Internet of Things Intelligently connected

The Internet of Things offers huge possibilities and has one particular objective: to make people’s everyday life and work easier. ZF technology can help here.

Heating that reacts to a sudden cold snap by itself, fridges that send shopping lists directly to the supermarket and cars that know when to pick up their drivers from work using a smartphone calendar: According to an analysis on the Internet of Things conducted by US marketing research company Gartner, the number of connected devices will increase to around 20 billion by 2020. "Aside from connected cars, consumer uses will continue to account for the greatest number of connected things," according to Gartner analyst Jim Tully.

IoT at ZF

Intelligent – in this case, this means collecting, passing on and analyzing data material, making it available to other devices and making good use of it. The data flow this creates is huge and, in addition to diverse product and service opportunities, offers broad potential for production and transport. ZF is focusing its implementation of IoT technology on three pillars:

  • efficiency will be significantly increased
  • connection will guarantee the optimization of products
  • new products and services will be developed on the basis of digital business models

"As a technology company, ZF dedicates considerable effort to innovative approaches in all its product fields," says Member of the Board of Management Wilhelm Rehm. "We are aiming for rapid implementation with substantial benefits for customers with our 'intelligent mechanical systems' concept. We are sure that the trend toward digitization, which has also been shaping the industrial sector for some years, will not just turn out to be a show-off, but that the high rate of innovation will soon lead to stronger demand."

The Internet of Things is making devices and services smarter. Find out how in this video.

Intelligent logistics

The idea of the Internet of Things originates from the field of logistics. Millions of items are moved around the world every day; with containers and pallets down to the smallest of parts. Intelligent connection above all facilitated considerable gains in efficiency. ZF's pioneer in this field is Openmatics, ZF Services' connectivity specialist. Expanded in stages since 2010, Openmatics is bringing connection to truck and bus fleets, seemingly without limit: from simplified order management for forwarding companies and proactive driver training for better fuel efficiency to infotainment platforms for long bus journeys.

Value added through connection

The anticipatory GPS-based driving strategy PreVision GPS is an absolutely trailblazing innovation. With this driving strategy, ZF is offering truck manufacturers the opportunity to connect the TraXon automatic commercial vehicle transmission with GPS data and digital map material. With the corresponding integration in the vehicle, PreVision GPS prevents gearshifts that may be unnecessary within the context of the terrain – for example when a conventional transmission control unit shifts up a gear before an uphill gradient or a narrow bend, just to shift down to a lower gear shortly after.

Added value for medium and heavy special vehicles and mobile cranes: With the modularly designed TraXon transmission system, their operation becomes even more economical.

Increasing production efficiency

RFID-supported high volume production in Saarbrücken

Incidentally, connection and digitalization do not just play an important role for ZF in terms of product development. A look inside the production halls reveals that here too the digital transformation has long since been underway, for instance as part of the needs-based maintenance and repair of machinery or the optimization of the operating process. Milk run systems, which transfer transport orders for the final assembly line to the driver in real time using mobile scanners, are already part of ZF's everyday operations.

ZF also calls on digital support when it comes to identifying individual parts across the entire production process: IT-based traceability systems document the production cycle and soon also the lifecycle of individual workpieces – and provide even greater reliability thanks to automated workflows.

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