The ZF Group’s “Vision Zero” is now visibly taking shape within its Aftermarket Division. By following this guiding principle, the leading supplier for driveline, chassis and safety technology aims to create a world with zero emissions and zero accidents. ZF Aftermarket actively shapes the mobility of the future and sets new standards for a sustainable automotive aftermarket with its product and service portfolio.
The vehicle market is currently undergoing radical change. ZF estimates that by 2030, around one third of all automobiles produced worldwide will be purely electric or hybrid electric vehicles. ZF Aftermarket ensured it was prepared for this at an early stage. With its innovative products and individual service concepts, it has established a successful position as an architect and pacemaker for tomorrow’s mobility.
World innovation “Electric Blue”
ZF Aftermarket presents a new generation of TRW brake pads developed specifically for electric vehicles under the name Electric Blue. Representing ZF Aftermarket’s highly innovative capacity, these significantly reduce interior noise as well as brake dust. The brake pads will be available for the 15 most popular electric vehicles in September 2018 and by the end of the year, 97 percent of the European e-car market will be covered.
Excellent transfer of competencies
With its impressive service portfolio, ZF Aftermarket proves that environmental sustainability, cost-effectiveness and efficiency can be optimally combined now for the future. Helmut Ernst, head of ZF Aftermarket, explains: “Our popular High Voltage training sessions allow customers and partners to acquire the key skills and qualifications they need to master the complexities of future technology at an early stage.” ZF Aftermarket’s modular and interactive blended learning concept has been certified by a number of international public organizations and ensures optimal learning success with significantly reduced attendance time, and therefore lower costs.
An internal “train-the-trainer” program ensures that global workshops can acquire the necessary know-how to handle high-voltage technology. In line with demand, ZF Aftermarket has already trained High Voltage trainers in Germany, Great Britain, China and other Asian countries. Further trainers will qualify in the coming year and support workshop partners in Southern and Western Europe and North America.
Strategic cooperations secure the lead
Helping to shape the transition phase while the market reaches full penetration of electric vehicles will be a significant step for ZF. In support of this, the business recently announced a partnership with the Munich-based innovative engineering company in-tech GmbH. In essence the cooperation project “e-troFit” is about converting buses and commercial vehicles from conventional to electrical drivelines.
Here, ZF Aftermarket acts as the systems supplier. With the AxTrax AVE low-floor portal axle for city buses and the CeTrax electric central drive, ZF Aftermarket provides the vehicle components and necessary knowhow for converting and servicing. ZF’s partner in-tech is responsible for configuring the control technology. Helmut Ernst describes this conversion opportunity as a ‘bridge technology’ until sufficient buses and commercial vehicles with electric drives are on the market. “With etroFit, bus operators can convert their buses from conventional to emission-free driving within just four weeks. For a bus with an average life span of ten years, the savings potential for fuel alone can reach up to EUR 100,000.” A convincing argument in times of economic uncertainty.
Remanufacturing – both sustainable and economic
Another area of sustainable economizing in which ZF Aftermarket actively pursues its set course is remanufacturing. For Helmut Ernst, remanufacturing used vehicle parts is not just an “ecological necessity” but also a “sign of economic reason”. Today, ZF Aftermarket operates 15 global remanufacturing facilities producing products ranging from steering systems for passenger cars to construction machinery transmissions. One of these locations is the remanufacturing plant in Frýdlant in the Czech Republic. Here, almost 400 employees remanufacture mechanical and hydraulic parts, and increasingly more mechatronic and electronic components. The advantages of remanufacturing are clear: Compared to newly manufactured products, remanufacturing requires between 50 and 90 percent less raw materials. At the same time, it saves around 90 percent of energy. In addition, replacing entire units can be more efficient than repairing individual parts within the component. This leads to significantly shorter vehicle downtime, and is more cost-efficient leading to higher customer satisfaction.
Many routes, one goal: sustainable mobility
The mobility of tomorrow has to be sustainable. Conserving resources, ensuring a safe and comfortable drive whilst at the same time meeting individual mobility needs lead the list of criteria along which the concepts of tomorrow need to be oriented. ZF Aftermarket meets these challenges head on and already offers customers and partners products and services that put them in prime position. “Our agenda for the future of the aftermarket is characterized by our principle of harmonizing the environment and technology,” promises Helmut Ernst. “We will use our expertise and wealth of ideas to accompany our customers on their way to sustainable mobility. In doing so, we optimally combine the Group’s ‘Vision Zero’ with the requirements of a sustainable automotive aftermarket.”