The Frankfurt Fire Department is one of the largest in Germany. There are twelve fire and rescue stations scattered throughout the city with a total of over 1,000 firefighters. In addition, there are about 900 active firefighters working at 28 volunteer fire departments.

Time for Something New with Proven Quality

10 New Aerial Ladders for Frankfurt am MainIn 2014, the Frankfurt Fire Department took the first step towards replacing its aerial ladders, which have been in service since 2001.

The predecessor ladders were built on a 3-axle chassis with a very short wheelbase and actively steered trailing steering axle to keep the turning radius as small as possible. This concept has proven itself in the last 18 years in the operations of the fire department.

Sticking to the concept of the three-axle chassis with actively steered trailer axle was one of the core requirements for the new vehicle generation. The second core requirement was the use of a ladder set with articulated ladder. Previous good experience with an L32A-XS leased since 2013 helped with the decision.

From Requirement to Solution

10 aerial ladders for Frankfurt am Main (group photo from above)In the spring of 2015, a procurement procedure for the delivery of a total of 10 aerial  ladders was initiated across Europe.

The biggest difficulty of the bidding phase was finding a solution for the required ESP. Since the trailing steering axle was not available ex-works, there was no ESP solution from the chassis manufacturer. After intensive discussions with the chassis manufacturer and chassis conversion partner, it was possible to agree on a joint development and adaptation of the ESP.

The second challenge was accommodating the entire load on the vehicle. Of course, there was less space for the equipment compartments due to the additional axis. But here too, a solution could be found – with small equipment compartments above the axles and an equipment compartment to the right of the turret.

In April 2017, we received the order to supply the aerial ladders for the Frankfurt Fire Department.

An Aerial Ladder goes into Production

After completion of the first ladder in April 2018, intensive road tests were carried out to adapt and extensively test the ESP.

In May 2018, a delegation of the fire department, consisting of the technical department and rescue team, traveled to Karlsruhe to take possession of the first vehicle. The vehicle was then put to the test until August and has been in service since mid-August 2018. The remaining nine vehicles were delivered to the fire department in December 2018 and January 2019.

In December 2018, we received the additional order for an 11th vehicle, which will be delivered in September 2019.

Other fire departments have also shown interest in this concept, which was developed especially for inner-city operations.

New arial ladders for Frankfurt am Main (group photo)

Special features of this concept:

  • The trailing steering axle is completely self-steering up to 30 km/h.
  • Between 30 km/h and 55 km/h, the steering angle of the trailing steering axle is reduced.
  • Above 55 km/h, the trailing steering axle is fixed.
  • Turning radius of 14.8 m
  • L32A-XS 3.0 Ladder
  • HR-500 MF Rescue Cage