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CO2-Neutral Thanks to Holistic Planning

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With the first plant for electric driveline technology in Pančevo, Serbia, ZF is creating a milestone in its own transformation process. It is emission-free from the outset and it is the blueprint for future production facilities of the tech company.
Frank Thoma,
Frank Thoma has been corporate editor at ZF since 2011. With a degree in journalism, he has been planning, writing and editing articles for all of the company’s internal, external media.
How time flies! Almost four years ago to the day, ZF opened a state-of-the-art plant for future technology in Pančevo, Serbia. Since then, ZF has been producing electric drives as well as transmission selectors and microswitches for a wide variety of vehicles in Pančevo, a city with a population of around 80,000 located about 15 kilometers northeast of Belgrade. Now, the second ZF plant, which was already planned in the immediate vicinity at the time, is nearing completion. Here, too, products for electromobility will be produced: 400-volt and 800-volt-based power electronics for plug-in hybrids as well as for pure electric vehicles.

"Our two plants in Pančevo and the on-site research center, which has been active since 2021, are an important part of ZF's global production network for implementing the company's vision of ˋNext Generation Mobilityˊ", says Stephan von Schuckmann. He is in charge of electromobility on the ZF Board of Management.

ZF’s Next Generation Plant

ZF’s Next Generation Plant

Soon, almost 600 employees will be producing environmentally friendly driveline technology on 24,000 square meters of the new plant. Its construction took just eleven months. But speed is not the only superlative in this project, Milan Grujic reveals. "Plant 2 will be the first zero-emission production plant in ZF's Electrified Powertrain Technology division. It will set a new standard for sustainable manufacturing throughout the Group", says the site manager. The entire building infrastructure is designed for maximum sustainability and efficiency.
"Plant 2 will set a new standard for sustainable manufacturing throughout the Group."
Milan Grujic, Site Manager of Pančevo

This ranges, for example, from the construction of the building with improved thermal insulation to energy generation, the handling of water and wastewater, lighting technology and the use of state-of-the-art heating, ventilation, and cooling technology. If heating and cooling are provided exclusively by heat pumps, heat recovery and demand-oriented ventilation also ensures the lowest possible energy consumption. The solar modules for charging parked electric vehicles also contribute to saving energy. While Plant 1 in Pančevo will be emission-free in terms of energy supply from 2025 onwards by dispensing with heating with natural gas, Plant 2 will already achieve this goal at the start of production.
View of the inner part of the heat pumps that heat the building without the use of fossil fuels such as gas or petroleum.

Green Factories: Success Factor in Future Competition

Green Factories: Success Factor in Future Competition

Of course, sustainability also applies to the handling of water as a resource: Various savings measures, wastewater treatment, and the use of rainwater noticeably reduce both consumption and environmental pollution. Thus, not only the two ZF plants benefit from all the sustainability efforts, but the entire region.

Summing up, Arno Güllering, Head of Operations in the ZF Electrified Powertrain Technology division, says: "With our ˋNext Generation Factoryˊ initiative, we set ourselves high goals for environmentally friendly and efficient production, which also includes lean processes and the digitalization of production and supply chains." For the entire ZF Group, this initiative and specifically the experience with the two plants in Pančevo serve as a north star in the transformation of manufacturing. After all, all those responsible know that in future competition, environmental responsibility and high productivity are among the top priorities.

View of the outer part of the heat pumps on the roof of Plant 2 in Pančevo.

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