Efficient, electrified and sustainable: ZF showcased its products and services for rail, bus and other transportation applications. With the slogan “Shaping Smart Transport”, ZF introduced its comprehensive product portfolio for sustainable, efficient and usable mobility for wider urban areas at InnoTrans 2022. Underlining its position as a technology leader for rail systems, buses and new transportation concepts, the company exhibited its products and services at its booth as part of the Innovation Forum and Mobility+ events.
The demand of cities for public transport and its need for e-mobility transformation is greater than ever before. However, it is important that mobility is sustainable, accessible and efficient and optimally adapted to the respective demands. Technology company ZF supports transport authorities, vehicle manufacturers and fleet operators as a strong partner with its extensive expertise. “Our company takes a holistic view of mobility,” says Wilhelm Rehm, ZF's Board Member for Commercial Vehicle Solutions, Industrial Technology and Materials Management. “From a single component to the overall system, from traditional hardware to digital, cloud-based condition monitoring, we offer the right solution for road, rail and everywhere in between.”
The validity of these statements is proven by ZF's presence at InnoTrans, the leading international transport technology trade fair held in Berlin from 20-23 September. The company, which took its place at the fair with the slogan "Shaping Smart Transportation", presented its wide product portfolio developed for public transportation to the visitors. The products on display showed how future-oriented transport concepts are realized thanks to ZF technology.
In addition, at the event held in the Mobility+ Corner of the fair, ZF Automated Driving Systems Vice President Werner Engl made a presentation on the possibilities of autonomous systems in the mobility transition.
ZF Shuttle: Mobility for change
As demographics change, people's mobility needs change as well. More and more people are moving to urban suburbs, which means that the public transport system is constantly facing new challenges. So what should a flexible, individual transport concept look like under these conditions? ZF is responding to this with an autonomous transport system. The biggest alternative to demand-driven public transportation vehicles such as buses and trains, which are dependent on a timetable, are autonomous public transportation vehicles that run on electricity and are connected to a driverless services network with uninterrupted connection. This means that ZF Shuttles can close the gap in the industry and do so in an economical, efficient and modern way.
EcoMet and EcoWorld: Driving optimization for rail systems
When it comes to rail transmissions, most manufacturers only have ZF. This is because of the modular transmission family EcoMet for subway and commuter trains, and the hybrid powershift transmission EcoWorld, developed with multiple diesel units and for special vehicles.
Thanks to EcoMet, which was designed with variable center distances and ratios in mind during development, customers have now eliminated time-consuming and expensive redesign processes for each vehicle. On the other hand, EcoWorld, which can be connected to existing propulsion systems, prevents rail companies from having to replace entire drivetrains to extend the service life of their trains. EcoWorld not only reduces fuel consumption by up to 20 percent, but also reduces daily operating costs.
PSD and FSD: Improved damping for a better train ride
There is a warning that people with a stroller, heavy luggage or wheelchair often hear; “Please note the gap between the train and the platform”. To correct this distance, there is the Integrated Position Sensor Damper (PSD), which supports system control when adjusting the vehicle level. A position sensor mounted vertically on the secondary damper and therefore at a protected point records precise information about the distance between the wagon body and the bogie. With this one-tenth correct information, the vehicle height can be precisely controlled via the pneumatic spring to accommodate different platform heights, for example at train stations. This not only makes boarding and disembarking at the station more comfortable, but also makes the journey between the two stations a more stable and enjoyable experience.
When a train gains speed, the wagon comes under the influence of strong forces. At this point, yaw dampers come into play and guarantee the stable operation of the vehicle, especially on flat roads. However, in switches or tight bends, it is precisely these damping forces that strain the bogie and thus the wheel-rail interface. This is covered by the Frequency Selective Damper (FSD), which is designed as a passive system with no electrical connection. With the frequency selector valve that opens at defined frequencies, the ZF product facilitates the suspension while cornering, providing driving stability and thus safety.
Bus Connect and connect@rail: networked vehicles for better fleet management
Many factors need to come together for safe and reliable passenger transportation. To help plan this interaction in the best way, ZF offers two tailor-made tools: the cloud-based condition monitoring system connect@rail and the digital fleet management Bus Connect.
A smart combination of digital know-how and smart connectivity solutions: with connect@rail, ZF offers comprehensive condition monitoring for rolling stock and infrastructures. The system supports railway operators in early maintenance planning and predictive maintenance of trains and tracks. In this way, connect@rail reduces unplanned interruptions during operation.
ZF Bus Connect was developed for city buses and coaches. Users, who can monitor every aspect of the vehicle in real time, including live view of vehicle locations, can monitor the instantaneous status of vehicle parts such as current energy or fuel consumption, battery charge status, brake wear and other system messages. With this product, ZF enables public and private bus operators to improve the efficiency and performance of their fleets.
CeTrax: efficient electrification of buses
Successfully tried and tested by many manufacturers, CeTrax is an all-electric central drive unit that can be used in a wide variety of applications, from buses and trucks to a variety of special vehicles. The system can be integrated into existing vehicle concepts with a traditional powertrain layout, allowing manufacturers to convert their model series to a local zero-emission propulsion system without having to develop entirely new platforms.