Monday, July 31, 2017

ZF Sales and Service Malaysia - 15 good years of fantastic transmissions, aftermarket products and now, new innovative OpenMatics Fleet Management System and Cargo Tagging


ZF Sales and Service (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (ZFSSM) is the Malaysian arm of of one of the largest supplier of automotive parts in the world - the ZF Group. They supply a wide range of parts to brand new cars as well as for the after market. In fact, most of you would know ZF as the maker of pretty good automotive transmissions or gearboxes. But they also do a whole lot more than just gearboxes, they actually market and sell SACHS, LEMFÖRDER, TRW, BOGE, and its connectivity product, OPENMATICS. too. So in line with ZFSSM's 15th anniversary, they've opened their doors to a few of us to have a look at their Malaysian operation.
General Manager of Business Unit Services, Mr Siew Chee Kok.

Based in Kota Damansara, the ZFSSM headquarters also houses a warehouse for spare parts as well as the main centre for transmission repairs. ZF gearboxes are used not only in cars from BMW and Jaguar Land Rover but in commercial vehicles like the buses used by Rapid KL too. The gearboxes are also used in other equipment like the gear system in those large cement mixers that we see on those cement mixer trucks plying our roads. In fact, they are in a lot of everyday transportation which we see.

A lot of ZF products are in use in the background. For example, there are SACHS shock absorbers being sold to Proton and Perodua for the aftermarket and the rail shock absorbers are used in Rapid KL LRT trains too. It isn't only road vehicles that use ZF parts. 


If you want something automotive in focus, ZFSSM has equipped 300 new MRT single deck city feeder buses with ZF EcoLife gearbox. This is a high performance 6-speed automatic transmission for buses with the emphasis on long life and reliability (quite true as the transmission control unit actually sits above the transmission's water cooled system, thereby prolonging the circuitry inside it). 

To date, there are more than 900 city buses in Malaysia equipped with ZF EcoLife transmissions. Of course, aside from selling and maintaining new transmission units, they provide full service and repair for their older ones. The turnaround time if quite fast especially with the Rapid KL buses where they always have a one to one swap for a gearbox ready at all times. Below is a photo of a EcoLife undergoing final testing before shipped out back to the operator.


ZFSSM also showed us their latest electric motor drivetrain for buses. These have an electric motor directly attached to the left and right wheels of a bus' rear axle. It is direct drive without the need of drive shafts and is very efficient. You can see the photos of it below where they are located directly at the wheel hub. These are called the ZF Electric Drive Portal Axles.



Aside from what we know they do best - gearboxes, shocks and steering parts to name a few, ZF also has connectivity solutions which most of us usually aren't aware of. These are solutions towards fleet and cargo management actually. A fleet management system. ZF's fleet and cargo management system is called OPENMATICS.

What OPENMATICS does is that it will encourage a more cohesive service network which offers fleet management, asset tracking, vehicle diagnosis, engineering as well as entertainment and multimedia applications. 


OPENMATICS is a telematics solution that allows fleet management to be transparent, thus avoiding driving without loads, taking into account driving and rest periods in route planning and monitoring fuel consumption. OPENMATICS. Unlike most brand owned Fleet Management Systems which are usually not open systems, fleet operators who use various brands can utilise this system for all their difference models and brands. So since this is system that can work on most CAN-BUS systems, it can be used to standardise fleet managment. It is already in use by a few public bus operators over in Hong Kong and ZFSSM is keen to promote the system to public bus operators here in Malaysia too. 



Aside from the above, the system also has an innovative Asset Tracking solution which enables tracking and monitoring of valuable assets allowing for efficient and modern logistics as well as manufacturing optimisation. The core element of the technology are Bluetooth Smart TAGs (deTAGtive Logistics) that can be easily installed anywhere, be it on transport containers, pallets, swap bodies or cargo itself. 



These can track location, temperature (so you can use them to monitor temperature sensitive products) and even whether the product has been dropped or not (as it has a motion sensor). They can be used for up to five years before being recycled by OPENMATICS. 

It is now ZFSSM’s long-term strategy to promote and market the OPENMATICS system in Malaysia while ramping up its efforts introducing e-mobility to the automotive industry. This somehow ties in with the aim of supporting the country’s ambition to become an Energy Efficient Vehicle hub for the region.

The visit to ZFSSM is quite interesting as it is not often that we get to see the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes in terms of automotive equipment and spares. We now can put some faces to the people behind the scenes and those famous gearboxes of the current crop of BMW automatics we drive.

 Stripping a gearbox for overhauling
 Pressure testing the torque converter
 Final test of gearbox - it is run through via an electric motor simulating load which allows it to change gears

 The old BMW E34 5 series 4 speed auto is on the left.

Absorbers
 DeTAGtive system briefing


OPENMATICS for taxis etc.
Electric motor portal axle

PRESS RELEASE
ZF Committed To Sustainable Urbanisation, Supporting Malaysia’s EEV Agenda

§  15th anniversary with renewed commitment to support urban transport modernisation in the automotive industry.
§  Personalised sales and specialised technical consultation.
§  Dedication to highest competency, quality and service orientation for customers.
(From left) ZF Sales & Service (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, General Manager (Malaysia, Taiwan & Brunei), Mr. Cheah Chee Luen (谢智伦); General Manager of OE Sales & Service and Head of Partner Management Asia Pacific Region, Mr. Siew Chee Kok (萧志国); Managing Director, Encik Mohd Syahrul Yusuf; ZF Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, Head Of Services (ASEAN), Mr. Low Chen Lon (刘征); and ZF Services Hong Kong Limited, Technical Consultant (Openmatics), Mr. Eric Fok (霍健恒).

