ZF’s new modular TraXon Truck Transmission leads innovation

ZF will launch the new TraXon automated heavy vehicle transmission at the 2012 IAA Commercial Vehicles Motor Show, which will be held in Germany next month.

A completely new design, the TraXon is based on a modular concept, which is supposed to offer a versatile solution to a broad range of product applications. Some of the highlight features of the transmission include improved torque capabilities, higher gear speed, lower noise characteristics, and for different applications it can be driven by a conventional dry clutch, a hybrid module, dual clutch module or a torque convertor.

One of the key innovations TraXon brings to the market is the PreVision GPS shifting strategy, which utilises GPS location data to improve fuel economy and performance by  eliminating needless gear changing such as before gradients or sharp bends.

At the core of the transmission is a very compact design, with a splitter group, main group and a range change group, as well as two countershafts and a single main shaft.

This intuitive design allows the TraXon to transmit torque considerably higher than 3,000Nm, which makes it an ideal unit for markets such as Australia where our trucks often have gross weights exceeding 60 tonnes.

In addition to the single and twin plate dry clutch options, the TraXon Hybrid module will be the first hybrid option widely available for the heavy duty commercial vehicle market.

An electric motor of 120kW of power, combined with a separating clutch, enable hybrid functions such as recuperation, electric driving, boosting and a stop-start feature. The Hybrid feature can also be used to power auxiliary applications such as the cab’s air conditioning system even when the vehicle’s primary diesel engine is switched off.

Fuel efficiency is also assisted through the rolling or “free-wheeling” function which takes the transmission out of gear on slight downward slopes, allowing the engine to operate at idle speed and minimising drag losses.

When coupled with the prevision GPS, steep slopes are anticipated with the engine and transmission brakes applied instead of the rolling function, thus preserving the service brakes. ZF plan to have the TraXon transmission available on the market in late 2013 or early 2014.

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