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Altair ProductDesign Leverages Industrial Design and Engineering to Help Pierce Manufacturing Meet Firefighters’ Needs

Cross-functional team combines upfront conceptual design and advanced engineering technology to provide cab storage and clutter management and enhance driver experience

TROY, Mich. – Altair Engineering, Inc., a leading global provider of technology and services that empower client innovation and decision-making, today announced that its ProductDesign business unit has joined with Pierce Manufacturing, the leading North American manufacturer of custom fire apparatus, to provide interior industrial design and engineering technology support for Pierce’s new Velocity™ and Impel™ fire truck chassis. Guided by input from firefighters and maintenance personnel from around the country, the ProductDesign group worked closely with Pierce to significantly enhance the driver experience, specifically, to increase storage and reduce clutter in the truck cab of the new models, unveiled at the Fire Rescue International show in Dallas, Texas. Using highly advanced 3D visualization technology and computer-aided engineering (CAE) optimization, Altair was able to significantly reduce the time and related costs required to complete the conceptual design-decision and modeling processes, allowing Pierce to bring the custom fire trucks to market faster.

“Today’s fire trucks are highly customized to meet the needs of individual departments,” said Roger Lackore, Pierce’s director of Research and Development. “The truck cab functions as a mobile office, where officers need a flat surface to work on, as well as the ability to store equipment without worrying about unsecured items shifting during travel or maintenance. Altair’s advanced technology allowed us to visualize and validate console configurations without the time and costs associated with traditional prototype modeling. We went directly from virtual models to production tools. Time to market is a critical competitive factor in our market, and collaborating with Altair kept us ahead of the pack.”

Over the past five years, Altair has built a strong relationship with Pierce, including numerous design optimization and validation projects for cab structures and aerials (ladders). In 2004, Altair proposed a comprehensive industrial design through production program for the Quantum® cab front. Last year, Altair provided engineering and design support to Pierce’s Dash®/Lance®/Enforcer® models. In this latest project, Altair utilized its Collaborative Advanced Virtual Environment (CAVE) product design and engineering technology that allows users to interact in a three-dimensional virtual-reality environment.

“Pierce has actively embraced advanced technology to address the comfort, maintenance and safety needs of today’s firefighters and improve the driver experience,” said Executive Vice President of Altair ProductDesign David Mason. “Altair is proud to have played a significant role in Pierce’s ability to do just that. Moreover, this was the first commercial use of the CAVE technology to facilitate internal and external design review and signoff. Not only did the use of this technology save Pierce significant time and money, it also enabled their management to experience the proposed design virtually. That, in turn, made it possible for Altair to stay flexible in making aesthetic and engineering modifications without the need to create traditional foam models.”

About Pierce Manufacturing

Pierce Manufacturing, Inc., a subsidiary of Oshkosh Truck Corporation, is the leading North American manufacturer of custom fire apparatus. Products include custom and commercial pumpers, aerials, rescue trucks, wildland trucks, minipumpers, elliptical tankers and homeland security apparatus. In addition, Pierce designs its own foam systems and was the first company to introduce the Side Roll Protection™ system to fire apparatus. To learn more about Pierce visit

About Altair ProductDesign

Altair ProductDesign is a multi-disciplinary product development company with the technology and expertise to help businesses turn innovative concepts into market-leading realities. Founded more than 20 years ago, ProductDesign has grown from modest beginnings to include more than 500 engineers, scientists, designers and creative thinkers. This seamlessly integrated global team collaborates with clients from Altair’s 30 offices in 14 countries. ProductDesign firmly advocates a user-centered, team-based design approach, and utilizes proprietary simulation and optimization technologies to help clients achieve their goals. The ProductDesign mission is focused on developing unique products that personify brands, exceed client expectations and create memorable user experiences.

About Altair Engineering

Altair Engineering, Inc. strengthens client innovation and decision-making through technology that optimizes the analysis, management and visualization of business and engineering information. Privately held with more than 1,200 employees, Altair has offices throughout North America, South America, Europe and Asia/Pacific. With a 20-year-plus track record for product design, advanced engineering software and grid computing technologies, Altair consistently delivers a competitive advantage to customers in a broad range of industries. To learn more, please visit

Diane Forbes
Altair Engineering, Inc.
+1.248.614.2400, ext. 464

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