CV's day out with ZF

ZF high­lighted its tech­no­log­i­cal prow­ess in CVs by demon­strat­ing next gen­er­a­tion trans­mis­sions and pro­to­types.

Commercial Vehicle - - WHAT'S INSIDE - Story by: Ashish Bha­tia

ZF high­lighted its tech­no­log­i­cal prow­ess in CVs by demon­strat­ing next gen­er­a­tion trans­mis­sions and pro­to­types.

The weather gods smiled upon all those who made it to the Alden­hoven test track, 19 kms from the Ger­man city of Aachen, on a day in June. It was CV’s day out with ZF Friedrichshafen AG. The Ger­man sup­plier ar­ranged for jour­nal­ists from the world over to travel to Alden­hoven and sam­ple the lat­est tech­nol­ogy it has had to of­fer in CVs. It lined up an in­ter­est­ing ar­ray of CVs, from a Dodge Ram pick-up to a gi­ant Lieb­herr LTM 1300 mo­bile crane! On them were ZF’s trans­mis­sion fam­ily. And, as if that was not enough, the good folks at ZF put out an elec­tric bus with AVE 130 elec­tric por­tal axles. They also show­cased in­tel­li­gent sys­tems on an in­no­va­tion truck and an in­no­va­tion trac­tor. Peter Lake, Mem­ber of Board, ZF Friedrichshafen AG, em­pha­sised upon two cul­tur­ally di­verse en­ti­ties (ZF and TRW) to work to­wards a com­mon goal. He drew at­ten­tion to the ad­di­tion of an all-new ac­tive and pas­sive safety tech­nol­ogy divi­sion to his com­pany’s or­gan­i­sa­tional struc­ture. ZF’s ac­qui­si­tion of TRW as­sumes im­por­tance in the wake of changes ex­pected in the world of mo­bil­ity by 2025, in the area of safety, ef­fi­ciency, net­work­ing, au­to­ma­tion and elec­tri­fi­ca­tion. Point­ing to­wards the cross flow of tech­nol­ogy be­tween CVs and pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cles, Lake averred, “Tech­nol­ogy from pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cles is fast mak­ing its way into com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles.”

Trans­mi­sion tech

Hav­ing turned the Range Rover

Evoque into an ex­cit­ing SUV by fit­ting it with a com­pact, high-tech nine-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, ZF, at Alden­hoven put out an Iveco Stralis XP truck with its Traxon 12-speed au­to­mated trans­mis­sion. Iveco was the first CV man­u­fac­turer to ex­press its in­ter­est in the Traxon in 2014. Re­plac­ing the AS Tronic trans­mis­sion, Traxon is highly mod­u­lar. On the Stralis it came with a twin-clutch, and made for easy driv­ing and good con­trol. Ca­pa­ble of net­work­ing with other ve­hi­cles through PreVi­sion GPS, the trans­mis­sion is a mod­ern piece of en­gi­neer­ing.On the Stralis it worked smoothly and en­sured ef­fi­cient shift­ing. While the creep­ing mode en­sured that the truck be­gan rolling the mo­ment the brake pedal was re­leased, the trans­mis­sion, rout­ing 480 hp of power pro­duced by the 11-litre en­gine, had the 40,000-tonne truck gather speed and dis­play good agility. Ra­tios swapped smoothly through­out the drive and the lockup clutch en­sured there was no slip­page. Claimed to help de­liver high fuel ef­fi­ciency, the trans­mis­sion, dur­ing de­cel­er­a­tion saw the in­te­grated hy­draulic in­tarder en­gage. The in­tarder saves brak­ing ef­fort of the ser­vice brakes.

Traxon Torque trans­mis­sion on the six-axle Lieb­herr LTM 1300-6.2 72-tonne mo­bile crane (with a longer 78 m boom) high­lighted its abil­ity to scale-up. It also high­lighted ap­pli­ca­tion flex­i­bil­ity, and came fit­ted with a torque con­verter in­stead of a sin­gle plate or du­alplate clutch like on the Stralis XP. Mated to a 620 hp, 16.2-litre (eight-cylin­der) Lieb­herr en­gine, the Traxon Torque scales up the 3000 Nm peak torque gen­er­ated by the en­gine to 4800 Nm, adding to the crane’s abil­i­ties. If the num­ber of but­tons on the in­stru­ment panel (to se­lect five dif­fer­ent steer­ing pro­grams) and the Blue­tooth Ter­mi­nal (a multi-func­tional con­trol and dis­play unit that al­lows re­mote con­trol of crane func­tions) were a tad in­tim­i­dat­ing, the

