Futuristic fire appliances are helping a Huddersfield firm boost sales and create more jobs.
Firefighting equipment manufacturer Rosenbauer UK showcased the company’s latest fire appliances at a Tech Day staged at its Meltham Mills premises for representatives of municipal fire services and airports across the country.
The star of the show was the Rosenbauer Panther, a £700,000 fire appliance already seeing service at many UK airports, including Leeds-Bradford, Heathrow and Gatwick.
As well as being in the spotlight at Meltham, the Panther being demonstrated at Rosenbauer UK’s Concept House premises also featured in several scenes in the Hollywood blockbuster Transformers 2.
A number of other appliances in use by fire and rescue services in Scotland, Lancashire, Buckinghamshire and Surrey were also put through their paces. The machines, bristling with the latest technology, included the Rosenbauer Stinger, which features an extendable boom capable of throwing water more than 100 metres at a rate of 6,000 litres a minute.
The Tech Day also featured an appearance by guest star and world lightweight boxing champion Anthony Crolla, who is a good friend and former sparring partner of Rosenbauer managing director Oliver North.
Oliver said the company was now recruiting for 12 engineers to join the existing 28-strong team to meet existing and future orders.
The firm, part of Austrian fire vehicle and equipment manufacturer Rosenbauer International, completed a move to Meltham Mills from smaller premises in Brockholes only in the last few weeks.
Said Oliver: “We have worked over Christmas and New Year to get everything right. We now have extensive assembly, refurbishment and repair facilities and we have increased capacity in the production area.
“We are winning more contracts every year. We saw a 100% increase in turnover in the past 12 months after a record year previously.”
Oliver said the new machines aimed to answer the needs of cost-conscious fire authorities for more efficient, multi-purpose vehicles with extended lifespans.
He said the technology on board enabled crews to handle a wide range of demanding situations more safely.
Rosenbauer UK was formed in April, 2014 when the Austrian company acquired a majority stake in Oliver’s existing firefighting equipment business North Fire. Before that, North Fire had imported and sold Rosenbauer’s aerial platforms.
Oliver, a former army PT instructor who was named Young Business Person of the Year in the 2013 Examiner Business Awards, set up North Fire in 2008 after a stint serving as a firefighter himself in 2002.