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ZF and Schaeffler develop solution for condition monitoring

Posted: 19 September 2018 | | No comments yet

Shared expertise has enabled condition monitoring of the most important components of the driveline, with digitalisation simplifying maintenance.

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Dr. Michael Holzapfel, Senior Vice President Business Unit Rail Europe at Schaeffler’s Industrial Division, Dr. Stefan Spindler, CEO Industrial at Schaeffler AG, Dr. Klaus Geißdörfer, Head of Division Industrial Technology at ZF und Eberhard Wilks, Vice President Industrial Technology Rail Drive Systems at ZF (from left to right)

ZF will now work with Schaeffler in developing a joint condition monitoring system, a first-time partnership that was agreed at InnoTrans 2018.

The challenges of digitalisation are being met through the creation and implementation of various ecosystems, leading to shorter periods for market launch of innovative and tailored solutions that meet rapidly changing customer requirements.

ZF’s latest ecosystem focuses on the rail industry with the aim to monitor all important components in the driveline with just one system. This enables condition-based maintenance planning to be carried out, ensuring a smooth and cost-optimised operation of the fleet.

“We are pleased to further expand the long-term cooperation between ZF and Schaeffler with this partnership,” said Dr. Klaus Geißdörfer, Head of the ZF Industrial Technology Division. “Both companies are continuously working on increasing the efficiency and reliability of rail vehicles. The combination of our product portfolio with digital solutions enables us to offer our customers new, innovative solutions.”

Thanks to integrated sensors, the condition monitoring system keeps watch over the components in rail vehicles. Various sensors record vibrations, oil quality and temperature trends in ZF rail drives, for example. Schaeffler is expanding the system with wheelset-specific sensors for monitoring the condition of axle bearings.

“Digitalisation in industry can only generate added value when cooperation takes place across companies,” commented Dr. Stefan Spindler, CEO Industrial at Schaeffler AG. “With this project work, we are extending our long-standing development partnership with ZF in the rail sector to an Industry 4.0 solution that will enable completely new service concepts.”

The new transmission functions and services are based on a digital, cloud-based platform that is open to many users. Using a standardised interface and encrypted data traffic, it securely transfers the collected data to the ZF cloud. Operators can read the analyses and recommendations for action based on this data from the cloud. This enables them to optimally schedule maintenance and respond to a wide variety of situations on a case-by-case and flexible basis, ensuring reliable operation of the entire vehicle.

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