The TraXon automatic commercial vehicle transmission system from ZF has broken into a major international market: It is going into volume production in Chinese manufacturer Foton’s new Auman EST-A. This truck is designed specially for long-distance traffic. A celebration in Beijing last weekend marked the official market launch of the “Chinese Truck of the Year.” The transmission was extensively adapted for the Chinese market prior to volume production. This involved close cooperation between teams from ZF in Friedrichshafen and Hangzhou as well as Foton in Beijing. Also integrated in the Auman EST-A is the new AIRTRAC rear axle system ZF developed specifically for heavy trucks. This air-sprung axle system not only prevents damage to loads and road surfaces, it also improves driving comfort.
“Foton is one of the largest commercial vehicle manufacturers on the Chinese market,” explains Fredrik Staedtler, who is responsible for the Commercial Vehicle Technology Division at ZF Friedrichshafen AG. “So we’re especially proud that the Auman EST-A will feature cutting-edge ZF technology in the future.” Foton is the first Chinese customer for the TraXon automatic transmission system, which ZF launched for volume production in 2015. The AIRTRAC rear axle system will also be used for the first time by Foton.
“So far we’ve mainly produced manual transmissions for Foton’s light commercial vehicles,” adds Winfried Gründler, head of ZF’s Truck & Van Driveline Technology Business Unit. “The automatic transmission system TraXon represents a major technological advance for the Chinese market. It will help Foton’s customers gain an edge in the highly competitive transport industry.”
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, its energy conversion efficiency of up to 99.7 percent and the outstanding, best-in-class power-to-weight ratio of 12.89 Nm/kg. Furthermore, it features ZF’s innovative electronics, including software, combining the predictive shifting strategy, PreVision GPS, as well as a rolling and rock-the-vehicle-free function. Apart from TraXon, ZF is also supplying its optional integrated transmission brake Intarder to Foton. The wear-free brake system provides 90 percent of all braking without using the service brake. That increases safety, decreases wear on the service brake, thus reducing maintenance costs and downtimes, and also protects the environment by avoiding brake dust. Both the TraXon transmissions and the Intarders are produced in Friedrichshafen and shipped directly to the Foton production facility in Beijing.
Easy on roads
ZF also produces its new AIRTRAC air-sprung rear axle system for the Foton heavy truck. Besides high driving comfort, its main benefit is that it helps preserve road surfaces. Its modular design makes ZF AIRTRAC suitable for almost any conventional axle variant, from double axle to triple axle solutions with one or two driven axles. The rear axle system, which uses ZF’s conventional chassis components and dampers, was developed as well as tested at the Dielingen location and will be produced directly in China.