Press Release


Intelligent and innovative ZF technologies for agricultural machines

  • ZF Automated Operations
  • ZF Innovation Tractor
  • Electrification of the agricultural machine
  • CVT stepless technology
  • Powershift transmission technology

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Intelligent and innovative ZF technologies for agricultural machines

ZF technology highlights at Agritechnica 2017

ZF sets the focus on new technologies and electrification at Agritechnica in Hanover.

As the technological leader, ZF is continuously working on the expansion of its system capability. With the motto See>Think>Act ZF enables vehicles to see, think and act. With the development of forward-looking technologies and business models ZF is underlining its claim in playing an important role in the mega-trend of autonomous driving and operations – in the car as in the off-highway sector.

In order to increase productivity and efficiency further, the subject of electrification will also play a crucial role in the future. ZF demonstrates how solutions for vehicles and processes may appear in the agricultural machine sector.

The power density of ZF transmissions has been once again increased and the product range extended in the field of continuously variable and load shift technologies. Consequently, ZF is offering tailored and efficient driveline solutions for all vehicle classes and technology levels.

"See – Think – Act" for intelligent mobility

Today, artificial intelligence is already being used in numerous applications – for example, in adaptive software as found in voice control in the smart phone. With Automated Operations ZF is displaying its expertise in this field at Agritechnica: "As the technology leader, we not only want to take part in digitalisation, we want to actively form it and push it forward," explains the Manager of the Industrial Technology Division, Dr. Klaus Geißdörfer.

Under the motto "See – Think – Act" ZF, as one of the few companies, is realising autonomous driver assistance systems over all vehicle segments. "Our aspiration is to make vehicles see, think and act – and that all from one source," says Wilhelm Rehm, member of the ZF Board. Therefore, ZF capabilities link environment sensors such as cameras and radar ("See") with central electronic vehicle controllers ("Think") and this is then implemented on or off the road by intelligent mechatronics in the driveline, chassis and steering ("Act"). End users in construction, agriculture and other off-highway sectors can consequently generate completely new concepts in automation. By make use of digital and electronic group expertise, ZF is able to develop its technologically high-value mechanical components further towards intelligent systems.

ZF Automated Operations

The ZF ProAI processor (Fig. 1), specially developed for automotive applications, is the first result of the co-operation between ZF and the IT specialist, Nvidia. At the same time, it represents an important step on the way to automated driving: ZF ProAI enables vehicles to "understand" their environment in that it processes and interprets sensor and camera data with the aid of deep learning technology. In addition, both companies are working on solutions for highly automated and fully automated driving and operations – this includes automated and autonomous driving functions for passenger and commercial vehicles as well as applications in industrial engineering.

With the Innovation Tractor, ZF has for the first time constructed an off-highway application as a platform for innovation. The ZF Innovation Tractor sees, thinks and acts with the aid of numerous cameras and sensors which monitor its surroundings. Based on this optical data, it can be manoeuvred "with the touch of a finger" (using a tablet), easing the coupling of implements (SafeRange and Hitch Detection) and detecting persons located between the vehicle and the trailer (Pedestrian Detection).

Electrification: ZF "Vision Zero" for sustainable productivity

With the maxim "Vision Zero", ZF has set itself the objective of reducing to zero not only accidents and downtimes due to failures, but also emissions. Above all in the agricultural field, this target is always linked to a sustainable increase in productivity:

  • Increase in the system productivity and efficiency in the driveline
  • Conservation of our natural resources to secure our future sustainably
  • Lower energy demand and, with that, lower operating costs
  • Lower maintenance requirement, again leading to lower operating costs

The high-performance high voltage generator module ZF TERRA+ in combination with the electrical single-wheel drive ZF eTRAC (Fig. 2) ensure optimum progress of the trailer or attachment in terrain (Traction Management) (Fig. 3). With this concept ZF demonstrates how intelligent mechanical systems can also be applied in off-highway applications.

For applications with an electrical power requirement of up to 15 kW continuously, electric motors and inverters can be operated on the low voltage of 48 V, as they are used in hybrid cars. Here, ZF makes use of its in-house automobile expertise and offers a low voltage generator module.

