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ZF Presents EcoLife 2 Transmission System



ZF presents the latest generation of its proven automatic transmission system for buses: numerous technical refinements make EcoLife 2 lighter, more efficient, more robust, and easier to maintain. The most significant improvements include possible fuel savings of up to three percent, stop-start capability for all model variants and reduced wear thanks to an optimized cooling concept. In the latest EcoLife generation, ZF has also further enhanced the comfort levels, with improved shift quality, as an example. 

“ICE powered buses are still a central component of public transport systems and long-distance travel provision. It is therefore important to contribute to reduce emissions and increase efficiency in this area. The market demands high levels of comfort combined with best performance – we have achieved this with the new EcoLife 2,” says Dr. Andreas Grossl, responsible for bus axle and transmission systems at ZF. 

ZF has retained the basic principle of a six-stage planetary gearset with torque converter and primary retarder in the second generation of the EcoLife transmission. Numerous technical modifications optimize the new version of the powershift transmission, allowing city and intercity buses to pull away gently with an input torque of up to 2,000 Nm which enables smooth gear shifting. 

Economical, robust, and comfortable 

A torque converter with a new torsional damper enables fast and smooth shifting. It also provides all model variants of the EcoLife 2 with a fuel-saving stop-start function. ZF has adapted the torque converter and torsional damper, satisfying the current trend toward low engine and transmission speeds which are important for efficient operation: the torque converter also transmits fewer engine vibrations to both transmission and complete drivetrain. This increases levels of comfort while minimizing wear. 

There is also something new inside the gearbox: the planetary gearset of the EcoLife 2 makes it possible to increase the total gear ratio’s from 5,469 to 5,727, necessary for increased mechanical power transmission and thus for greater efficiency. ZF engineers were able to further reduce internal transmission losses by applying a special coating to the lamellar clutch. This coating also optimizes cooling, which in turn reduces wear. 

Another innovation in the EcoLife 2 is the cooling concept. The stainless-steel heat exchanger mounted behind the transmission is now triple-ducted, integrating the transmission cooling system and eliminating the requirement for an additional container. The results is weight savings of around 10 kilograms and increased ease of maintenance. 

Gearbox control creates further advantages 

Further advantages of the EcoLife 2 result from the transmission control system. The control software is not only responsible for the extremely fast, smooth and more comfortable shifting: it equipps the new generation of city bus transmissions with a coasting function that contributes to fuel savings. Customers also benefit from the fact that the transmission software can also be adapted to a variety of different engine characteristics. ZF can provide the EcoLife 2 with different starting characteristics, according to customer requirements. 

Further advantages include simpler assembly and easier diagnostics, for which ZF also offers preventive service packages through its international partner workshops. 

EcoLife 2 will be made available to ZF’s existing customers by next year, after which it will be rolled out to the open market. An EcoLife 2 variant for coaches is also under development, covering the torque range between 1,700 to 2,800 Nm.

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I-Mak Academy in South Africa!



The I-MAK academy just reached a new country! From the 9th to the 11th September, more than 40 engineers, technical sales and branch managers attended the first edition of the I-MAK academy South Africa! In partnership with Bearings international, exclusive distributor of I-MAK products in the region, the academy session featured products presentation, products selection and a session on IMAK special solutions for specific markets and applications.


With this new development, IMAK is reinforcing its position in the region. The brand is now represented in more than 10 countries in the South African sub-region. With more than 40 branches and agents, Bearings international is a key actor of this expansion. This visit was also marking the official start of the first IMAK mounting center in the region. With this new hub, IMAK will now be able to supply a large part of its products range in less than 5 days ! Based on a strong stock and a local integration of spare parts production, this new mounting center will be serving South African industries with fast delivery time and flexibility in configurations.

I-MAK presence in South Africa

Present in the region for more than 3 years, I-MAK is active in several sectors. With more than 1.000.000 products references, I-MAK is serving a large range of industries. Particularly active in the mining sector, the brand is proposing several solutions for gold and diamonds extraction. Everyday, I-MAK solutions are used to crush, scan, wash and transport tones of stones, sand and minerals every day. Water treatment represent another key sector for the brand in the region, actively working with major OEM and end users in South Africa, I-MAK is proposing a wide range of specific solution for this crucial sector. Working in external and aggressive environment due to dust, heat, vibration and chemicals, special configurations and options are proposed to customers. 

Innovations and extended product range

This South African visit was also an opportunity for I-MAK to introduce some of their new products and innovations. South African customer can now have access to the new I-MAK-E program and devices. With this new solution, the customers now have the possibility to monitor all the dynamic and evolutions of their gearboxes. Combined in a single device, I-MAK-E system is measuring and tracking a combination of key data. Customers are now able to measure and follow the vibration, temperature and noise level of the gearbox. Collected and compiled together these data are compared with the initial activity “finger print” of the gearboxes, in the same time collected data are set to give particular alarm when figures reach a certain level. Following the global tendency of the market, this key addition to our range of solutions is helping our customers to move from periodic to condition based maintenance. Walking together to reduce unplanned downtime, we increase lifetime and reinforce plant security with less onsite maintenance and control.

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