EcoLife of the party

Transmission maker ZF promoted its company service centre restructuring at the recent BusVic Bus Expo and showcased its star attraction – EcoLife

EcoLife of the party
EcoLife of the party

By David Goeldner | July 20, 2011

A leading attraction at this year’s BusVic Maintenance Conference and Bus Expo was the recent release of ZF’s bus transmission EcoLife.

Promoted heavily in the first part of 2011, ZF Services Product and Marketing Manager Lars Mehlan, pictured,
took the opportunity to bring EcoLife to the BusVic show to gather feedback from current users.

Mehlan says the feedback received from the BusVic show in July was positive.

"Our first major objective from the BusVic show was to promote EcoLife as the latest offering to the OEM side of the bus industry as the most modern and up-to-date transmission on the market," Mehlan says.

"EcoLife is a great product and we received feedback that the technical benefits are being well received, with better fuel economy and reduced noise emission."

The EcoLife Transmission supersedes the Ecomat series of transmissions which had been fitted to more than 8,000 buses in Australia.

Mehlan says the ZF EcoLife design has seen vastly improved fuel economy for operators, with passenger comfort another major advantage of the system.

The system transmits up to 2,000Nm of torque while operating at oil sump temperatures of up to 120 degrees celsius.

Improved heat exchange capability sees oil change intervals extended to 180,000km, resulting in lower operating costs and less downtime.

EcoLife transmissions are mated to the TopoDyn Life transmission control system, which continuously monitors load relative to gradient on which the bus is travelling.

On flat terrain, shift patterns are optimised for economy, but as the terrain becomes steeper, the software adapts for continuous power on a constantly variable basis, without searching for gears.

These intelligent shift strategies work in tandem with the six available gears to keep engine speeds at a minimum, and with low-noise helical gearing, EcoLife provides a quieter environment for those inside and outside the bus.

The integrated hydrodynamic primary retarder allows brakes to run at cooler temperatures, thereby reducing brake wear.

"We could be making claims all day long, but what matters at the end of the day is that the market gives us some honest feedback on the product and what they think," Mehlan says.

"Operators are starting to understand that EcoLife is the best product on the market at the moment."

ZF’s second objective at the BusVic show was to raise awareness of the company’s spread of service centres across Australia, and that restructuring of service support was going well according to plan.

"ZF is currently undergoing major restructuring in terms of the after sales service side of the business, so the name change to ‘ZF Services’ is a consequence of the ongoing restructuring of the company," Mehlan says.

"ZF Services is now the extended arm of ZF across all divisions and all products, being the parts side and the repair and manufacturing side."

Mehlan says ZF now has workshops set up in Sydney and Perth and a dealer network right around the country capable of maintaining and servicing ZF products, backed by ready supply of spare parts.

"In the past we had the OEM side of each individual division looking after their own after sales and service programs," Mehlan says.

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