The continuously variable front-wheel drive ZF eFAD (electric Front Axle Drive) helps to optimise traction and efficiency in the whole driveline.

The advantages of this electrical front axle solution compared to a rigid all-wheel link:

  • Reduction of the turning circle
  • Easy-to-use and permanent all-wheel drive
  • Driving safety
  • Reduced fuel consumption
  • Increased pulling power

ZF’s eFAD concept can be realized both as high voltage version (Fig. 4) with direct drive and as low voltage version with a power-split front-wheel drive (Fig. 5). Concerning performance, both versions are equivalent and supply at least the same effectiveness as a conventional, rigid front-wheel drive.

ZF is also working on fully electrical driveline solutions for small tractors or compact loaders. Here, the well-proven ZF driveline system, eTRAC for Electrical Stacker Trucks, is the basis for suitable applications. The electrical driveline system offers driving performance equal to that of internal combustion engines.

Pure electrical tractors – whether with a battery or with a fuel cell as the energy store – particularly offer a range of advantages for applications in agricultural engineering and in the municipal field – compared with diesel-powered vehicles:

  • Lower energy demand and, with that, lower operating costs
  • Lower maintenance requirement, again leading to lower operating costs
  • Significantly quieter
  • No emissions
  • Electrical power for transfer to the attachments is directly available
  • Electrical power for loading can be used directly

In order to obtain synergies with these electrical driveline systems in other applications, ZF is focusing on the following different driveline topologies:

  • Near-wheel drives from the field of materials handling
  • Axles with transfer box and central drive
  • Integrated electrically driven axles


Now that the power range has been expanded at the bottom end with the new transaxles TMT 09 and TMT 11, the product range is also being extended upwards through over 600 hp with the ECCOM 6.0 (Fig. 6). The ECCOM 6.0 has been specially developed for applications in pivotally steered high-horsepower tractors and is characterised by a higher power density and a still further improved efficiency. The pilot customer here is CNHi with the tractors, Case Steiger and Quadtrac and New HollandT9 series.

With the three other new models, TMT20, TMT25 and TMT27 in the TERRAMATIC series, ZF has completed its product portfolio for standard tractors from 70 – 450 hp. All models are equipped with the well-proven and highly efficient ZF transmission concept.

Along with the two small TERRAMATIC transmissions, further ZF CVT transmissions have been launched in full-scale production. Vehicle examples here are the McCormick X8 with the ZF TMT 32, the Claas Axion 900 with ZF TMG 45 or the M7001 from Kubota with the ZF TMT 16 (Fig. 7).

Powershift technology TERRAPOWER

With a total of five models the new TPT range (TERRAPOWER Transaxle) covers power levels from 65 hp to over 200 hp.

With the models TPT 16 to TPT 20 there are six powershift stages. In conjunction with the optimally overlapping five synchronous ranges there are a total of 30 forward and 15 reverse gears available. The optional creep gears provide an additional 24 forward and 12 reverse speeds (Fig. 8).

With both smaller models TPT 09 and TPT 11 a 4-way powershift is combined with a field/road range and also a 4-way synchronous section which can be automated. This gives 32 forwards and 32 reverse gears.

All models are available with the optional automatic shift IRS (Intelligent Range Shift) so that the synchronous gears can be easily shifted very quickly. If required, ZF also provides the software for a fully automatic shifting scheme (Full Auto Mode), which for example relieves the driver completely from gear shifting during transport trips.

The spectrum of the TPT transmissions is additionally complemented by a Basic Line product line. In this way, these transmissions can be configured for international markets.

Current full-production and pilot projects are running with, for example, Deutz-Fahr for the Series 6 RCshift with the ZF TPT 16 to TPT 20, McCormick X7 with the powershift transmissions TPT 16 and TPT 20, CNHi with Case Luxum and Steyr Multi with the TPT 11 and ATM T4200 with ZF TPT 20.


Gernot Hein

Head of Communication & Public Affairs, Industrial Technology

+49 851 494-2480

Alexander Eisner

Product Communication/Technical Press

+49 851 494-2175