Fire by Design

by Bob Roman

Since an early age I enjoyed modifying toys to make them “cooler” or “better”. I remember a time I was given an F-4 aircraft model to build. In and of itself it was cool but then I figured out how to give it thrust by adding two plastic cigar holder tubes to it and mixing baking soda and vinegar in the tubes and then corking the tubes. When the pressure built up the corks would pop and the F-4 would go flying across the floor! It was not only fun but rewarding as well to see something I created work!

Twelve years ago when I automated my first fire feature it too was rewarding until the problems began. Wind and rain wreaked havoc on that first feature and the feeling of accomplishment turned to disappointment and frustration after many return trips to the feature to get it working again.

I consider myself fairly intelligent and the fact I could not figure out how to make this feature work consistently really began to drive me crazy. Somewhere along the way I remembered a saying I have heard many times in my life time, “If it were easy everyone would be doing it.” It was then I determined it was time to develop my own system; a system that would work consistently in the weather. I knew if anybody could do it – I could!

In 2010 we introduced our All Weather Electronic Ignition System (AWEIS). At the time it was by far the best system on the market but it did have some issues. The AWEIS was a personal accomplishment for me and the fact it had issues did not sit well with me. My quest at the time was to make it even better which we did within the next 10 or so months.

We have continually improved the AWEIS over these past 9 years with our most recent improvement coming in the form of our “Field Serviceable Commercial Grade System” which just began shipping out last month. This new system not only has the benefit of the Commercial Grade System but also incorporates the element of Field Serviceability by making it easier to change out the parts most likely to fail over time. This change will enable service techs to repair most AWEIS issues in the field without having to wait for spare parts.

As for the “inspiration” behind improving our products or creating new ones, most of that comes from our customers. We get requests quite frequently for features we have never created in the past. We love a challenge and do not like to disappoint so we will go the extra mile to try and make the customer’s idea become a reality. A perfect example is the product we call the “Vulcan” (photo). Prior to the Vulcan the only electronic ignition system we had was our standard AWEIS. But then a university contacted us asking if we could help them add 14 fire elements to encircle their mascot which was a bronze statue of Vulcan the Roman God of Fire. We requested drawings to determine the size of the cavity the ignition systems were to be installed in. One thing led to another and we created a prototype of the Vulcan (photo) to show off to the university. They liked what they saw and the Vulcan was born!

So please keep sending us your ideas and requests and let us show you what we are capable of!

— Bob Roman of Fire by Design