Rail vehicles have a tough job: They have to reliably fulfill their transport duties over decades and millions of kilometers. Any breakdown would cost transport companies dearly. Therefore, it is all the more important to have service partners for rail drives who boast sufficient experience, professionalism, and a broad portfolio to keep every fleet working efficiently. ZF Friedrichshafen AG offers exactly that, and much more, to its numerous customers in the rail industry - with comprehensive and customized maintenance services that are available 24/7 at a global level.
Whether it is high-speed trains, shunting locomotives, or lightweight trams – and regardless of whether they are driven electrically, diesel-hydraulically, or diesel-mechanically: When it comes to the preventive or corrective maintenance of rail vehicle drives, a growing number of transport companies rely on ZF's competence. For they know that they benefit from a service portfolio reflecting the whole experience of the technology company.
First of all, this allows for repairs with a quality level that third-party providers can hardly match: In the event of a defect, the ZF experts do not only quickly and reliably repair the damage – they also bring the drive to the latest state of the art. Afterwards, ZF tests each serviced drive according to the exact test specifications of current production, and only after these tests have been passed is the drive reinstalled in the customer vehicle.
ZF applies similarly high standards when it comes to overhauling drives: With the help of representative drives from the fleet, the engineers first determine the exact wear condition. This includes for instance state-of-the-art oil analyses – conducted in a specialized laboratory at ZF's Research & Development Center. On the basis of these and many other factors, the experts finally define the optimal overhaul scope for the entire fleet. That way, they ensure that, for every customer, they replace only as much as necessary and as little as possible. What is more, ZF offers a special program to rail transport companies, which further reduces the downtimes of vehicles when the work is being carried out: While the existing drives are being remanufactured, the vehicles are equipped with previously produced exchange units so that train operation can be continued almost without interruption and economic losses. Thanks to its comprehensive systems expertise, ZF also performs and coordinates the remanufacturing of the entire gearset, if desired – in close collaboration with accredited industry partners.
Global presence and manufacturer-independent operation
ZF has more than 700 authorized Customer Service Centers located all over the world. This allows for analyses, inspections, and repairs being conducted directly on site, if required. In general, ZF is therefore ideally equipped to support its customers flexibly, quickly, and individually, and supply them with genuine spare parts at all times, even at an international level. Without exception, the spare parts are produced according to the same specifications that apply for volume production components.
Also, the complete range of repair and overhaul service advantages cannot only be used for rail vehicles equipped with driveline technology made by ZF: Using the catchword multi-brand, the technology company also offers tailor-made programs for drives from third-party manufacturers. Thanks to the dense global ZF service network and the close collaboration with the R&D Center, it is ensured that the maintenance corresponds to the quality of the original in all aspects.
Frequently, a new drive is the better alternative
In case of trains with a diesel-hydraulic drive, maintenance work is frequently very complex and accordingly expensive. In addition, the fuel consumption of these vehicles dominates the operating costs. For that reason, and because diesel prices are continuously climbing, it is often not worthwhile to overhaul technically obsolete main drives with high power losses. In that case, the ZF Repower package is the more economical solution: Engineering technicians replace the previous drive component with a modern diesel-mechanical automatic reversing transmission. Compared to conventional hydrodynamic drives, the fuel consumption of diesel railcars is reduced by up to 20 percent. Therefore, the investment in the new, economical, and environmentally-friendly rail vehicle drive made by ZF pays for itself after only two to three years.