Best Gearbox Supplier – ZF Group
With numerous references annually on these pages, ZF needs no introduction to Baird Maritime readers.
During the past few months alone, we have reviewed ZF-equipped trawlers, training and support boats, luxury tourist ferries, dive support vessels, fish farm support craft, pilot boats, high-speed all-weather patrol boats, survey and emergency response boats, tugs, large fast Ro-Pax ferries, fireboats, small fast ferries, large lobster boats, research vessels, small patrol boats, medium fast ferries, long-range patrol boats and alpine lake tourist vessels, among others.
These vessels were built in many different countries for owners in many other countries, including Ireland, Australia, South Africa, Norway, Sri Lanka, Japan, Turkey, Korea, Romania, Estonia, Spain, USA, UK, Netherlands, Tanzania, Kuwait and France.
Obviously, with gearboxes playing such an important role in vessel operations, ZF products would not be so popular if there were not very good reasons for that popularity.
The company has claimed that its many products under the marine propulsion category, gearboxes included, all guarantee an extended life cycle and reduced maintenance costs, making these highly favoured by shipowners and operators worldwide. When maintenance or service is required, only one person will need to be contacted, which saves time and simplifies processing.
Even with this attribute, ZF has proven that it is continually adapting to changes in the market by making its products more aligned with the evolving global situation. Thus, in addition to expanding its portfolio of hybrid marine transmissions, the company began 2021 by introducing additional electric motors, power electronics and controls to its present offerings. These include new parallel hybrid systems that will enable the additional installation of electric drives with power levels between 150 and 750 kW. As a result, the market can obtain the complete driveline from a single source.
ZF said that this portfolio expansion was done in response to harsher emissions regulations being implemented in ports around the world. Wolfram Frei, the company’s Head of Sales of Commercial and Fast Craft, said that the decision was made to offer standardised overall solutions to make sure that components are already harmonised with each other before leaving the factory.
As with ZF’s many other marine propulsion product offerings, the new transmissions and related components will benefit a broad assortment of vessels including pleasure craft, tugs, patrol boats, and even large passenger ferries.
Another new product introduced by ZF in 2021 is its new range of AT 80 thrusters. Available in azimuth and bow thruster variants and suitable for many different vessel types, the new thrusters were built to incorporate operating efficiency, durability, standardisation, and low emissions, making these easy to install and ensuring hassle-free maintenance and replacement, if necessary.
The introduction of new products, particularly those in the hybrid segment, was done in anticipation of a recovery of global markets from the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Among the steps taken by the company in line with the adjusting of capacities was its quick transition to remote working operations. Within the span of only a few days, around 60,000 of its employees worldwide were provided adequate infrastructure, programs, and even online training courses that enabled them to work from the safety of their own homes. ZF has reported increased job satisfaction and productivity among its employees, and so the decision was made to incorporate a longer-term remote work scheme adapted to regional requirements.
ZF further claimed that the global market has been showing signs of recovery, with Asia as a very promising region. Business in Asia has been coming back very strongly and is helping the company increase its sales again.
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