Sustainable Products and Services
Rosenbauer offers its customers sustainable firefighting products that combine safety and longevity.
Technology and innovation, reliability and longevity, and health and safety of emergency services are the most important aspects for Rosenbauer in the development and manufacture of products. The company studies social megatrends in detail along with their implications as regards future requirements for emergency services. For example, demographic change and increasing digitalization will have an impact on the way fire services are structured and the technology they use. In addition, Rosenbauer is transitioning more and more into a system provider to fire services; this is why customer service is playing an increasingly important role in the company. One strategic goal is to equip fire services with fascinating, state-of-the-art products. Rosenbauer plays a large part in defining these as it is the firefighting industry’s technology and innovation leader. So for the company, research and development are a top priority. The same applies to ongoing product development with regard to environmental impact and ergonomics. The quality management system and regular audits guarantee continual improvement.
Close cooperation with all suppliers and partners is a critical factor for Rosenbauer’s success. They are selected according to strict criteria and regularly assessed. In general, business relationships with key suppliers to the major production facilities are longstanding. Value is created locally through partnerships with mostly regional suppliers. Additional information on the topic of supply chain management is provided in the Business Ethics & Supply Chain section.
Technology and Innovation
The focus on technology and innovation enables Rosenbauer to equip fire services with fascinating products. Research into future developments and trends serves as the foundation for Rosenbauer’s innovation efforts which are always focused on the long term. The Rosenbauer Fire Service Trendmap draws connections between the major megatrends and fire services and serves as a source for inspiration. Employees who bring their field experience gained from participation in voluntary fire services to bear on processes and product development at Rosenbauer make a major contribution to the company’s innovativeness. To leverage expertise, the company works with educational institutions and centers of excellence, and actively participates in national and international research programs. For example, in 2022 the “Green Energy on Fire” initiative was launched, a networking and knowledge platform for the energy and mobility transition among Austrian fire services. The most important areas of action drawn from this are presented centrally in the “Green Energy on Fire Map” and further broadened.
This includes factoring in environmental issues at a very early stage of development through materials analysis, taking account of material workability, and recyclability. Rosenbauer is increasingly focusing on prevention, particularly in its innovation activities. This will prevent damage situations from having to be mitigated in the first place; instead, they will be prevented as early as possible. The early spotting of fires and especially wildfires has been a key area of emphasis in research in this regard since 2019. Its position as an innovation and technology leader in the firefighting industry is possible only with an in-depth understanding of future fire service requirements, the expertise of long-serving employees and continuous R&D activity. Equally, customers and users are involved in most of its developments. In the reporting year, Rosenbauer invested € 31.6 million in research and development.
Early spotting of wildfires
Rosenbauer has been cooperating with OroraTech since the beginning of 2022 in order to detect forest fires at an early stage with the aid of satellite systems. OroraTech provides up-to-date forest fire information from public satellites equipped with thermal imaging cameras. However, the time intervals (up to 6 hours) are currently still too long to ensure a rapid response in the event of danger. Rosenbauer and OroraTech are therefore planning to expand this system into a forest fire monitoring and firefighting system with intervals of up to 30 minutes. Over the next few years, OroraTech will launch up to 100 satellites the size of a shoebox, each equipped with a high-resolution thermal imaging camera and artificial intelligence. A prototype has already been in orbit since January. The aim of the strategic partnership is to digitalize fighting forest fires in order to provide the most accurate information for decision-making by emergency response organizations on the ground.
Complete electric line-up for municipalities
At Interschutz, Rosenbauer demonstrated what a zero-emission fleet could look like for fire departments. In addition to the RT, the electric vehicle line-up includes the first AT electric, which uses tried-and-tested AT technology; the first L32A-XS electric, which combines all the functionalities of a standard aerial ladder with the advantages of an all-electric series chassis; and the GW-L electric, a logistics vehicle with a highly flexible body.
The innovation partner for the L32A-XS electric is Schutz & Rettung Zürich, Switzerland’s largest civilian rescue organization. Since December 2022, the Zürich Fire Department has been testing the vehicle for its operational suitability in three different urban environments in a oneyear pilot project together with Rosenbauer. The knowledge gained in the process will serve as the basis for series development. During the development of the electric aerial ladder, the focus was on functionality.
