September 14, 2020

Press release

The factory of the future

  • First robot-supported production of ladder sets for turntable ladder vehicles in the fire service industry
  • Securing of high-quality jobs in the region by investing in future-oriented technologies
  • A clear commitment by the Rosenbauer Group to the Karlsruhe plant and to Germany as a place of business

Today, Rosenbauer launched a new production plant near Rheinhafen in Karlsruhe in the presence of the Mayor of Karlsruhe, high-ranking representatives of the Baden-Württemberg fire departments, and other partners and guests. This represents the first robot-supported production of ladder sets for turntable ladder vehicles anywhere in the world. The virtually complete digitalization of the production process makes this a factory of the future that not only offers advantages in terms of productivity, process reliability, component precision and quality of the end products, but also secures qualified jobs.

Dieter Siegel, CEO of Rosenbauer International: "We have invested a total of 4.2 million euros in robot-assisted production and high-quality jobs. With the new, digitized production plant, we are taking a big step towards Industry 4.0 and securing our excellent international competitive edge in aerial rescue devices for the long term. We have been in Karlsruhe for 22 years and operate the plant as a competence center for aerial rescue vehicles. Today, as a result of the turntable ladders and hydraulic platforms that are developed and produced right here, we are the technological leaders and popular with customers around the world."

High-precision manufacturing
The key technology of the new production is the welding of the ladder sets on newly developed, state-of-the-art robotic systems. Today's articulated turntable ladders with a rescue height of 30 meters consist of over 500 different components and more than 1,500 individual parts. Each individual part and every plug connection is precisely and uniquely designed (poka-yoke principle) and digitally recorded. This ensures that they fit together like a lock and key, and that any errors in the production process are eliminated from the outset. 

The parts enter production in the form of datasets, are precisely cut to size on laser machines, and are provided with precisely fitting slots, holes, tabs, and pins. They are then positioned on special devices and tacked before being welded together by robots. The welding robots are fitted with laser scanners and dual cameras to enable them to precisely see where a weld is required. 

Daniel Tomaschko, CTO of Rosenbauer International: "With this robot-assisted production, the Karlsruhe plant has become the world's technological leader in turntable ladder production. We can manufacture even the most complex ladder sets with high precision, and we are also working with a completely new logistics concept. This makes the entire production process extremely efficient, enabling us to increase our productivity potential by up to 40 percent compared to traditional ladder set production processes."

Successful partnerships
The newly digitized production was implemented in cooperation with numerous partners from across the region. These include, first and foremost, Carl Cloos Schweißtechnik, who supplied the welding robots, Sondermaschinenbau Calvörde, whose appliances we use, and Leisinger Deutschland, our partner for laser technology. The project was supported by the regional business associations and the city of Karlsruhe, who offers the best possible site conditions for technology-oriented companies like Rosenbauer. 

Lord Mayor Dr. Frank Mentrup: “I am very pleased to see this investment by the Rosenbauer Group, which shows their firm commitment to Karlsruhe as a location and to job security. This continues the long tradition of developing firefighting equipment in our city, and further strengthens Karlsruhe's reputation as a centre of innovation. Rosenbauer Karlsruhe GmbH is - and will remain - one of the most important local players, demonstrating Karlsruhe's strength as a business location to the outside world."

Rosenbauer Karlsruhe
The Karlsruhe site is Rosenbauer's development and production center for turntable ladders and hydraulic platforms that are manufactured in accordance with European standards, as well as an in-house service and training center. Rosenbauer employs around 500 people at this site. They are responsible for the production of 200 aerial rescue devices annually, which are delivered to customers worldwide. A cross-section of the vehicle program was on display during the opening of the plant, including six turntable ladders with a rescue height of 32 meters for customers in Germany, Austria, Serbia, Saudi Arabia and Australia, two turntable ladders with rescue heights of 24 and 27 meters and a compact articulated bogie, three aerial rescue platforms with working heights of 32, 45 and 55 meters, as well as the brand new L32A-XSF, which will be officially launched at the FLORIAN trade fair for fire departments, civil protection, and disaster control, to be held from October 8-10 in Dresden, Germany. The Karlsruhe site can look back on a history of more than 175 and is world-renowned in the field of aerial rescue technology for fire services.

In connection with this press release, the following media material is at your disposal:
PDF press article pdf pdf