At Interschutz 2015, Rosenbauer presented a new portable fire pump – and it was not what the public was expecting. To the surprise of many, an entire series had grown out of the FOX portable fire pump. “Large” portable fire pumps were expected to follow the showcased FOX S of the new PFPN 10-1000 power class.

One might think that the stressful time leading up to Interschutz was over when the trade show ended and that things would “settle down.” But in reality, that is when things really started taking off. The myriad of positive feedback on the FOX S and our new concept spurred the team on even more.

On one hand, we sought to complete the development of the FOX S. Integrating the feedback we received during dealer trainings and in conversations with customers into the series product was a top priority. Changes were made once again during series production on this basis. The most significant modifications were made to the covering hood, which now has an asymmetric design in order to optimize the installation space.

 

Standard tests and fatigue testing programs

The FOX S took a big step in the fall of 2015 with the construction of the pilot series. For the first time, pumps with BRP-Rotax motors were completely built by our colleagues of the extinguishing system assembly team. The certification marathon then began with a few of these devices. In addition to a comprehensive risk assessment and manufacturer’s declaration, standard tests still needed to be implemented. This included testing the cold starting capability at -20 °C or the detailed inspection of the refueling ability while running by TÜV Austria. The harmonized European standard is, of course, not enough for the standard test. The pumps were also tested separately in accordance with DIN EN 14466 for Germany and ÖNORM EN 14466 for Austria. Three is apparently better than one. 🙂
Series production of the FOX S commenced in December 2015 and the first devices were shipped within a year’s time.

In parallel to all of the activities for the FOX S, the comprehensive fatigue testing program was completed for the new “large” FOX. The greatest advantage in this project phase was all of the experience from the development of the FOX S that we were able to fall back on, the result of which was a much more mature product when entering the testing phase.

 

World premiere of a new generation

Rosenbauer International AG - Retter MesseThe world premiere of the 4th generation FOX was virtually predestined for the “Retter” trade show in Wels. With the trade show location in Wels – centrally located between Leonding (Rosenbauer) and Gunskirchen (BRP-Rotax) – we were able to reveal this popular product in the backyard of our most important partners involved in the project. And three days at the Retter trade show demonstrated that the FOX S and FOX 4 duo are right on the mark when it comes to meeting our customer’s needs.

All manufacturers of firefighting equipment claim, or at least try, to listen closely to their customers. But what they actually do with the information varies. Our mix of tried-and-tested, advanced Rosenbauer pump technology, combined with a contemporary, powerful motor and countless detailed improvements are exactly what our customers expect of our most recent pumps! The technical capabilities of the Rotax motors have allowed us to implement many new ideas that make the 4th generation of FOX S and FOX unique. Although the motors are also now cooled with water, the weight of the FOX 4 was reduced in comparison to the FOX II, making the FOX 4 the lightest of all FOX portable fire pumps. Dry ­sump­ lubrication enables an inclination angle of 35° (not 35%!) during operation. Plus, the starting behavior of both motors is unrivaled. The portable fire pumps still start reliably with the electrical starting device at -15 °C and with a remaining battery capacity of 20%. The manual emergency start device is now obsolete as a result! The portable fire pumps spring to life even at -32 °C, which we were able to prove in a climate wind tunnel in Vienna.

The presentation at the Retter trade show represented the final stretch for the project. But for me personally, this phase meant a final push. In addition to my role as project manager, as product manager I was still responsible for portable fire pumps, among other things. Thus I was able to present our masterpiece to our colleagues from the sales department and our partners, complete a tour of all the national fire brigade associations in Austria, demonstrate the pump to key customers in Germany and prove their performance in South Tyrol.
A highlight of this promotional tour was, of course, the portable fire pump market survey in the German Fire Brigade Magazine. The trainers for machinists from the Ammerland District (NI) were able to try out all devices available on the market and were very impressed with the FOX S and FOX 4.

Rosenbauer International AG - FOX 4 Rosenbauer International AG - FOX 4 Rosenbauer International AG - FOX 4 Rosenbauer International AG - FOX 4

 

Start of a new era

The culmination was reached in March 2017. The very last of almost 18,000 FOX pumps with BMW motors was produced in Leonding. The final conversion to the new product family with BRP-Rotax motor occurred simultaneously. With this we had succeeded in bringing what at first was just a vague idea for a “new portable fire pump” to the industrial series production of the FOX S and FOX 4.

For the actual core team, which in addition to me as project manager included two colleagues from the fire extinguishing systems development department and a colleague from the electrics/electronics development department, which was responsible for the project over almost the entire period and contributed a great deal of personal dedication and enthusiasm, it is now time to move on to new challenges. Even for me – who has been given the nickname of “Father of the FOX” – many new exciting projects await. But I will always remember this intense time, for hopefully we have laid the foundation – like our colleagues with the FOX 1 – for a portable fire pump concept that will serve fire departments worldwide for decades to come.