trans­mis­sion in­spired con­fi­dence. Find­ing use with MAN, Iveco, Ford Trucks and Fo­ton, Traxon trans­mis­sion, claimed sources, of­fers class lead­ing power-toweight ra­tio with the soft­ware plat­form com­bin­ing elec­tron­ics with pre­dic­tive shift strat­egy and PreVi­sion GPS. Avail­able as a stan­dard com­po­nent in Ford trucks with Euro-6 driv­e­line, the or­der mark’s ZF’s first vol­ume pro­duc­tion move out­side of Europe. Claimed to have a trans­mis­sion ra­tio spread of up to 99.7 per cent, Traxon is en­abling ZF to reach out to new mar­kets. Of­fer­ing an op­tion of four re­verse gear ra­tios for high­way con­struc­tion ve­hi­cles, Traxon is also ca­pa­ble of find­ing ap­pli­ca­tion in hy­brid CVs.

Ap­plied on the DAF In­no­va­tion truck, Traxon hy­brid trans­mis­sion has made it pos­si­ble to cou­ple a 120kW (1000 Nm torque) elec­tric mo­tor to the driv­e­line. Suit­able for driv­e­line elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of long dis­tance trucks, the trans­mis­sion works such that there is a sep­a­rat­ing clutch in the bell hous­ing and en­ables hy­brid func­tion­al­i­ties like re­cu­per­a­tion, start-stop and elec­tric-drive (as a stand alone source of propul­sion or as a com­pli­men­tary source that boosts over­all per­for­mance). In the gen­er­a­tor mode, the hy­brid mod­ule can be in­te­grated into the power sup­ply of units like those that are used in re­frig­er­ated trans­port. Claimed to be a value ad­di­tion, Traxon hy­brid trans­mis­sion is claimed to re­duce fuel con­sump­tion and emis­sions in long-dis­tance trucks to the tune of five per cent. “Due to the con­sid­er­ably higher mileage and fuel con­sump­tion of long-dis­tance driv­ing, hy­brid tech­nol­ogy makes an eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly so­lu­tion that pays for it­self fairly quickly,” opined Fredrik Staedtler, Head, ZF Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cle Tech­nol­ogy Divi­sion. “Six deci­bels less noisy than the AS Tronic, the Traxon trans­mis­sion is ca­pa­ble of a 35 per cent per­for­mance im­prove­ment over its pre­de­ces­sor,” he added.

Pow­er­line and Eco­l­ife

The eight-speed au­to­matic Pow­er­line trans­mis­sion that the Ger­man sup­plier show­cased on a big Dodge Ram 3500 pick-up fit­ted with a 360 hp, 5.9-litre Cum­mins diesel en­gine made for an in­ter­est­ing drive. Draw­ing from pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cle trans­mis­sion tech of ZF, the Pow­er­line trans­mis­sion is scal­able and fu­ture proof. Its de­vel­op­ment is sup­ported by a thought, that the use of man­ual trans­mis­sion will nose dive. Claimed Win­fried Grundler, Head, Truck & Van Driv­e­line Tech­nol­ogy Busi­ness Unit, ZF Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cle Tech­nol­ogy Divi­sion, “The ra­tio of man­ual trans­mis­sions will nose dive glob­ally from 80 per cent to be­low 50 per cent.” A light weight con­struc­tion that weighs 150 kg, the eight-speed unit had the Ram per­form ad­mirably. It ac­cel­er­ated well, and the box did a good job of swap­ping the cogs, both up and down.

Also aimed at gas en­gines, the Pow­er­line trans­mis­sion is de­signed for tasks that in­volve sup­ple­men­tary power take­offs as well. Its eight gears are claimed to be best suited to ad­dress re­quire­ments like weight sav­ing, and per­for­mance and ef­fi­ciency en­hance­ment.

ZF demon­strated the abil­i­ties of the six-speed Eco­l­ife au­to­matic trans­mis­sion by putting out two city buses, a VDL Citea and an Irizar. Promis­ing lower fuel con­sump­tion, low noise, com­fort and per­for­mance, the trans­mis­sion, fit­ted with start­stop func­tion, aids five to 10 per cent fuel sav­ings ac­cord­ing to An­dreas Moser, Head, Axle & Trans­mis­sion Sys­tems for Buses & Coaches, ZF. The start-stop func­tion, said Moser, au­to­mat­i­cally shuts-off the en­gine when the bus comes to a stand­still, lead­ing to zero fuel-con­sump­tion. The start­stop func­tion will be avail­able for en­gine torques in city buses in the 1,000 to 1,600 Nm torque range. In­te­grated into the Eco­l­ife trans­mis­sion is a re­tarder.

