Apparatus Road Test

It’s not often one gets to drive a fire apparatus on a NASCAR-based test track, but some 300 invited guests got to do that when Rosenbauer unveiled its Commander cab and chassis at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Four prototypes were made...


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Those attending the unveiling included a group of mechanics who said they were impressed by the access provided to the vehicle’s running gear. The tilt cabs rise to almost 90 degrees, providing easy access to the engine and transmission. Mechanics remarked that they couldn’t find anything that was not easily accessible. Even the battery box folds down and makes a step for access to internal components.

 

Maintenance access

Accessibility was also a consideration for Rosenbauer in parts selection. Many items used for maintenance are off-the-shelf components, which reduces downtime and expense – no need to go back to Rosenbauer for proprietary maintenance parts. The company says well stocked, locally operated parts stores should have most needed items.

Meeting the latest federal emissions tests was not a problem for Rosenbauer. The company took into consideration every aspect of the new technology and integrated it into the original design. There was no need to retrofit anything into existing designs.

“We passed all the emissions testing the first time with no problems,” Boer said. That’s an achievement, considering some engine manufacturers have dropped the fire service because of difficulties meeting emissions standards within the constraints of a fire apparatus.

Rosenbauer America is building the cabs and chassis in a new facility in Wyoming, MN, adjacent to its General Safety Equipment plant. The company said a new division, called Rosenbauer Motors, will handle the business side of building cabs and chassis.

 

Manufacturing plans

Kevin Kirvida is president of Rosenbauer’s Minnesota division. He said it made sense to build the cabs and chassis there because the company has gained experience building ground-up apparatus with its aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) equipment experience. Rosenbauer’s Panther is built in Minnesota, so the company has materials, products and experience building ground-up apparatus.

Completed cabs and chassis can stay in Minnesota to become finished apparatus, or they can be shipped to South Dakota for finishing, depending on customer location and preference. The Commander is a custom cab and chassis made exclusively for Rosenbauer and can be used for aerials, pumpers, rescues and tankers.

With four apparatus already built, more in production and some already ordered, Rosenbauer was expecting to have the first Commander units delivered and in service by the end of April.

ED BALLAM, a staff writer for Firehouse.com, is a captain with the Haverhill Corner, NH, Fire Department, a nationally certified EMT and holds certifications in emergency vehicle operations and pump operations. He is also a deputy forest fire warden for the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands.