ZF adds predictive maintenance function to TraXon transmission

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 16 Jul 2018


ZF has announced that it has added a new digital solution to its commercial vehicle portfolio. The company’s TraXon modular transmission system, which is used by truck manufacturers worldwide, will be equipped with an optional predictive maintenance function starting 2019.

This will offer fleet operators the capability to monitor the condition of critical individual components such as transmission oil or clutch disks via the Cloud.

The company states this will help in maintenance of the vehicle, which now can be planned proactively, and in turn could shorten vehicle downtimes and avoid stranded vehicles. This could also help in reducing costs and extend the transmission's service life at the same time.

With the new predictive maintenance function, ZF is preparing its successful modular transmission TraXon for the digital future in the commercial vehicle industry. To accomplish this, ZF uses transmission modules that are already pre-installed in the vehicle and transfer information about the transmission's condition to the vehicle OEM's Cloud. The OEM data platform is also connected to the ZF Cloud. The latter has the ability to take the primary data it has received and compile reports on the condition of the transmission components. These can then be read by the OEM or fleet operator and used to proactively plan maintenance. 

"With our new predictive maintenance function, we are expanding our reliable TraXon transmission system with an eye toward networking. Vehicle manufacturers and fleet operators gain real added value, as they can count on both our deep transmission expertise as well as our digital competence when it comes to the diagnostic reports. This further demonstrates that ZF lives up to its aspiration of being a comprehensive supplier of intelligent mechanical systems," said Winfried Grundler, head of truck and van driveline technology, ZF Commercial Vehicle Technology Division.

With its predictive maintenance strategy, the company focuses on critical individual and wearing components such as transmission oil or clutch disks. It states this allows the constant ability to evaluate data enabling relevant components to be replaced or repaired in good time, which helps avoid expensive breakdowns.

The transmission's service life can be extended and standstills and downtime can be reduced. In addition, fleet operators can do without complex contingency plans to maintain the supply chain in the event of a breakdown. As a result, the total cost of ownership can be significantly reduced.

Group synergies pave the way to the future
The company states during the development of the new TraXon function, ZF used experience gained in its Industrial Technology Division, where the company already offers predictive maintenance for wind turbine gearboxes. The company also has an eye to the future of road transportation: If autonomous driving prevails in the commercial vehicle industry in the long run, predictive maintenance will be important to enable smooth logistic processes on long routes.