Ecotronic trans­mis­sion

Based on the nine-speed man­ual Eco­mid trans­mis­sion, the Ecotronic trans­mis­sion is aimed at medium-duty trucks. It is claimed to han­dle torque in the range of 900 and 1500 Nm. A can­di­date for emerg­ing mar­kets like In­dia, the trans­mis­sion, a re­sult of sys­tem­atic de­signto-mar­ket ap­proach, has an elec­tronic con­trol unit based on the same soft­ware plat­form as the Traxon trans­mis­sion. An au­to­mated man­ual trans­mis­sion, Ecotronic comes with drive mode ar­chi­tec­ture (Eco mode and Power mode). As per the na­ture of ap­pli­ca­tion, the Ecotronic trans­mis­sion sup­ports op­tional add-on func­tions, which en­hance its value and re­duce the over­all life­cy­cle costs. On a Ka­maz 65115, painted in a shade of bright or­ange, the Eco­l­ife trans­mis­sion made for any easy drive. If the steer­ing called for an amount of ef­fort to op­er­ate, the trans­mis­sion made for smooth progress, shift­ing gears at the right time and at the right revs. The trans­mis­sion com­ple­mented the power char­ac­ter­is­tics of the 260 hp 10.85-litre en­gine.

Elec­tric por­tal axle

Re­flect­ing upon the fu­ture, the two rear elec­tric por­tal ZF axles (AVE 130) of the 18 m Sileo vestibule bus (run­ning in Turkey and Ger­many) elim­i­nate the need to shift gears. The axles op­er­ate via a sin­gle plan­e­tary gear, and have four 120kW elec­tric mo­tors at ei­ther end. Power comes from two 300kWh Lithium-ion phos­phate bat­ter­ies. It takes five hours to charge them us­ing a mo­bile charger of 64kW. Mak­ing up the cen­tral drive is an elec­tric mo­tor cou­pled to a re­duc­tion gear. Claimed to of­fer a range of 300 km on a sin­gle charge, the mo­tor re­volves at 2500 rpm at the out­put stage. De­signed for se­rial drive hy­brids, the por­tal axle elec­tric drive is ca­pa­ble of find­ing use in other elec­tric drive de­signs. An ar­range­ment can be at­tained where the IC en­gine gen­er­ates elec­tric­ity rather than pro­pel the bus. The fact that the mid­dle axle pulls the bus in­stead of the rear axle push­ing makes the Sileo stand out.

‘SafeRange’ truck

At­tract­ing the most at­ten­tion, the ‘SafeRange’ ma­noeu­vre­ing truck that ZF show­cased at Alden­hoven de­ploys sen­sors, in­tel­li­gent elec­tron­ics and mecha­tronic sys­tems. Es­tab­lish­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the de­pot,

the truck self ma­noeu­vres to the load­ing dock with pre­ci­sion. Born as a con­cept in 2014 ac­cord­ing to Win­fried Gründler, head of Truck and Van Drive line Tech­nol­ogy, Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cle Tech­nol­ogy Divi­sion, ZF, the de­vel­op­ment en­ables a long and heavy-duty truck to be eas­ily ma­noeu­vred with the help of a ‘tablet’. Us­ing pro­pri­etary hard­ware and com­mer­cially avail­able sys­tems, ZF, with the use of al­go­rithms has the sys­tem, through a camera fit­ted on the wind­shield ac­cu­rately, an­a­lyse images. The sys­tem sends sig­nals to the ZF TRW ac­tive elec­tric power steer­ing ReAX and Traxon hy­brid auto trans­mis­sion to steer the truck up to the load­ing dock. Use of elec­tric­ity en­sures zero emis­sions. The ma­noeu­vre is con­trolled by the driver from in­side the cabin by us­ing a ‘tablet’.

In­tel­li­gent off-high­way so­lu­tions

ZF has in­te­grated in­tel­li­gent sys­tem into a trac­tor. Six cam­eras mounted on the driver’s cab and the hood act as the ve­hi­cle’s sen­sory or­gans. A com­puter analy­ses the images from the camera and gen­er­ates a sur­round-view im­age of the trac­tor’s spa­tial en­vi­ron­ment. The driver can view this im­age on a tablet from var­i­ous per­spec­tives, in­clud­ing a bird’s-eye view. He can also see an over­view of the trac­tor’s move­ments. In case the ra­dio con­tact be­tween the ‘tablet’ (the driver is op­er­at­ing) and the ma­chine breaks, the trac­tor stops. The max­ium for­ward re­mote ma­noeu­vring speed is four-km per hour; max­i­mum re­verse speed is two-km per hour. Laced with a pedes­trian de­tec­tion func­tion, the driv­e­train elec­tri­fi­ca­tion is by ZF TERRA+ gen­er­a­tor mod­ule. The all-wheel-drive func­tion and the elec­tri­cal boost func­tion from the sin­gle-wheel drive on the trailer in­ter­act and com­ple­ment each other de­liv­er­ing op­ti­mum trac­tion man­age­ment. An elec­tric steer­ing and ZF’s Ter­ra­matic trans­mis­sion add to the equa­tion. The trac­tor and trailer as a com­bi­na­tion can tackle muddy ter­rain as well as up­hill gra­di­ents of up to 30 per cent.

