"The first AT was truly pioneering work"

Rudi Reitsamer has been working at Rosenbauer since 1975. Not only was he involved in the production of the very first AT, but he still works on the production line today. During this time, he has been involved in the production of hundreds of vehicles. Clearly, since then many of the fundamentals have changed. How adventurous the road to the production of the first AT for the Bad Mühllacken fire department was (about which Rosenbauer reported in the previous Newsletter), Rudi Reitsamer describes in an interview. The development of the AT began in the mid-1990s.


Can you still remember the production of the very first vehicle for the Bad Mühllacken fire department?

Rudi Reitsamer: Yes, I can still remember it perfectly. Back then, we undertook a lot of test drives, photo missions, and visits to trade fairs. In the production phase, we were in a great deal of hurry because we wanted to present the finished AT at an important trade fair.


How did the production phase go?

Rudi Reitsamer: Back then, it was even more complicated than it is today. At that time, we had no facilities for laser cutting the parts. Because of this, we had to do everything with a keyhole saw. During the production of the first vehicle, we made a breakthrough with our adhesive technology and introduced the sandwich panels. In between, we went back to the drawing board and tried new approaches on many occasions.


So it was a challenge to make the first AT. Was it a big change compared to the vehicles you had previously built?

Rudi Reitsamer: Yes, you could say that. Not everyone was convinced by the AT's concept from the outset, and there were quite a few skeptics. In particular, the use of aluminum was then anything but a certainty. But the management at the time was always behind us and our concept.


What were the greatest difficulties?

Rudi Reitsamer: It was, in summary, a major transition. You had to think for yourself at every step, and I was very nervous as to whether everything would work out just as we had imagined.


Could you have foreseen back then that the AT series would become so popular and such a success story?

Rudi Reitsamer: I had a hunch that we were creating something really great. If I had bet I'd get a Euro for every SCBA bracket sold, then I'd be a rich man by now! (laughs) No, in all seriousness, nobody could have dreamed of this level of success.


How many of you were involved in the production of the AT?

Rudi Reitsamer: I can't say for certain - I never counted. It would certainly have been several hundred, though.


What was your role?

Rudi Reitsamer: My job was to build the lines and train the workers. The work was a lot more complex than today. The docking parts had to be individually shaped, and the driver's cab had to be adapted. It was often a real experiment, but that in itself was a lot of fun. In retrospect, this has to be seen as truly pioneering work.


Rudi Reitsamer has been working at Rosenbauer since undertaking an apprenticeship here. As back then, he is employed in the production of the AT series, and wants to continue in the role even longer: "Working with the vehicles is simply a lot of fun."