The new special-purpose vehicle is the fire department's first of several operational vehicles with an Allison transmission.
KNAPSACK, Germany, June 14, 2022 – The Chemiepark Knapsack in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany is an enclosed, gated industrial area covering around 180 hectares. The industrial park was developed by service provider and site operator
Yncoris and houses some 30 companies working in the chemical sector. Due to the nature of production at the park, including chemicals, plastics, industrial gases, and compressed air, an on-site fire department, which has 14 vehicles and around 40
firefighters, is a key component of the park’s infrastructure.
Based on the specific requirements of the Chemiepark Knapsack fire department, a unique vehicle was designed and manufactured. Among other equipment features, an Allison fully automatic transmission was specified for the large, 12-meter-long firefighting
vehicle. In order to move the 40-ton truck quickly and in a controlled manner around the winding industrial site in an emergency, engine power and torque need to be fully and continuously transferred to the wheels. The patented torque converter and
the uninterrupted full power shifts of the Allison transmission provide outstanding acceleration and continuous traction. In an emergency, the firefighters have to get to any location in the chemical park within 5 minutes to start firefighting operations.
"We predominantly cover short distances at the plant. There are lots of twists, turns and intersections, so we constantly have to slow down and accelerate. It is very impressive to see the improved acceleration when using a fully automatic transmission.
You get up to speed right away and there is no bottoming out like with the automated manual transmissions. And vehicle control is simply superior, which our people really appreciate," explained Dennis Scholzen, Head of Technology of the Chemiepark
Knapsack on-site fire department.
The large tank pumper on MAN TGS 41.480 8x4 BB with Empl body features an Allison 4500 fully automatic transmission and a 6-cylinder diesel engine with a displacement of 12.4 liters. Powered by the MAN D26 engine with an output of 353 kW (473 hp) and
a torque of 1,900 Nm as of 1,000 rpm, the 41-ton vehicle can reach a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph).
The largest part of the vehicle body accommodates the 9,500-liter extinguishing water tank, along with an additional 4,500-liter foam tank and a 500-kg powder extinguishing system. The centrifugal fire pump is installed in the rear equipment compartment
and has a capacity of 8,000 l/min at 10 bar. The rotatable 360° Skorpio extinguishing arm located on the roof can be extended to a length of 25 meters using a remote control system. Its output in this position is 3,500 liters per minute. This
enables targets to be reached at a distance of up to 90 meters – an important benefit for emergency services.
The Allison transmission's pump-and-roll feature allows the firefighting operation to proceed while the vehicle is in motion. "This is a huge advantage, as it allows us to maneuver the vehicle safely and at the same time operate the water pump via the
Power Take-Off, which is essential for effective firefighting. With an automated manual transmission, this would not be possible," said Dennis Scholzen. "Overall, the transmission's two PTOs for the water pump and hydraulics work extremely well with
"We really like this vehicle configuration with a fully automatic transmission. It delivers the power to the wheels much better than an AMT. We had not expected such a big difference, so as a result, we have already ordered three more vehicles with Allison
transmissions from Empl: two 4-axle trucks and one 2-axle truck," explained Ralf Lassmann, Head of the Plant Fire Department at the Chemiepark Knapsack.
“Allison fully automatic transmissions have proven their superior performance in terms of acceleration, reliability and robustness in the most demanding conditions and are therefore used by numerous fire departments worldwide,” said Stephan
Marker, Area Sales Manager Allison Transmission. “They also differ from other technologies due to the special fire service performance calibration. The only way a fully automatic transmission really takes the pressure off the driver during emergency
runs is if the shift strategy is precisely matched to these vehicles and the transmission operates effectively in conjunction with the driver."
EMPL is exhibiting the large tanker fire-fighting vehicle of the Chemiepark Knapsack’s plant fire brigade at Interschutz, along with other custom-built vehicles (June 20-25, Interschutz, Hanover, Germany, Hall
27, Booth B30).