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ZF's cPOWER continuously variable transmission for construction machines offers a fuel savings of up to 25%.

Electrification and digitization offer opportunities in off-highway

The Off-Highway Systems Business Unit of ZF has significantly increased its range of products in recent years with a focus on new technologies and applications. In particular, we see a great deal of opportunities in electrification and digitization in existing and new markets.

With the strategic acquisition of TRW, ZF has significantly supplemented its capabilities, particularly as a systems supplier for passenger car and commercial vehicle technology. As a company, ZF is networking mechanical components with control units and sensors to help shape the megatrends of safety, efficiency and autonomous driving even more effectively and is positioned to offer Intelligent Mechanical Systems across all its divisions, including our Industrial Technology Division.

Today, we see many advantages and possibilities of knowledge transfer across divisions as almost all technologies from the automotive sector also can be used in trucks, buses and off-highway vehicles.

Our division is currently exploring advanced technology in autonomous and efficient driving as well as safety. Additionally, existing technologies from the automotive industry, such as sensors, control units, cloud computing and secure data transfer will find application in the off-highway vehicle market. For example, we are investigating automated connections for attachments or trailers as well as employing automated driving in the off-highway sector.

In the next few years, this industry will benefit from technological development and, like the passenger car, will learn to sense, think and act. Off-highway trusts in cloud drive solutions! Our strategy is to combine the existing expertise from the automobile and off-highway sectors with new technologies to further support our customers. The benefits and long-term security these technology solutions will produce creates great opportunity for ZF in the industrial sector.

Further supporting the Industry Technology Division, the recent ZF TRW acquisition has created a larger global footprint in terms of worldwide distribution. As a result, we are closer and more aligned with the customer to quickly and effectively deliver collaborative solutions.

Throughout the world ZF is known as a leading manufacturer of mechanical products such as axles and transmissions. In the future, we will be concentrating on connecting the mechanical dimension to digitization and electrification regardless of the type of vehicle—it will be able to sense, think and act. That is the basis for intelligent mechanical solutions—for innovations today, tomorrow and in the future.

Dr. Klaus Geißdörfer, Executive Vice President, Industrial Technology Division, ZF Friedrichshafen AG, wrote this article for Off-Highway Engineering as part of the annual Executive Viewpoints series appearing in the June 2016 issue.

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