ZF will return to the South African Bus Operators Association (Saboa) Conference in 2018 with its range of specialist transmissions and axles in tow. Specifically, ZF will display its Ecolife transmission, as well as front and rear axles, which are optimised for use in the public-transport industry.
The well-known Ecolife transmission is designed to banish the stress (on driver and drivetrain) of stop-start operation. The six-speed, torque-converter automatic unit is suitable for use in all buses, whether in city or intercity operation, and ZF claims that it can help save up to ten percent on fuel (depending on operation).
The integrated primary retarder is incorporated into the vehicle’s brake management system and boosts braking power even at low speeds. The Ecolife transmission includes a dual cooling system with transmission and retarder heat exchanger that protects against overheating and extends oil-change intervals.
A good transmission should be accompanied by a good axle system, and, in this regard, ZF has a few options for the discerning bus operator. It’s front-axle system and chassis technology for all types of city buses combine passenger comfort and ease of access, while keeping the driver in control and reducing steering effort.
Furthermore, other advantages include high axle load, reduced body roll and increased roll stiffness. Maintenance-free control arms and joints with elastokinematic properties contribute to damping vibrations and noise.
Similarly, ZF’s rear-axle systems contribute to efficiency, safety and comfort. ZF offers driven axles as complete systems, including air springs, dampers and axle guidance. ZF portal axles allow a completely step-free and platform-free passenger compartment, in contrast to low-entry buses.
The company offers a complete package with torque rods and dampers, meaning more comfort, less wear and weight savings thanks to lightweight construction. All this results in lower maintenance, fuel consumption and bearing wear, plus a longer service life.
ZF offers similar driveline and chassis solutions for the coach market. For example, its Ecolife Coach transmission is designed for the engine to always supply full torque without disengaging and engaging the clutch, and without losing speed during gearshifts.
All these components have been optimised to ensure road safety, offer comfort to passengers and drivers, decrease wear on the vehicle and on the road, and to reduce fuel consumption as much as possible.