Fire Equipment Supplier Automates C-Parts Management with RFID

Zero-Defect Replenishment System with RFID Optimizes Material Flow

Firefighters save lives

But they need to rely on first-class equipment and firefighting technology to do so. This equipment and technology is produced by the Austrian Rosenbauer Group and delivered all over the world. The quality requirements are extremely high, just as they are for the company’s own intralogistics processes.

As a C-parts supplier and integration partner, Kellner & Kunz has continued to perfect replenishment in production with the help of a Kathrein RFID infrastructure.

Zero-Defect Replenishment System with RFID

Zero-Defect Replenishment System with RFID Optimizes Material Flow.

Undesirable Production Pauses

Employees must be supplied with appropriate C-parts at the production stage. This includes items such as protective workwear, consumables, and tools. Rosenbauer uses RFID-tagged KLT containers from RECA for deliveries. The boxes are to be kept in a permanent cycle between the C-parts warehouse and the production line. This ensures seamless parts replenishment. Before the use of RFID technology, there were occasional disruptions in the material flow.

Empty boxes remained at the workplace and were not returned to the nearest collection box. The unfortunate consequences: No C-parts or too few of them were delivered to the line. Replenishment had to be triggered manually. This cost time and money. A situation that Rosenbauer’s management urgently wanted to remedy by bringing in a zero-defect solution.

The partners Kathrein and Kellner & Kunz focused on process optimization based on RFID in a joint proof of concept. The replenishment of C-parts was to be automated and error-free. As soon as the employees use up all the materials from the RFID KLT boxes, they begin to pack the empty boxes into a large transport collection box – the so-called iBox.

The tugger train driver transports all the boxes of this iBox. On the route between the C-parts warehouse and production, more empty containers can be collected. Boxes that the production workers accidentally failed to place into the iBox are also taken into account. These can be detected along the transport route in the same way as boxes stacked inside each other. RFID eliminates the previous sources of error and ensures higher process quality.

With an RFID solution, errors are eliminated and process quality is increased.

Empty KLT boxes are collected in the so-called I-Box.

Empty KLT boxes are collected in the so-called I-Box and transported. Errors during returns interrupt the material flow of C-parts.


  • Founded 1866 in Linz
  • Largest fire equipment supplier in the world, with HQ in Austria
  • Production of vehicles, extinguishing technology and equipment
  • Turnover: €1,044.2 Million (2020)
  • Over 4,100 employees
  • Represented in 120 countries

Kellner & Kunz Implements the Zero-Defect Solution

RFID-tagged KLT boxes are captured by RFID gates. Empty and filled containers are automatically distinguished from one another.

RFID-tagged KLT boxes are captured by RFID gates.

Empty RECA RFID KLT boxes are recognized as such and clearly read by the Kathrein RFID gates in only one direction of travel.

RFID Gates

Two production sites now benefit from this replenishment system that has more than 15,000 boxes. The Kathrein partner solved the challenge of the RFID reading processes in the drive-through area by deploying two Kathrein antennas on both sides.

When the tugger train driver drives through the RFID gate with the empty boxes at a speed of 10-20 km/h, an average of 200 boxes are reliably detected. The direction of travel is also recognized. In addition, the direction of travel is detected. This is important in order to clearly distinguish empty from filled boxes while they are being transported.


  • UHF RFID Wide-Range Antenna
  • Reading range up to 18 Meters
  • Measurements: 557 x 270 x 58.5 mm
  • RFID single and bulk reading possible
  • Protection Class IP67
  • Robust and compact design
  • Suitable for outdoor applications

Integration Costs Reduced by Using Kathrein CrossTalk

RFID Integration

Kathrein´s software CrossTalk platform offers huge advantages for both Rosenbauer and Kellner & Kunz: A swift integration of RFID hardware into existing systems. Normally, RFID-generated data cannot be transferred 1:1 to other systems, like the ERP, for example. They must first be converted to standard formats.

CrossTalk takes over this task quickly and cost-effectively by using standardized preconfigurations for setting up the readers, the reading process, the transfer to other data formats, and interfaces to further systems.


The automated replenishment through the deployment of Kathrein RFID antennas, readers and CrossTalk has proven persuasive for Manuel Schwarzbauer, Head of Logistics Plant 1 at Rosenbauer:

“Today, we no longer have unwanted production breaks due to missing C-parts. The boxes deliver reliably, fully, and just-in-time. The zero-defect solution has also given us a read accuracy of near 99 %.”

Advantages at a Glance

  • Disruption-free production
  • Automated and secure parts replenishment
  • Zero-defect solution
  • Directional recognition of the transport routes of empty and filled boxes
  • Delivery commitments to end customers met
  • Simple solution integration into existing systems
Empty KLT boxes are collected in the so-called I-Box.
Integration Costs Reduced by Using Kathrein CrossTalk
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