German technology company ZF expands its R&D capacities in Friedrichshafen

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMarch 4, 2019

ZF Friedrichshafen AG has opened the doors of its new testing centre for drive technologies. This centre provides extended capacities for testing electric, hybrid, and combustion engine drives. The company also announced its future plans for the R&D Centre site, with the construction of a new office building next to the testing centre, designed to create additional working space for the developers who work there.

“The new testing centre for drive technologies is the fitness centre for mobility of the future. This is where all of ZF‘s vehicle drives are technologically fine-tuned to get them in peak condition,” announced ZF Friedrichshafen AG chief executive officer Wolf-Henning Scheider.

ZF has designed the testing centre to be a highly flexible building capable of testing electric, hybrid and combustion engine drives. Battery simulators are used to supply the necessary power to electric and hybrid drives. In this way, the entire power supply for a vehicle can be simulated in the test boxes – whatever the power source.

“The building reflects ZF‘s candid R&D policy to engage with new technologies in order to develop innovative solutions which provide people with safe and comfortable mobility, affordable for everyone,” said Scheider.

In Friedrichshafen, ZF operates test equipment for various requirements and products. This equipment includes the existing transmission test benches in the R&D Centre as well as a test bench for the laser-based LIDAR technology, an integral component of the sensor set for automated driving functions.

“The testing centre specialises in the endurance testing of drive technologies,” said Dr Dirk Walliser, head of corporate research and development at ZF. “Here we can simulate the entire life cycle of a vehicle drive – whether it‘s an electric or hybrid drive or a drive with combustion engine – in just three months.”

Walliser also mentioned the test field for automated driving which was launched by ZF together with the city of Friedrichshafen and the institute of training, knowledge and technology transfer (IWT) of Ravensburg University of Cooperative Education.

“This test field enables our developers to test automated and autonomous functions virtually at their desks,” commented Walliser. “This is an invaluable asset, enabling us to speed up our development processes and optimise testing procedures.”