Emergency, Fire/Rescue & Police Product Review

300 Below, Inc. was featured in the 2003 issue of Emergency, Fire/Rescue & Police Product Review.


$100,000 saved is $100,000 to the Bottom Line

Bill Paisley, Fleet Manager for Jefferson per vehicle, per year. When he further County (KY), was blown away when he found that it took no effort to do so, it just discovered a way to save almost $1,000 added icing to his “cost cutting piece of cake”. Applying high technology can increase the existing bottom line profit in a fleet operation. It is even possible to double net operating profit. Think about that for a minute. Applying technology to reduce expenses can equal the profit of all operations and all staff, working all year. That is true cost saving IMPACT to the bottom line.

The following illustrates how just one innovative phone call was used to implement a “green” high technology. The results of that call, hammered brake expenses into submission. The best part of it is that you too can make the same call. Many operations have reduced their largest maintenance cost, (brake maintenance) by as much as 70%. A single piece of NASA technology came trotting into Bill’s cost cutting pursuit at a trade show, and he snapped it up.

Bill heard a term, “Cryogenic Tempering,” at a fleet maintenance trade show, and he wondered what it had to do with ambulances. He soon discovered that treating brake rotors using computer-controlled cryogenic temperatures at minus 300 degrees (F), increased the life of the rotors and the pads by 250-400%. The technology was unconditionally guaranteed or his money back…

Bill was braced for a modern day version of the “Snake Oil” salesman. Not one to believe everything he reads, he considered attending the seminar. And why not? He was curious about the mechanism of how treating brake parts at 300 Below could possibly improve the life of rotors and pads, and brake drums, it was said that drum life and band (shoe) life would also improve by 250-400%. It really did sound too good to be true, but he kept an open mind and attended the seminar. Visions of Ted Williams might have been dancing in his head.

Sitting and listening through the seminar, it still sounded techy and too good to believe, but he decided to keep an open mind and take the plunge by having a dozen brake rotors treated. Bill returned to his Jefferson County office and called Tony Ponzi, Parts Manager for Jefferson County. He asked Tony to call 300 Below, Inc., at Decatur, Illinois, and arrange to have the brake rotors treated for 1997-1999 Ford E350 ambulances. Bill decided that it wouldn’t cost much to have them treated and if the treatment proved to be successful, Jefferson County would realize some tremendous savings in brake costs.

Jefferson County installed their first treated rotors during September, 1999. On May 10, 2000, Tony Ponzi said he called 300 Below Inc. and told them that he would not have believed the improvement, had he not seen it himself. They were ready to begin installing treated rotors on every ambulance that needed brake rotor replacement, until every ambulance in their fleet was using treated rotors. Today, all of Jefferson County’s 55 ambulances as well as their Ford Expeditions and Explorers, are using Cryogenically Treated rotors. They keep an inventory of treated rotors, so that none of their vehicles have to return to operation without treated rotors. Their vehicles spend more time on the road rather than in the shop. They purchase far fewer brake rotors and brake pads, and most important of all…they save money on parts, labor, and downtime. Money that can now be used for other needs.

Although ambulance brake rotors were identified as being the most severe “street” application, police cars, fire apparatus, mass transit vehicles, and delivery trucks are also being successfully treated.

A call to the Decatur Chamber of Commerce stated that 300 Below Inc. has been awarded the Outstanding Small Business of the year award and is known for their work with NASA, and many Fortune 500 companies. They are, to quote the Chamber Member, “A Community Gem”. A little research showed that they were also the founders of commercial cryogenic processing, starting in 1966 and had funded the industry baseline research with Dr. Randall Barron and Louisiana Tech back in the 70’s. There are a few imitators and knockoffs in the market, but 300 Below Inc./Cryo-Tech is still the largest, processing over a million pounds of steel per year.

Top fuel, funny car, circle track and Indy car racing teams have been improving their performance, reducing wear and breakage for years. Cryogenically treating their engines, transmissions, rearends, axles, brake rotors, and brake drums saves teams tens of thousands of dollars. In fact, one top national team confided that they have not rebuilt their 1710 cubic inch Allison for over 5 years of active pulling. “Flat Out Incredible,” the team owner blurted.
Manufacturers have their cutting tools treated to keep them sharper longer, reducing downtime and tooling purchases, and improving their bottom line. Top national and world firearm competitors have their barrels treated to improve accuracy, reduce cleaning time, and increase the life of their firearms. There are many other applications getting the “Cryo-Advantage.”

Dave Burkham, owner of Decatur Ambulance, at Decatur, Illinois, and Van Prater, Manager of Life Star Ambulance, in Springfield, Illinois, were also open-minded in searching for a means of reducing costs. Dave Burkham’s severe use “In-Town” ambulances (those operating within the city limits) had to have their brake pads replaced every 5000 miles. 300 Below treated new brake rotors for Dave and his ambulance test got everyone’s attention. Instead of replacing the brake pads at 5000 miles, the “untreated” pads were replaced after 23,853 miles, A NET GAIN OF 357%. After Dave thought everything over, he decided he still had additional life left in the rotors. He removed the treated rotors and installed them on another similar ambulance. That ambulance continued to be in regular service until it became a back-up, and then finally was used for Supervisors. The ambulance has since been retired, sold to the local Ham Radio Club, AND THE TREATED ROTORS HAVE STILL NOT BEEN REPLACED. Decatur Ambulance now has treated rotors on all their ambulances.

Van Prater’s “In-Town” ambulances were warping and cracking their untreated rotors requiring rotor replacement every 9000 miles. 300 Below Inc. treated new brake rotors for Van and his test began. The treated rotors were finally replaced at 39,000 miles, A NET GAIN OF 333%. Life Star Ambulance now has treated rotors on all their ambulances. Although Van counts on replacing his treated rotors at around 40,000 miles, the treated rotors on one ambulance were not replaced until 55,000 miles, A NET GAIN OF 511%.

300 Below Inc. tested and developed their Cryogenic Treatment of brake rotors in Road Course Racing on the West Coast, and other competition proven motorsports applications may soon become commonplace in ambulance services. Some of those applications are:


Just as Bill Paisley, Dave Burkham, and Van Prater found a means of reducing maintenance expenses, many others are also enjoying the savings brought about by deep cryogenic processing. As new breakthroughs in cryogenic processing occur, those breakthroughs make their way to many diverse applications and the best means of implementing those breakthroughs are determined.

The treatment of brake rotors originally began with customers shipping their brake rotors to 300 Below for treatment. 300 Below saw a need to reduce shipping costs. Quality rotors and drums are now purchased by 300 Below by the thousands, treated, and put on the shelf for inventory. This now allows treated rotors to be shipped out the same day an order is received, and the shipment cost is only one way. For those with large inventories of “untreated” rotors, those rotors can still be shipped to 300 Below for treatment.

Even though many are enjoying the benefits of cryogenics, and its’ savings, there are many that have yet to discover cryogenics. In order to move off the fence and become a believer, just remember… It’s affordable and guaranteed to double your brake life. That’s an easy guarantee, as normal gains are 250-400%.

Deep cryogenic processing of brake rotors is like trading $10 for a new crisp $100. I don’t know about you, but if someone made that proposition to me, I’d do it in a New York minute… all day long. The savings are the real deal, and that IS the coolest deal we’ve ever seen.