"For the gearshift actuator, we needed a partner who had expertise in fast-switching valves," explains Dr. Christoph Rüchardt, now head of AMT series development, the beginning of the collaboration. "This competence was available at WABCO through the pneumatic control of their brake systems."
On top of the existing know-how, significant efforts were poured into this project to ensure its success: "In 1986, WABCO became the first global provider of transmission automation solutions. But for the specifications of the AS Tronic, a completely new technology had to be developed. Even though many of the original team members are now retired, they passed their experience on to the next generation of colleagues like me, who now follow in their footsteps. This knowledge transfer has helped greatly to advance the product line through the years,” explains Holger Kelpe, Product Engineering Team Leader at the Commercial Vehicle Control Systems division. This development resulted in the first ever fully integrated gear shift controller in the commercial vehicle industry, which set the foundation for many further AMT developments. Subsequently, WABCO became the largest supplier of automation solutions for transmissions with over 5 million AMTs sold.
Through developing the AS Tronic, WABCO and ZF became the first commercial vehicle suppliers to develop an AMT together, which opened up the technology to a global range of customers, who could now benefit from increased efficiency, comfort and safety provided by automated gear shifting.