Rosenbauer’s new firefighting vehicles are more than just the latest additions to their impressive fleet. These new vehicles are the pioneer for using state-of-the-art technology to create a bespoke fire-engine design that enhances safety, ergonomics and firefighting operations. Nick Uwins, Managing Director of Rosenbauer UK, discusses how this unique shared vehicle design philosophy is revolutionising firefighting vehicles.
Rosenbauer has a track record for shaping the future of the firefighting industry. In fact, for over 150 years we have continued to push the boundaries and embrace the latest technology to provide firefighters with the best-in-class firefighting vehicles, tools and equipment. Throughout 2020, we launched numerous innovative vehicles that feature advanced technical improvements and a revolutionary design philosophy, which we believe will set the standard in the industry for years to come.
From concept to reality
The revolutionary design philosophy was the result of years of research and development. As with any major technological advancement, it was vital that we kept one eye on the future to ensure that the vehicles could not only meet the requirements of today but also tomorrow.
We adopted a long-term approach to analyse how pivotal societal changes and concerns would impact the firefighting industry. It became clear that the key priorities were health and safety, sustainability, mobility and ongoing urbanisation. To combat these challenges we introduced the Concept Fire Truck (CFT) in 2016. The CFT was well received by industry experts who relished the opportunity to learn more about how design and technology can be combined to create a high-performance firefighting vehicle.
Based on the initial success of the CFT we took this unique concept one step further. In the next four years, we completed further rounds of prototyping and testing, which ultimately allowed us to refine and apply the design principles to four new firefighting vehicles that were due to be launched in 2020 – these vehicles are known as Revolutionary Technology (RT), Advanced Technology (AT) Compact Technology (CT) and Modular Technology (MT).
Features of the shared design philosophy
Thanks to the shared design philosophy, our new firefighting vehicles appear to be almost identical. In addition to a stunning appearance, the aesthetically pleasing design concept is equipped with a range of features that enhance safety, ergonomics and firefighting operations.
Although each vehicle has been modified to tackle specific firefighting challenges, the new fire engines retain the fundamental principles of the shared design philosophy. These principles are categorised as driving dynamics, logical loading, operational safety, advanced lighting and real-time connectivity.
Driving dynamics is one of the most important features of the new vehicles. The Rosenbauer team has really pushed the boundaries of what can be achieved with a fire engine. For example, some of the vehicles feature a low centre of gravity or a compact chassis to increase overall manoeuvrability and stability. These features are particularly useful when travelling at high speeds to attend challenging incidents in urban or difficult-to-reach locations.
Across the range, the new superstructures continue to maximise the space available for the internal storage of often technically complex and expensive equipment. This equipment is made secure but ready for easy access using the many manual-handling solutions provided.
Operational safety was a key concern that needed to be addressed during the development of the shared design concept. Our mission was to create an environment that enhances the safety of firefighters and crew members. From three-point safety belts and airbags to designated steps and walkways, we have added a range of measures that are designed to safeguard and protect firefighters.
During recent years we have seen significant advancements in lighting technology. With this in mind, we harnessed the power of LED lighting to create a more impactful front and rear warning-light system. We also integrated high-power and glare-free LED strips to enhance the visibility of our brand new emergency vehicles.
We are all aware of the severity of fires. In some cases fires can lead to death, serious injury and irreversible damage to infrastructure. To help alleviate some of these pressures, we have developed an all-encompassing digital network that gives crew members the confidence and tools required to keep in control during the most challenging circumstances. Firefighters have access to easy-to-use communication systems and touchscreens, which can be integrated with drones to capture aerial image-based analysis of incidents.
The RT: A milestone for firefighting vehicles
When it came to developing the RT, we took the very best of our new vehicle design philosophy one step further to create a truly groundbreaking firefighting vehicle. The RT is revolutionary in every sense of the word but is perhaps best known for its electric drive system that delivers an emission-free and virtually silent drive.
Powered by two electric motors that deliver a combined output of 360kW and up to 50,000Nm torque. We used state-of-the-art battery technology to offer users quick and flexible charging options to significantly reduce downtime. For example, the vehicle can be charged using a high-voltage industrial socket (AC) or a custom charging station (DC).
The AT: advanced technology at its best
Over the years, we have gradually improved the AT series to ensure that it continues to meet the demands of fire and rescue service teams. The latest addition, known as the AT Facelift, has a complementary combination of technical improvements and modern design features to enhance overall performance.
Firefighters can take advantage of the AT’s spacious roof gallery and innovative roof superstructure to carry and store all of the essential equipment that they may need during firefighting operations. Additionally, the AT has a powerful lighting system fitted to the front and rear of the vehicle. Collectively, the LED lights provide an optical power of 1,650 lm/m which is equivalent to very bright daylight.
The CT: high-performance in a small package
The design concept means that the CT delivers high performance in a small package. It features a lightweight chassis and a roller-shutter system to keep the vehicle as compact and agile as possible. Thanks to its smaller frame and enhanced manoeuvrability, the CT can travel seamlessly in and around narrow alleyways, low passages and winding rural roads.
Fire and service teams can customise the interior of the CT frame and choose from various size configurations to meet their bespoke requirements.
The MT: where durability meets versatility
The freedom for bespoke configuration starts with the excellent superstructure, which is based on a 2 to 4 axle chassis. This modular system uses 100mm increments during the construction process to make it easier than ever for customers to tailor the vehicle to their individual needs.
The versatility of the MT goes far beyond the chassis and structure of the vehicle. In fact, fire and rescue service teams have the opportunity to customise countless features such as the equipment storage areas, lighting systems and extinguishing agent containers.
Investing in innovation
Looking back on the development of these unique fire engines, it is clear to see that at the heart of the shared vehicle design philosophy is Rosenbauer’s unwavering commitment to meet and anticipate the demands of our existing and future customers.
The Rosenbauer group continues to make substantial investments in research and development to help our clients stay ahead of the curve. We are delighted to see that our latest investments in innovation have paved the way for the next generation of firefighting vehicles.
For more information, go to www.rosenbauer.com/en