Press release, July 10, 2018

Highest Precision

Rosenbauer is revolutionizing ladder production through the use of state-of-the-art robot technology.

  • Plant for welding the cage booms of XS ladders successfully put into operation
  • Over 80 vehicles already delivered with cage booms produced by robots
  • Further robotic welding systems for upper and lower ladder sections under construction

Rosenbauer Karlsruhe is the competence centre for aerial rescue devices within the Rosenbauer Group. For over 150 years, the high-tech forge has been involved in the development and construction of aerial ladders, and is seen as a trendsetter in its field. The engineers in Karlsruhe have also made a quantum leap in technology with the new robotic production: for the first time, parts of ladder sets are being welded automatically and with the utmost precision.

Newly constructed
A single L32A-XS ladder set consists of over 500 different, and a total of 1,537 individual parts. To date, welding them together manually was the most advanced method. The breakthrough came only after a complete rethink: in order to be able to meaningfully reduce the effort in the production and to be able to use a welding robot efficiently, first and foremost, the components had to be designed for robots. Almost all parts of the ladder set, in particular the plug connectors, have therefore been redesigned.

"From simple saw cuts we have made precise laser parts," says Production Manager Hans-Peter Lörch. The components are cut to length on tubular lasers and slots, holes, straps and pins are fitted or attached in the same operation. As a result, they become as unmistakeable as a barcode and can be precisely positioned or fixed on the ladder frame with much less effort than before. The (new) precision is therefore a result of the laser parts in the ladder set, while stability and robustness are still achieved in the quality of the weld.

Production up-and-running
The cage booms of XS ladders are already being welded in series on a robotic system. Prefabricated, laser-cut individual parts are put together and tacked in simple devices. The tacked components are then fixed on to the welding table with a few simple holders and welded by the robot.

The plant is set up in an industrial hall at Rheinhafen Karlsruhe, where the entire robotic ladder welding plant will be housed in future: in addition to the existing 6 metre line for the cage boom, two further lines - each 13 metres in length - for welding the upper and lower ladder sections and a dedicated sandblasting system, will be added. The erection of both the 13m systems is planned by the end of 2019, and from then onwards Rosenbauer Karlsruhe will be able to produce the complete L32A-XS ladder set with robotic assistance.

Robot Welding System (cage boom) profile
- Make: Cloos QRC 350-E
- Articulated welding robot
- Controlled axes: 9

- Part size: L = 6,000 mm, diameter = 1,800 mm
- Part weight: 5,000 kg

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