Best-in-class efficiency combined with greater function and innovation, the modular design can be customized for almost any heavy commercial vehicle – making it attractive on a global level. Truck manufacturers who have purchased the unique ZF-TraXon automatic transmission include MAN, Iveco and, most recently, Ford Trucks and Foton in China. Additionally, the product celebrates its launch in a Liebherr mobile crane. Meanwhile, the ZF Innovation Truck is demonstrating the TraXon hybrid's practical advantages and a ZF test bus fitted with the basic transmission is racking up test miles.
“We are very proud to have won the new TraXon orders and first-time applications,” says Fredrik Staedtler, head of the ZF Commercial Vehicle Technology Division. “Ultimately, they show that our modular system meets all of our developmental requirements – internationally and across numerous vehicle types.” By combining five different start-up or shifting modules in the basic transmission model, current and future manufacturers' demands regarding automatic transmissions for heavy commercial vehicles are covered.
Up and coming
TraXon will be launched this year in the Chinese market on Foton trucks. ZF will supply the model with the optional Intarder integrated transmission brake.
The basic transmission model, which comes with 12 or 16 gears, offers extremely high efficiency – primarily through its ability to handle up to 3,400 Nm of torque (overdrive version), its high transmission-ratio spread of up to 99.7 percent and the outstanding, best-in-class power-to-weight ratio. Included are ZF's innovative electronics on a uniform software platform, combining the predictive shifting strategy, PreVision GPS, as well as a rolling and rock-the-vehicle-free function.
TraXon is also the first choice of Ford Trucks. It is a standard component in the new and recently launched Ford Trucks series, with a Euro-6 driveline. The new orders from China and Turkey will see the first volume production of ZF's innovative TraXon outside the European Union (EU). European customers are also relying on TraXon. The transmission's volume production launch has been successful at MAN, and Iveco will follow suit. “With TraXon, we are continuing the outstanding cooperation we have enjoyed with Iveco in the past decades. The innovative modular transmission system is seamlessly replacing the ZF-AS Tronic used up until now,” adds Staedtler. ZF's innovative TraXon will also be used outside the truck segment
Heavy-duty trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating exceeding 200 tons will benefit from comfort features such as high shift and start. The launch of the TraXon Torque model installed for the first time into the Liebherr LTM 1300-6.2 mobile crane is a prime example of these features. The crane has a total weight of 72 tons and is equipped with a 455 kW engine handling a maximum load of 300 tons.
Rather than having a standard dry single or twin plate clutch, the basic TraXon transmission is combined with the torque converter clutch module. At extremely high input torque and in lower gears, it ensures non-wear starting as well as gentle and comfortable maneuvering, all at low life-cycle costs. The engine-dependent PTO is an additional option for mobile cranes. Regardless of the driving speed, this device provides very high torque to the auxiliary systems. ZF also offers a total of four reverse speeds as an additional option within TraXon, which benefits other specialized truck applications – such as those vehicles used in highway construction work that require speed in reverse.
As with the previous TC Tronic HD model, the TraXon Torque is also available on vehicles that weigh considerably more, such as the Liebherr LTM 1750-9.1 with a gross vehicle weight rating of 108 tons and 750 tons load. Most of the Liebherr mobile crane product family will be switched over to the new transmission.
The TraXon hybrid configuration has been installed in ZF's current Innovation Truck and demonstrates the benefits of driveline electrification for long-distance trucks. It comes with a 120 kW and 1,000 Nm electric motor as well as a separating clutch in the bell housing of the transmission. This enables all hybrid functionalities, including recuperation, electric maneuvering, start/stop functionality and performance support from the combustion engine, or boosting. Additionally, in generator mode, the hybrid module can be integrated into the power supply of other units, such as refrigerated transport. In any scenario, the TraXon Hybrid contributes toward reducing fuel consumption and truck emissions. “It is true that the approximately five percent savings for long-distance trucks is below those values typically seen in electric delivery trucks or even passenger cars. Nevertheless, due to the considerably higher mileage and fuel consumption of long-distance driving, hybrid technology is an economic and environmentally friendly solution that pays for itself fairly quickly,” explains Staedtler.
Another market segment suitable for the TraXon transmission is that of passenger transport and ZF is currently evaluating an application of the basic transmission on a test bus. Modern passenger transport vehicles require transmissions capable of returning fuel savings with heavy loads while providing reliability and driver and passenger comfort. TraXon meets all of these requirements thanks to the variable, smooth and quiet gear transitions. At six decibels lower than its predecessor, the AS Tronic, TraXon returns a 35 percent improvement.