Exclusive: A breath of fresh air with BAUER


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IFSJ takes a look at the solutions from BAUER COMPRESSORS that keep firefighters’ air supply fresh

Necessity is the mother of invention, but sometimes invention can outgrow necessity. With the international outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, many companies rushed to create virtual solutions to overcome transportation restrictions, limitations on in-person contact, and supply chain issues.

Soon, fire chiefs were besieged with virtual reality (VR) options for training new recruits, sometimes confusing new technology for public safety, and more. For some in the industry, these new technologies could be overwhelming and rather than taking their inspiration from a preexisting demand, could be considered to fill a need where it did not exist.

With over 75 years of experience in manufacturing breathing air compressor systems, BAUER COMPRESSORS is not an amateur in the world of innovation. In fact, they were the force behind numerous technological introductions. “I’ve been in the breathing air industry for over 40 years, so I’m used to lots of old technology,” says Bill Dickson, the Vice President of Breathing Air Sales for BAUER COMPRESSORS.

“Well, times have changed, methods have changed, and at the end of the day what we’re trying to do is create solutions for the person at the end of the nozzle…to minimise their exposure to risk, if you will.”

One thing that sets BAUER apart is not only their leadership in producing new technology, but also their historic knowledge and investment in creating only what is necessary, with a reputation for responding and adapting to, the desires and feedback of firefighters.

BAUER is a company that is a leader in the industry after so many decades, which Dickson says is because it works consistently to regularly transform the industry for the better. BAUER continues to evolve by responding to new challenges, fueled by a desire to create the most dependable products in the industry.


The pandemic brought a new awareness of the hazards of potential viruses, even in breathing air. Although breathing air goes through a rigorous purification process, this practice merely strips away the various unwanted gases and particulate matter and is not designed to target and inactivate viruses.

BAUER COMPRESSORS responded to this need with the first COVID-19 filtration system for breathing air compressors during the pandemic. The BAUER B-VIRUS FREE filtration system deactivates up to 99.9% of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the air intake section of the breathing air compressor using a specially designed UVC light source to destroy pathogens before the intake air section of the compressor, free of chemicals and ozone.

The UVC wavelength is absorbed into the pathogens’ DNA, where the photons destroy the bonds between the DNA strands of the virus, effectively preventing the virus from reproducing.


“When the firefighter is getting ready to fill the SCBA, they just scan it. And when they are finished at the end of the day, they use their Wi-Fi enabled handheld device to upload it to the BAUER cloud, giving them complete access to everything,” Dickson explains.

BAUER CONNECT is one remote option: an app and internet[1]based IoT solution that allows the user to remotely manage their entire breathing air compressor, purification, and SCBA filling system. The network can be accessed through any wireless mobile device or computer.

The BAUER CONNECT 2.0 update includes a new mobile “SCADA View” dashboard with a real-time display of the compressor system, improved historical reports functionality, a customer administrator function to manage users and access, and more. BAUER CONNECT 2.0 includes push notifications for instant alerts, as well as a remote HMI function for factory-trained personnel to control the system remotely for servicing upon request.


BAUER’s RFIDPro data logging system gives a similar control. SCBA cylinders are scanned through the wireless handheld BAUER RFIDPro reader, which guides the user through the proper fill process. This allows fire departments to manage every aspect of their SCBA cylinders in real-time, including cylinder expirations, hydrotesting, and repairs, while eliminating the workload associated with manually logging SCBA fills and inspections.

Dickson says: “We have products that will enable the end user to electronically monitor and/or control the compressor system remotely. So if we have an unmanned volunteer fire department station, the fire chief can manage their compressor without being in front of the unit.”

BAUER ensures that each and every fire department’s data is completely secure, with cloud storage which is unique to each user, for total data integrity and compliance with data retention requirements. SSL data communication encryption between the RFIDPro server and user, along with SHA-256 password encryption with optional two-factor password authentication, provides the latest in state-of-the art network security.

The BAUER RFIDPro system keeps track of when the SCBA was put into service; when and where it was last filled; what pressure it was filled to; and more. The system also ensures that customers won’t be caught off guard, since RFIDPro alerts the user when the SCBA cylinder needs to be hydrotested, as well as when it has reached its expiration date. This allows the fire department to seamlessly log every SCBA fill event for convenience and accuracy, while maintaining compliance with NFPA 1989 regulations.

UNICUS 4i updates

The UNICUS 4i is one of the central solutions that BAUER has created for the fire service: an all-in-one compressor and filling station, controlled by a centrally located touchpad. The password-protected 15-inch HMI is around the same size as a laptop or computer screen, and can control the entire filling process – including the on-board air storage system, SCBA filling rate, and pressure.

“The compressors’ [HMI] control system is connected to the internet, when so equipped. So [the individual] can physically log into the compressor remotely to see what’s going on with [it]…maintenance, troubleshooting, diagnosing, things such as that nature,” Dickson tells.

In response to firefighters’ safety concerns with the compressor systems of the past, Dickson notes that the BAUER containment SCBA fill station is designed, proof[1]tested, and built in accordance with the latest edition of NFPA 1901, maximising firefighter safety and security during the SCBA fill process.

“We designed the SCBA containment fill stations to totally contain the fragments of a ruptured 5500 PSIG SCBA,” says Dickson. The fill station, when ordered with SCBA RFID data logging, has antennas integrated into the SCBA holders, such that during the fill process, data on the pressure and other metrics are uploaded automatically to the HMI and then to a cloud-based database specifically for the fire department.

The system also comes standard with BAUER’s unique auto-cascade function capable of handling up to 7000 PSIG (482 bar) service, precisely controllable by firefighters on the HMI touchscreen. The system will automatically direct air to-and-from the storage system, and compressor, without having to manually manipulate and monitor panel-mounted valves and pressure gauges. HMI keypad actuation will automatically send air from the onboard storage system down to the SCBA cylinders being filled by the UNICUS 4i.

In the event of a total power failure, the systems all come with a manual bypass system, ensuring that the fire department is still in service and able to utilise the stored air during electric outages.

75 years of support

Fire departments across Europe have their own specific regulations and codes. BAUER has responded to this diversity with a series of solutions adapted to meet a variety of needs, utilising the latest technological advancements. “We build to the customer’s requirements…because everybody’s requirements are different,” says Dickson.

BAUER’s vertically integrated approach to manufacturing allows for independence and control, while strengthening the support they can offer each and every fire department. With a 24/7 customer service line, ISO 9001 certified facilities, and a distribution network spread internationally, BAUER is a company that works to ensure that invention will not outpace support.

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