety locks – Kussmaul’s safety locks are aimed at law enforcement fleets and they operate using an ingenious mechanism. The lock is activated when the ignition key is removed. Even after removing the key, the engine keeps running, but if any attempt to shift or apply the brake is made without the key in the ignition, the engine shuts down. This allows police to keep their vehicles, along with their lights and sirens, running when the driver needs to respond to a situation away from the vehicle.
Kussmaul is one of those manufacturers that has survived by virtue of its inventiveness and practical approach to building solutions. With more than 40 years servicing fire, emergency and law enforcement fleets, Kussmaul has clearly demonstrated why its products are found in most of the country’s public safety vehicles.