Kota Damansara, Selangor, 25 July 2017 – As the population grows in the urban areas, an increased pressure on public transport and passenger cars is inevitable. In conjunction with its 15th anniversary, ZF Sales and Service (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (ZFSSM), a part of the leading automotive supplier, ZF Group,  has renewed its commitment to enhance urban transport modernisation in Malaysia.

“Urban centres face demand for commercial vehicles that are reliable, safe and most importantly, cost effective and productive. Sustainable urbanisation will be a challenge as automotive industsry requires vehicles to have low operating costs given the high intensity of vehicle usage without compromising safety and speed. ZFSSM intends to be the enabler for the Malaysian transport network by lending our expertise to modernise urban transport backed by ZF Group’s innovative products and technologies,” explained General Manager of Business Unit Services, Mr Siew Chee Kok.

For 15 years, ZFSSM has been linking high performance products and technological know-how to the Malaysian automotive industry. From supplying SACHS shock absorbers to Proton and Perodua for the aftermarket, to providing rail shock absorbers for Rapid KL, ZFSSM delivers products and services that represent efficient dynamics and costs effectiveness, combined with unrivalled quality, safety and comfort.

“As the second largest aftermarket organization in the automotive suppliers segment in the world, we are a service-oriented partner that includes spare parts business, technical information and training, remanufacturing, repair and fleet services for owners. Our core strength lies in our high quality and competent products, while ensuring minimal downtimes and service orientation for customers in the Original Equipment (OE) aftermarket and workshop business,” Siew said.

In keeping with its commitment to support sustainable urbanisation, ZFSSM has equipped 300 MRT single deck city feeder buses with ZF EcoLife, a high performance 6-speed automatic transmission for buses. The buses which are owned by Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn. Bhd are currently servicing MRT Phase One of the Sungai Buloh station to Semantan station, and also the upcoming Phase Two line, which will service the Semantan station to Kajang station by July 2017. Todate, there are more than 900 city buses in Malaysia equipped with ZF EcoLife transmissions.

Primarily used for city buses and coaches, ZF EcoLife allows easier driving conditions for line service buses and coach drivers. The automatic transmission is available in seven versions with input torques range from 1,000 to 2,300 newton meters, ensuring an efficient and powerful drive in buses up to 32 tons gross vehicle weight.

With its intelligent drive programme by TopoDyn Life control software, ZF EcoLife adapts driving conditions and smoothly adjusts the gearshift strategy of the driving route during travel. This results in improved fuel efficiency. Furthermore, its integrated primary retarder in the vehicle's brake management system supports high braking power even at low speeds, effectively reducing the strain on the vehicle's service brakes, ultimately extending the part’s lifecycle. In addition to reduced down time and longer service life, these city buses will also have reduced carbon emissions.

ZFSSM is also currently collaborating with Rapid Penang to fit its city buses with ZF EcoLife for preventive overhaul. Preventive overhaul allows significant extension to the vehicles service life without compromising safety or cost effeciency.

Paving the future for fleet management in Malaysia, Siew added that through its connectivity solutions, OPENMATICS will encourage a more cohesive service network as the brand offers fleet management, asset tracking, vehicle diagnosis, engineering as well as entertainment and multimedia applications.

OPENMATICS is an innovative telematics solution that allows fleet management to be transparent, thus avoiding driving without loads, taking into account driving and rest periods in route planning and monitoring fuel consumption. OPENMATICS Asset Tracking solution enables tracking and monitoring of valuable assets allowing for efficient and modern logistics as well as manufacturing optimisation. The core element of the technology are Bluetooth Smart TAGs that can be easily installed anywhere, be it on transport containers, pallets, swap bodies or cargo itself. They can be used for up to five years before being recycled by OPENMATICS.

Compatible with existing telematics hardware and the Openmatics' stationary “TAG” finder, OPENMATICS is an intuitive operation that is easily accessible through mobile application (Google Play or Apple Store) and a web portal. Capable of communicating wirelessly in an area of at least 30 meters, users can receive real-time alerts which enables prevention of loss or damage of goods. This allows efficient tracking of assets while decreasing costs for administration and communication efforts while minimising logistics and manufacturing processes.

ZFSSM is working with RapidKL to implement OPENMATICS for prototype-testing in their fleet. This allows greater integration of communication and logistics between buses and its suppliers while minimising operational costs. In addition, ZFSSM is collaborating with Sync R & D Sdn Bhd, to develop a locally-made 12 meter public electric bus equipped with ZF’s AVE 130 electric portal axle, for higher engine speed and bigger passenger space in the bus.
                             
ZF currently has over 490 employees in Malaysia, comprising six entities, ZF Sales & Service (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, TRW Automotive Services Sdn Bhd, TRW Asiatic (M) Sdn Bhd, and ZF Chassis Systems Sdn Bhd, Lucas Automotive Sdn Bhd and Lucas Varity (M) Sdn. Bhd.

Siew noted that ZFSSM’s long-term strategy is to continue enhancing its service network development and OPENMATICS system in Malaysia while ramping up its efforts introducing e-mobility to the automotive industry, with the aim of supporting the country’s ambition to become a EEV hub for the region. ZF in the Asia Pacific recorded € 7.7 billion sales in 2016, 22% increase from 2015.

Backed by over 100 years of German innovation, ZFSSM’s product range includes its strong aftermarket brands such as SACHS, LEMFÖRDER, TRW, BOGE, and its connectivity product, OPENMATICS.  2017 marks the 15th anniversary of ZF Sales and Service (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd.

For more information on ZF Sales & Service (M) Sdn Bhd, visit www.zf.com/my



















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