Emergency vehicles are outfitted with a number of complex and intricate systems that allow them to perform essential functions, from emergency lights and sirens through to radio communications and performance of pumping equipment. Recognising the potential for cost and time savings if control of these functions could be streamlined, Emergency One began its search for an alternative vehicle functionality control method.
Having used traditional control methods for each of the individual functions for specialised fire and emergency vehicles for more than a decade, Emergency one went to market to see if there was a technological approach that could help reduce production cost and streamline functionality.
Speaking about Emergency One’s decision to source alterative vehicle functionality control systems, Emergency One’s Managing Director Michael Madsen says: “The manufacture of an emergency vehicle is a complicated process, particularly the assembly and installation of each individual system required for its added functions. We felt that if we could consolidate the control of these systems, it would not only improve functionality but also production processes.”
Speaking about the project, Craig Grant, Mobile Applications Manager at Bosch Rexroth, says: “Having reviewed the requirements set out by Emergency one at length, we advised that the RC36-20 controller would be the ideal solution.”
Designed as a universal central controller for complex mobile working machines, the RC36-20 uses the latest 32-bit TriCore technology to provide enhanced functionality that was only previously available for much larger static applications.”
Developed specifically for mobile applications, the controllers can be integrated with software in combination with pumps, motors, valves, sensors, input devices and actuators, making for a complete system. In addition, the RC36-20 satisfies corresponding safety requirements regarding ambient temperatures, water and dust ingression, shock and vibration as well as electromagnetic compatibility.
Describing how the controller is able to increase manufacturing efficiency Craig says: “The RC36-20 utilises CAN bus technology, essentially making the controllers a ‘plug and play’ component and ensuring installation is kept to a minimum. Due to the use of CAN networks the wiring of the controller is kept to a minimum, the aim is to use a ‘standard’ wiring harness for all vehicles with only the parameters of the application software being modified to suit the options being built onto the vehicle in question.
Overall time reduced
Speaking about the results, Michael says: “The overall time spent manufacturing an emergency vehicle has now been reduced by more than 200 hours per vehicle. I never imagined we would achieve results like this and so quickly. In addition to supplying the technology, Bosch Rexroth engineers have been on hand to provide expert support and advice post-installation, which has really helped make the integration of the controllers into our manufacturing process as smooth as possible.”
Craig concludes: “We take our position as a leading specialist in the field of drives and controls very seriously and it’s important that we are able to offer bespoke solutions which meet the exact requirements of customers. By working closely with Emergency One and offering engineering expertise and support, we have been able to supply a solution which not only improves end-user functionality but provides significant production savings.”
Following the successful integration of the RC36-20 controllers, Bosch Rexroth is now working with Emergency One on a remote access and data logging system, which allows engineering staff to connect to a fire engine via the internet, showing the current position and operational status of the appliance in real-time and make changes to vehicle settings as required.
To find out more about Bosch Rexroth and RC36-20 controllers, visit www.boschrexroth.co.uk.