Positive feedback and award for the RT
After a test phase of 13 months, the Berlin Fire Brigade has put the Revolutionary Technology (RT) into regular operation. During this time, the all-electric vehicle completed around 1,400 deployments without failure. On days with a high frequency of deployments, the RT deployed up to 16 times within 24 hours, usually without the need for intermediate charging. During the test phase, 95% of all deployments were handled purely electrically, confirming that the design of the battery capacities is correct. In 2022, the first NFPA-compliant RTX (RT in the US version) was delivered to the Los Angeles Fire Department and the vehicle was presented to the FDIC. After a short test phase, the RTX has been part of the regular vehicle fleet in Los Angeles since September 2022. In the first 20 weeks, the RTX drove to approximately 1,300 emergency calls, of which over 99% were completed electrically. The innovative concept of the RT supports operational organizations in achieving their sustainability goals. For this, the RT received the Austrian Mobility Award in the category “Climate-friendly technologies – sustainable value creation.” This category rewards innovations that promote the industrial trend toward climate neutrality in key mobility sectors and show new climate-friendly ways for sustainable mobility. The prize is awarded by the Austrian Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology.
As a highlight of Interschutz, Rosenbauer presented the first PANTHER 6×6 with an electric drive train. Development began around two years ago when drive trains, on-board networks and electrical components were available that could also meet the high performance requirements of an ARFF vehicle. Airport operators and fire departments from all over the world were involved in the design of the PANTHER 6×6 electric from the outset. The transition of the concept vehicle to series development began in the year under review. In the pilot production, as with the RT, Rosenbauer will work with innovation partners and incorporate the findings from test operations under real conditions into development work and the set-up of series production.
Extinguishing systems for battery fires in electric vehicles
Changes in the way we get around are bringing an increasing number of electric vehicles onto the roads. This poses a new challenge for fire departments. Although electric vehicles are no more prone to fires than conventional ones, the potential hazards of high-voltage batteries that catch fire cannot be underestimated. Battery fires occur differently than wildfires, which can be described as growing in intensity. As long as fuel is available, the fire continues to intensify. Batteries, however, have individual modules, which cause the fire to develop in waves rather than exponentially. Extinguishing efficiency is the priority here. Rosenbauer has been researching high-volt battery fires since 2018. With the market launch of a corresponding extinguishing system in 2021, Rosenbauer has once again demonstrated its innovative leadership. The system differs fundamentally from all other approaches known to date. The extinguishing system is activated remotely and always from a safe distance from the vehicle.
Reducing the environmental impact of products
Rosenbauer takes sustainability into account over the entire life cycle of its products. For instance, in the design phase, all environmental impacts are considered as are the greatest possible reduction of waste and the efficient use of resources. The superstructures of Rosenbauer firefighting vehicles are largely made of aluminum, as it is significantly lighter and less susceptible to corrosion than steel. The design of the Advanced Technology (AT) firefighting truck allows maximum utilization of the body, higher payloads compared to vehicles with steel superstructures, and superior handling. It also makes the AT municipal flagship easy to recycle at the end of its life.
Closed-loop material cycle for water tanks
Extinguishing agent tanks are a feature of almost every firefighting vehicle. The standards for these components are high: The tanks must be as stable as possible, while also being lightweight and resisting corrosion. During deployments, they must be well positioned for turns to enable superior vehicle handling and not end up as hazardous waste at the end of the product’s life cycle. Rosenbauer meets precisely these needs with the production of a water tank made of PP (polypropylene). Previously, all water tanks were made of steel or glass-fiber reinforced plastic (GRP). However, when GRP is processed, this can release fine glass particles which are hazardous to human health. In addition, this material can only be incinerated as residual waste.
The product itself as well as its production process were developed by Rosenbauer. A robot programmed for this purpose has been used at Rosenbauer since 2015 for welding and grinding work. Around 700 units with a capacity of 500 to 18,000 liters are manufactured annually in Radgona, Slovenia.
Since 2020, the water tanks in all PANTHER ARFF vehicle types have also been made of PP. These environmentally friendly tanks are also used across the board in all other vehicle types. GRP tanks are only used in exceptional cases and upon customer request. If a vehicle with a PP tank is scrapped, it can be returned to the material cycle, even after a long period of service. And when it is disposed of correctly, a new extinguishing agent tank can be produced for Rosenbauer vehicles. This change in production allows Rosenbauer to improve the environmental footprint of its products as well as to contribute significantly to maintaining employee health in the workplace.
