Interconnected and automated processes can significantly reduce downtime and costs while simultaneously increasing reliability for end customers. At this year’s Hannover Messe, ZF will showcase various intelligent mechanical systems that ensure maximum output by interacting within a comprehensive connected supply chain.
Digital twinning and big data for optimised production processes
ZF trade fair booth will showcase the lifecycle of the electric axle drive eVD2, which will go into volume production this year for an international premium passenger car manufacturer. Using big data approaches, areas in production that are potentially problematic can be identified and eliminated or optimised promptly, before major costs from rejects ever arise. A digital twin, in which test results are stored, is simultaneously created in the ZF Cloud from the data obtained for each electric drive produced. This “digital birth certificate” provides relevant logistics and customer information for the associated drive module. Provided with a tag from asset tracking solution deTAGtive, which digitally tracks location and condition, the electric drive is now ready for further transport.
Wilhelm Rehm, member of the Board of Management of ZF Friedrichshafen AG responsible for Commercial Vehicle and Industrial Technology, said if you want to optimise logistics in a sustainable manner, you have to take the entire supply chain into consideration. This starts with production, includes internal and external delivery processes and finally concludes with the end customer, he added.
With the ZF Innovation Truck, another smart vehicle takes over the next step in the logistics chain. The truck is equipped with autonomous driving functions that allow it to maneuver on its own in the depot area, making it unnecessary for the driver to perform difficult maneuvers such as threading backwards under the swap body. This helps reduce accidents, material damage and downtime. As the truck travels short distances using only electric power thanks to the innovative TraXon Hybrid transmission system, emissions are minimized as well. With its intelligent mechanical systems, the Innovation Truck also excels in long-distance transport: It has the necessary technology to drive with other trucks in a tight convoy referred to as a “platoon”. Fuel consumption is thereby reduced by up to 20 percent. By making use of the data in the ZF Cloud, the customer can track the transport at every step.
Dr. Klaus Geißdörfer, head of the Industrial Technology Division at ZF, said the ZF Cloud forms the basis for intelligently linking innovations from the passenger car and commercial vehicle sectors with industrial technology systems.
Emission-free and reliable on the last mile
With the eVD2, ZF offers a rugged and powerful electric drive for light commercial vehicles, which is ideal for delivery trucks and in particular in the last mile of the delivery process. Stricter emission guidelines for city centers make vehicles that are powered purely electrically the best choice for these final miles to the end customer. To ensure smooth functioning of the drive – and thus reliable delivery of parcels to the recipient – the fleet operator can call up information from the interlinked eVD2 at any time. By feeding this data back into the ZF cloud, predictive maintenance makes it possible for the fleet operator to be informed when maintenance is due before potential issues arise – and the data also enables the technology company to continuously optimize its drive.