ZF develops modular system for special vehicles

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 22 Jun 2022


At Interschutz 2022, ZF will be showcasing for the first time a new modular drive system for special vehicles that guarantees manufacturers maximum flexibility and reliability for extreme use cases.

Comprising an automatic transmission, transfer case and electric motor, the modular concept is perfectly equipped for heavy use on rough terrain, airports, construction sites and more. With this, ZF offers its customers an optimal drive solution from a single source – which saves time during the development and approval of new vehicle models.

Special vehicles must be perfectly tailored to certain applications – for example, fire protection or at construction sites. Usually, the driveline plays the most critical part for this goal. Its components must work well together if fire trucks or crew carriers are to reach the location where they are deployed quickly and safely. This perfect teamwork is now easier than before – with the modular drive system that ZF is presenting to the public for the first time at this year's Interschutz in Hanover.

"With our new drive concept, we skillfully combine the hardware and software expertise that our Group has in many different business units," says Bernd Kownatzki, Head of Sales & Technical Acquisition for Special Vehicle Drive Systems at ZF. "This enables our customers to get a powerful and robust drive solution from a single source, even in extreme use cases."

Ready for use with many functions
Vehicle manufacturers can adapt the configuration of the modular drive system for the respective use case. The choice is between the new EcoLife Offroad 2 automatic 7-speed transmission or the TraXon transmission platform in combination with the TC27 transfer case including drive management ADM2. Should the choice be TraXon, the driveline will bridge tractive force interruptions when shifting gears. In addition, more torque is generated, which is particularly advantageous in off-road applications. EcoLife Offroad 2, on the other hand, has a direct interface for the transfer case, which saves valuable installation space.

The system also comprises up to two units of the CeTrax electric central drive, including inverters and power electronics. This enables vehicles to drive various routes, shunting maneuvers or transfer trips in the depot purely electrically, or to use hybrid mode for medium-length routes. Furthermore, CeTrax can now support the combustion engine with an additional power boost – which saves valuable seconds during deployment. The electric motor also enables mounted units and equipment – such as ladders, pumps or dump bodies – to be operated emission-free at the local level. This is particularly beneficial for vehicles on urban construction sites where noise or emission regulations must be observed.

Further advantages: CeTrax acts as a retarder or recuperator, which reduces brake wear and thus maintenance costs. Manufacturers can also electrify existing model platforms.

With the modular approach, ZF guarantees its customers maximum flexibility with proven quality: All individual components are technically mature, with products that have already established themselves with many manufacturers in the special and commercial vehicle segments. This facilitates both the development and the approval of new models as relevant coordination loops can be shortened. "Our new modular drive system supports manufacturers from the development phase to practical application and beyond," says Kownatzki.

Tags: ZF

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