Little is known of ZF by the general public except that it’s a German brand working mostly behind the scenes as a parts supplier, such as supplying gearboxes to BMW. Thus the 15th anniversary of ZF Sales and Service (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd was a good occasion for the company to shout a little about what they do and why they’re here in Malaysia.
The ZF Group currently employs over 490 staff in Malaysia for its 6 local companies – ZF Sales and Service (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, TRW Automotive Services Sdn Bhd, TRW Asiatic (M) Sdn Bhd, and ZF Chassis Systems Sdn Bhd, Lucas Automotive Sdn Bhd and Lucas Varity (M) Sdn. Bhd; and owns these familiar aftermarket brands – SACHS, LEMFÖRDER, TRW, BOGE, and OPENMATICS (the last one we’ll touch on in more detail).
ZF Sales and Service (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (ZFSSM) has been busy with more than just distributing aftermarket parts like SACHS shock absorbers for Proton and Perodua vehicles; it has also been working on helping to modernize our public transportation, supplying rail shock absorbers to Rapid KL as well as its EcoLife transmission for public buses.
ZFSSM had recently equipped 300 Scania and Volvo MRT city feeder buses with the ZF EcoLife which is a high-performance 6-speed automatic transmission for buses. These buses serve the new mass rapid transit line between Sungai Buloh to Kajang. There are in total, more than 900 city buses in Malaysia equipped with ZF EcoLife transmissions.
The ZF EcoLife transmission allows easier driving conditions for line service buses and coach drivers. The automatic transmission is available in 7 versions, with input torque range from 1,000 to 2,300 Nm, ensuring an efficient and powerful drive in buses up to 32 tons gross vehicle weight.
With its intelligent drive program by TopoDyn Life control software, the ZF EcoLife adapts driving conditions and smoothly adjusts the gearshift strategy for the driving route during travel. This results in improved fuel efficiency. Further, its integrated primary retarder in the vehicle’s brake management system supports high braking power even at low speeds, effectively reducing the strain on the vehicle’s service brakes, ultimately extending the part’s life-cycle. In addition to reduced downtime and longer service life, these city buses will also have reduced carbon emissions.
“Urban centers face demand for commercial vehicles that are reliable, safe and most importantly, cost effective and productive. Sustainable urbanization will be a challenge as automotive industry requires vehicles to have low operating costs given the high intensity of vehicle usage without compromising safety and speed. ZFSSM intends to be the enabler for the Malaysian transport network by lending our expertise to modernize urban transport backed by ZF Group’s innovative products and technologies,” explained General Manager of Business Unit Services, Mr Siew Chee Kok.
“As the second largest aftermarket organization in the automotive suppliers segment in the world, we are a service-oriented partner that includes spare parts business, technical information and training, re-manufacturing, repair and fleet services for owners. Our core strength lies in our high quality and competent products, while ensuring minimal downtimes and service orientation for customers in the Original Equipment (OE) aftermarket and workshop business,” Siew said.
ZFSSM is also currently collaborating with Rapid Penang to equip its city buses with ZF EcoLife for preventive overhaul. Preventive overhaul allows for significant extension to the vehicles service life
without compromising safety or cost efficiency.
A new ZF product ZFSSM is introducing in Malaysia is OPENMATICS, a connected fleet management solution. OPENMATICS is meant to provide a more efficient service of fleet management, asset tracking, vehicle diagnosis, engineering as well as entertainment and multimedia applications. OPENMATICS is an innovative telematics solution that allows fleet management to be transparent, thus avoiding driving without loads, taking into account driving and rest periods in route planning and monitoring fuel consumption. It can be applied to the fleet regardless of vehicle make.
The OPENMATICS Asset Tracking solution enables tracking and monitoring of valuable assets allowing for efficient and modern logistics as well as manufacturing optimization. The tracking works on Bluetooth technology and the Smart TAGs can be easily installed anywhere, whether on transport containers, pallets, swap bodies or the cargo itself. One useful application of these tags is for cargo that is sensitive to humidity and temperature changes. These tags can be used for up to 5 years before being recycled by OPENMATICS.
Compatible with existing telematics hardware and the OPENMATICS’ stationary “TAG” finder, OPENMATICS is an intuitive operation that is easily accessible through mobile application (Google Play or Apple Store) and a web portal. Capable of communicating wirelessly in an area of at least 30 meters, users can receive real-time alerts which enables prevention of loss or damage of goods. This allows for efficient tracking of assets while decreasing costs for administration and communication efforts while minimizing logistics and manufacturing processes.
ZFSSM is currently working with Rapid KL to implement OPENMATICS for prototype testing in its fleet. This allows for greater integration of communication and logistics between the buses and its suppliers while minimizing operational costs. Additionally, ZFSSM is collaborating with Sync R & D Sdn Bhd, to develop a locally-made 12-meter public electric bus that’s equipped with ZF’s AVE 130 electric portal axle, for higher engine speed and larger passenger space.
Siew stated that ZFSSM is looking at the long-term and is committed to continue enhancing its service network development and the OPENMATICS system in Malaysia while increasing its efforts in introducing e-mobility to the automotive industry, with the aim of supporting the country’s ambition to become a EEV hub for the region.
More information on ZF Sales & Service (M) Sdn Bhd can be found in www.zf.com/my