This week, Rosenbauer demonstrated its new Commander at a ride-and-drive event at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. There, more than 300 invited guests were able to inspect four of the first chassis off the production line.
Two years ago,launched an effort to learn what firefighters, officers and emergency vehicle technicians really wanted in a chassis, said Harold Boer, CEO of Rosenbauer South Dakota. The company then integrated that input into the chassis design.
The Commander chassis is a totally integrated unit, with 3/16-inch aluminum construction and a stamped aluminum front cab fascia. The Commander is built on a 50,000-psi frame, cross members with a belly-band support below the engine and a straight taper top frame flange. The Commander features aand a wider grill for more airflow with the new compliant engine. The chassis features Hendrickson front suspension, Bilstein shocks and the Weldon V-Mux electrical system is standard.
“We designed and work with concepts you suggested and we did what we said we were going to do,” said Rich Schalter, president of Rosenbauer Motors.
What they did was set priorities for the new chassis that included safety, comfort, innovative operation, HVAC, increased room for driver and officer, durability, and cost effective, off-the-shelf components.
The interior of the Commander cab is open and quiet for ease of communication throughout the cab. The driver’s side has a wrap-around dashboard for easy visuals for the driver and a wide, unobstructed expanse of open windshield. Both driver and officer side feature airflow vents at chest level. The air-conditioning system also was designed with a gravity-pull system to eliminate drips in the cab. Frontal air bags and Roll-Tek air bags are also standard.
The trunion-style cab lift cylinder can tilt the cab to 45 degrees and features a spring loaded cab lock down. There is also a fold-down battery box cover that also works as a step.
One of the significant differences of the new Commander chassis is the use of after-market products. From the wrap around windshield to the oil used in the transmission, fire departments can use local resources to maintain and repair apparatus and are not restricted or limited to proprietary products. According to Boer, one of the significant complaints from end users was the costs and time of proprietary products in an apparatus.
The focus on ease of access for maintenance was a priority for the design and construction of the new chassis. The radiator — which has a quick-check fluid gauge — is a drop-down style that can be removed without tilting the cab and also features a quick-check fluid gauge.
Rosenbauer will debut the chassis to the fire-service marketplace in the spring.