Eva­sive Ma­noeu­vre As­sist

Per­haps the most thrilling of all the demon­stra­tions at Alden­hoven was the Eva­sive Ma­noeu­vre As­sist (EMA). It in­volved a truck trav­el­ling at 80 kmph, evad­ing ob­struc­tions in its path. While the truck braked to a com­plete halt in front of an ob­sta­cle, the driver did not even bother to op­er­ate the wheel or the brake! Re­flect­ing upon au­ton­o­mous CV tech, the EMA de­tects, warns and ini­ti­ates alert mode for ac­tive brak­ing and steer­ing. De­vel­oped in co-oper­a­tion with Wabco, the tech­nol­ogy en­ables au­to­matic steer­ing of trac­tor-trail­ers around ob­struc­tions and aids in preven­tion of rear-end col­li­sion.

Euro­pean Union reg­u­la­tions, claimed ZF sources, re­quire newly reg­is­tered trucks to be fit­ted with Elec­tronic Sta­bil­ity Con­trol (ESC), Ad­vanced Emer­gency Brak­ing Sys­tems (AEBS) and Lane De­par­ture Warn­ing sys­tems (LDW). This prompted the com­pany to in­cor­po­rate the next level of ac­tive safety sys­tems into the In­no­va­tion Truck.

EMA along with High­way Driv­ing As­sist (HDA) utilises ad­vanced sen­sors that can ‘see’, ‘think’ and ‘act’ in the nick of time. Men­tioned Mitja Schulz, Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent & Gen­eral Man­ager Com­mer­cial Steer­ing Sys­tems, ZF TRW, “Our in­no­va­tive func­tion en­sures that a loaded semi-trailer si­mul­ta­ne­ously evades, brakes and sta­bilises au­to­mat­i­cally. This also avoids rear-end col­li­sions.” De­signed to over­come the short­com­ings of sud­den man­ual avoid­ance ma­noeu­vres ac­cord­ing to Schulz, the driver can over­ride EMA at any time dur­ing the au­ton­o­mous eva­sive ma­noeu­vre by sim­ply tak­ing con­trol of the steer­ing wheel, brakes and the throt­tle. “We can have the HDA ready for vol­ume pro­duc­tion in ap­prox­i­mately two years. Driv­ers, pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists will ben­e­fit from these safety im­prove­ments. It will by then be ab­so­lutely ready to meet all re­quire­ments needed for truck pla­toon­ing,” averred Schulz. Lat­eral EMA con­tin­ues to be a chal­lenge, and would mean equip­ping the truck with a 360-de­gree field of view. Con­sid­er­ing the range of tech­nolo­gies ZF has been in­tro­duc­ing as well as devel­op­ing, it is quite clear, that the fu­ture is not just look­ing bright, it is also look­ing safe.

Re­plac­ing AS Tronic, Traxon trans­mis­sion is mod­u­lar, and on the Iveco Stralis made for smooth shift­ing. Traxon Torque high­lights scal­a­bil­ity and flex­i­bil­ity; em­ploys a torque con­verter.

Pow­er­line trans­mis­sion is an 8-speed auto trans­mis­sion that saves weight and of­fers good per­for­mance and ef­fi­ciency.

Traxon hy­brid trans­mis­sion sup­ports driv­e­line elec­tri­fi­ca­tion.

Eco­l­ife trans­mis­sion pro­vides lower fuel con­ump­tion, and is about low noise, com­fort and per­for­mance.

Ecotronic trans­mis­sion is aimed at medium-duty trucks, and is an au­to­mated trans­mis­sion.

ZF’s ‘SafeRange’ truck is fit­ted with ReAX ac­tive elec­tric power steer­ing.

AVE 130 elec­tric por­tal axle on the Sileo city bus made for suc­cess­ful elec­tric propul­sion.

ZF’s In­no­va­tion trac­tor is quite in­tel­li­gent.

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