ZF Shanghai Case Study

Instron Axle Test Rig at ZF Shanghai

The Overview

ZF is a global market leader in driveline and chassis technology with locations in around 40 countries. In the area of chassis technology, ZF offers complete front and rear axle systems for vehicles ranging from compact cars (such as the VW Polo) to SUVs (such as Daimler's M-class, BMW X5) and small vans (such as the Daimler Sprinter, VW Crafter).

As a load-bearing link between the wheels and the body, the axle transmits all loads and moments between the wheels and the vehicle body. These loads and moments result firstly from the drive power produced by the engine, and secondly from road unevenness and driving maneuvers.

Key objectives in the development of an axle system are:

  • Perfect tuning of the chassis for the vehicle concerned
  • Superior response to external influences
  • Low non-sprung mass through systematic weight reduction
  • Responsive, forgiving handling behavior through specially engineered components

The Challenge

For efficient testing of these systems, load-time histories measured under actual driving conditions are reproduced with maximum accuracy in ZF's development laboratories on Hydropuls® axle test rigs, also referred to as "SSPs" (road simulator test rigs). An axle test rig is capable of replacing road testing, with the advantage that the test time can be reduced by approximately 20% compared to testing on the test track.

ZF has longstanding experience with axle test rigs. Over the last 15 years, ZF has been able to accumulate significant expertise at its Dielingen site in Germany, which is now being transferred to the Chinese market.

axle test

The Solution

axle test

With its new development center in Shanghai, ZF has extended its development competences in the Chinese and Asiatic markets, thus being able to respond to specific market challenges more quickly. One of the highlights in the new development center is the Hydropuls® axle test rig.

Mr. Peng Sun, who has been working in the ZF Chassis Systems Business Unit since 2013, is the senior test engineer and main user of the axle test rig.

The most important aspect for Mr. Peng and his team was to have a future-proof system, capable of meeting market requirements for the next 15 years to come. One of the features of Instron's rig which Mr. Peng and his team find particularly useful is the integrated capability to control active damping systems, servo steering or similar electronically controlled chassis modules.

“The major challenge consists in the perfect interaction of electronic interfaces. Compared to other manufacturers of this type of test rig, Instron offers the technology best suited to our requirements. We also value Instron as a reliable partner offering superior quality and excellent service and maintenance.”

- Peng Sun