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 to purchase the unique TraXon automatic, modular-design transmission from ZF 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 TraXon hybrid model is demonstrating its practical advantages in the ZF Innovation Truck, 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 the needs that we developed it for – internationally and across numerous vehicle types, it covers current and future demands from manufacturers regarding automatic transmissions for heavy commercial vehicles." This has been achieved by combining five different start-up or shifting modules in the basic transmission model.
Up and coming
TraXon will be launched this year in the Chinese market on Foton trucks. ZF will supply the model with the optional ZF-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 truck series with a Euro-6 driveline. The new orders from China and Turkey simultaneously represent the first TraXon systems in volume production outside the EU. European customers are also relying on TraXon. With MAN and Iveco, this transmission has already successfully entered into volume production. “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 will benefit from comfort features such as high shift and start. TraXon will be used not only in medium-sized cranes and special vehicles, but also in heavy vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating exceeding 200 tons. For application in heavy tractors and mobile cranes, the basic transmission is combined with a torque converter clutch. "TraXon Torque" also starts wear-free with high input torques and stands for smooth and comfortable maneuvering at low life-cycle costs. Because the high input torque is transmitted directly and powerfully yet smoothly, the full drive power is available immediately.
In challenging situations – either off-road or on slopes – the vehicle uses 1.58 times the torque converter's torque increase. Disengagement of the torque converter lock-up clutch prevents downshifts and therefore speed loss on hills. Furthermore, when setting off on steep slopes, the driver can select a higher starting gear to overcome the slope more quickly. Once in motion, the torque converter is automatically bypassed and the transmission system transmits the engine power fuel-efficiently.
Another option for mobile cranes, special fire trucks and concrete pumps is the PowerDivide engine-dependent power take-off. It is installed between the transmission and vehicle engine and is especially attractive for commercial vehicles where the auxiliaries require very high torques regardless of the vehicle speed.
One essential advantage of TraXon is its modular transmission design. The basic transmission can be combined with various setting-off and shift modules. This makes the transmission more economical in practice, giving manufacturers and operators the best possible flexibility for every application as well as increasing driver comfort.
The dry single-disk or – for particularly high-torque applications – double-disk clutch is robust and has proven worthwhile millions of times over. The effective power transmission and long service life are ideal for applications in road and construction site traffic. ZF offers a total of four reverse speeds as an additional option within TraXon. That is ideal for instance for trucks used on freeway construction sites that require fast speed in reverse.
ZF has installed the TraXon hybrid configuration in its current Innovation Truck and demonstrates what driveline electrification may have to offer 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.
Modern passenger transport vehicles require automatic 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. To test its capabilities for bus applications, the basic transmission model is currently gathering test kilometers in a ZF test bus.