Toward a fluorine-free future – Proportioning systems for fluorine-free extinguishing agents
Extinguishing foam is among the most important products for fighting fires in solid materials and liquids. Some foam concentrates contain substances that fall into the category of PFCs, or perfluorinated chemicals. In addition to their great advantages in firefighting, the adverse impact of these perfluorinated chemicals on the environment cannot be ignored. After a deployment, they enter the soil along with extinguishing water and cannot be broken down naturally. With time, their concentration can increase, and they can enter the food chain with toxic effect.
An alternative is fluorine-free foam concentrates that are fully biodegradable. The higher viscosity of these fluorine-free compounds also increases the demands on the pressurized foam proportioning systems, however. In order to resolve these many requirements and technical challenges, Rosenbauer has developed a new system, the RFC Admix Variomatic. In addition to producing foam proportioning systems, the company helps customers minimize the use of foam concentrates, recommends the use of fluorine-free foam concentrates, and therefore keeps the environmental impact to a minimum. In addition, the VARIOMATIC foam proportioning system enables a foam-free practice mode. Likewise, the FIXMIX 2.0 E for the Panther has a test mode that can also be carried out with water instead of foam.
Rosenbauer has developed a lightweight single-layer protective suit for fighting forest fires.
Product Reliability and Longevity
Since firefighting technology has to operate immediately, reliably and flawlessly in the toughest conditions, quality is the primary factor in all products and processes and in Production. The associated reliability and longevity are extremely important, not least because most fire services are publicly funded. In addition to the quality management system, this is guaranteed by Rosenbauer with the use of high-quality materials and components, and continual improvement of product safety and customer service, which ensures safe operation.
Quality is number one at Rosenbauer – Rosenbauer’s quality management system
The conditions firefighting technology must be able to withstand are stipulated in strict standards. Rosenbauer meets the highest standards worldwide. The company guarantees quality along the entire value chain with experienced professionals and an ISO 9001:2015-certified quality management system, which is also used to steer and optimize processes. The best possible quality to customers is ensured by numerous quality tests conducted as early as the production stage. For example, a truck-mounted fire pump is put through its paces several times during production: initially after production of the body, after the assembly of other components and attachments and ultimately at the end of production. After installation in a vehicle, all the pump functions are rechecked during the final quality inspection.
All the regulations and documents required for operating processes are available online. The system is reviewed and updated by way of regular internal and external audits and customer audits.
Focus on usability
In case of a fire, everything has to run quickly and safely. Every move must be exactly right. Equipment with a user-friendly interface of course helps immeasurably. In cooperation with the Hagenberg University of Applied Sciences, Rosenbauer has spent three years researching the topic of human-machine communication in a project. The objective of the project was to research and optimize Rosenbauer’s user concept. Based on eye-tracking technology, the concept was redesigned and standardized in 2020 with user-friendliness always the most important goal.
Old becomes new again – Sustainability thanks to the refurbishment program
Product reliability and longevity along with high quality are the most important requirements in production at Rosenbauer. Thanks to the refurbishment program, Rosenbauer is lengthening the service life of its products sustainably and bringing every aging vehicle up to the state of the art in technology, while incorporating the most recent innovations. Overhauling vehicles, equipment, or key components to make them like new is an extensive process using the skills of highly qualified technicians at Rosenbauer that requires strict quality controls. The goal is to refurbish a vehicle back to an excellent standard of quality, regardless of vehicle type. In the reporting period, 36 vehicles were refurbished as part of this program. Furthermore, Rosenbauer also completed more than 15 projects in which individual components (e.g. lighting or brackets) was brought up to date. Rosenbauer Switzerland was the first company to carry out such a refurbishment.
