IAA 2014 Trade Show Instead of Lecture Hall

This year, ZF invited some 220 students from around Germany to the IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hanover. Instead of poring over theory, they were able to take a close look at and be inspired by innovations. One of these students is Valentin Herr - he was impressed above all by the continuing advance of automation.

Fully focused, Electrical Engineering student Valentin Herr controls a mini version of the ZF Innovation Truck.

Valentin Herr and his fellow students from Amberg-Weiden University in eastern Bavaria have a journey of five hours behind them when they arrive at stand B17 in hall 17. This is the ZF stand, where the company is presenting its latest technologies. The undisputed highlight of the stand for the students this year is the mini-ramp with three models of the ZF Innovation Truck. Just like the 25-meter-long originals, the trucks are controlled via a tablet. And Valentin Herr soon finds out how easy it is. At the very first attempt, he manages to drive the miniature long truck-trailer combination up to the loading ramp.

Valentin Herr's day started in the early morning. At 7 a.m., he and his fellow students climbed into the bus and set off for Hanover. That gave them the chance to relax before things really kicked off. Once they had arrived at the exhibition center, they put on their admission IDs and entered the trade show halls, passing enormous mobile cranes, trucks, and city buses on their way.

At the ZF stand, HR Marketing Officer Beate Czieszowic welcomed the visitors. The stand staff spent an hour showing the students exhibits such as the transmission platform TraXon, the AVE 130 city bus axle, the wear-free auxiliary brake Intarder, or Openmatics, the ZF telematics platform.

"You can really see a lot of innovative technology here, especially control technology and automation. Right now, networking technology with smartphones and tablets is a hot topic," sums up Valentin Herr after his first few hours at the trade show. This is exactly what fascinates the 21-year-old budding electrical engineering technician. His Bachelor dissertation is all about how to supplement hardware components with software. He attends university for two days a week, and spends the other three at ZF. For him, the advantage of this cooperation with the company is obvious: he is closer to the real world and real products.

This is exactly the idea behind the Student Days. "We want to give students an impression of our company and the broad range of our products. It's easy to see how wide the ZF spectrum is from the various presentation islands on our stand. This is where our employees explain their developments and can give detailed answers to any questions," says Beate Czieszowic.

The guided tour of the stand was a big hit: More than 200 students followed ZF's invitation to the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2014 and were fascinated by the innovations on show.

ZF has been inviting students to the IAA since 2007. The response is still huge. Taking part this time were students from Würzburg-Schweinfurt University, TU Munich, ESB Business School Reutlingen, Stuttgart University, KIT Karlsruhe, HTWG Konstanz, and the universities of Ravensburg-Weingarten, Amberg-Weiden, and Osnabrück.

After the tour of the stand, the students talked with ZF staff about products, internships, and career-starting options such as the Trainee program. Before setting off home in the bus, Valentin Herr and his fellow students took off on their own to look at the other trade show stands.

Pictures: Alexander Zimmermann

ZF at the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2014

From September 25 to October 2, 2014, ZF presents driveline, chassis, and steering technology for a sustainable future of transport at the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2014 in Hanover. At booth B17 in hall 17, visitors can find out how safety, cost-efficiency, and comfort are increased in commercial and passenger transport.

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