Efficient fire-extinguishing technology thanks to high-pressure pumps
Rosenbauer pumps are in use 24/7 the world over in emergency vehicles, both as truck-mounted fire pumps in ARFF, industrial, or municipal fire trucks or as firefighting pumps in stationary applications. Rosenbauer’s smallest standard pressure pump, the N10, has a delivery rate of up to 1,800 l/min. Our most powerful unit, the new N130, delivers over 13,000 l/min at 10 bar. Rosenbauer also offers truck-mounted fire pumps with an integrated high-pressure stage. These operate at four times the pressure (40 bar) of standard pressure pumps, finely atomizing the extinguishing water and greatly increasing the surface area of the water. This means it can penetrate deeply into the burning material, which in turn optimizes its extinguishing effect. The high-pressure pumps are efficient at fighting fires. They also minimize consequential damage caused by firefighting operations, because there is less contaminated water that can damage the fabric of the building. In 2022, 43% of all the pumps Rosenbauer produced were supplied with a high or ultra-high pressure option.
Health and Safety of emergency services personnel
The health and safety of firefighters is Rosenbauer’s top priority and is always the focus in the use of our products. In addition, product ergonomics and safety devices are being continuously improved. These must provide the fire services with the best possible support and protection as they go about their daily work. Rosenbauer offers comprehensive customer training courses. These range from operator and technical training on vehicles and extinguishing systems, through special tactical training, to simulated deployments. Rosenbauer measures the outcome of these actions based on the number of training sessions attended and simulators sold, and by comparing the user-friendliness.
“Be clean & stay healthy” – Hygiene campaign
Rosenbauer sees itself as a partner to fire departments. For this reason, the company considers it a societal duty to focus its research activities on topics that promote the health and safety of emergency services. Firefighters literally “walk through fire” when they are deployed. In the process, they are exposed to various risks, such as smoke inhalation. Rosenbauer has also dedicated itself to the topic of “operational hygiene” in 2022 and presented at Interschutz how modern operational hygiene can be practiced and how this can and how this can help emergency forces to better protect their health. With this, Rosenbauer aims to promote and strengthen awareness of hygiene during fire service deployments. Rosenbauer is also working intensively on concepts and solutions for fire departments for decontaminating protective clothing. In line with the megatrend of health, the safety and personal health of emergency services personnel are the top priority. This issue is gaining importance in Northern Europe, the United States, and Australia.
Customer service – Customers are the focus at Rosenbauer
An important component of vehicle longevity and safe use is customer service. This ensures that Rosenbauer products can be operated safely by users and remain operational throughout their entire life cycle. The global service organization consists of around 550 service technicians, 25 Rosenbauer service workshops and around 100 regional service partners with their own infrastructure.
No vehicle is handed over to a customer without prior training. In addition, training4fire offers a comprehensive range of training for fire services, from operator and repair training, to specialist programs for engineers and equipment maintenance personnel, through tactical, operational and driver safety training. Rosenbauer provides a guaranteed supply of spare parts delivered quickly to ensure its products are always ready for operation. To provide the best possible customer care, Rosenbauer invests in a comprehensive, intensive service training program: all service technicians attend a multi-phase training program, which mainly comprises various e-learning modules and in-person training sessions on proper repair and maintenance of all Rosenbauer products.
Expanding the simulator range
The correct handling of the equipment as well as the complex vehicles demands a lot of skill and tactical knowledge from the task forces. Rosenbauer’s goal for simulators is to facilitate training for emergency services and to ensure their preparedness for unusual situations in an emergency. The company has met these requirements since 2014 with a range of various simulators. Training in a simulator is cost-effective and possible at any time, not to mention it avoids putting firefighters in dangerous situations unnecessarily. In addition, it is environmentally friendly due to the reduction in fuel, water, and foam concentrate used.
Variety of training simulators
Robots for many applications – All-purpose “helpers”
The digital transformation of fire services is becoming increasingly noticeable. Of all of the advantages this brings, the primary ones are occupational health and safety for fire departments. This is also a major concern for Rosenbauer during the new product development process. In 2020, the company launched a new product to meet precisely these needs: the RTE ROBOT. This is an innovation by Rosenbauer that involved the development of an electric track vehicle used for reducing to a minimum potential hazards operational teams might face. From transporting heavy equipment to various recovery operations and even reconnaissance with the help of cameras, the robot handles particularly difficult and dangerous tasks to assist the humans deployed. The many possible uses for this device are a unique feature. This is another product created by Rosenbauer to support safe deployment of emergency services while keeping people out of the danger zone.