ZF celebrates making 500,000 Active Rear-Axle Control Systems

Jun 26, 2019   Tier Suppliers

AKC system (Active Kinematics Control) number 500,000 has rolled off ZF’s production line just six years after the start of production and sees a new assembly line in Lebring planned to serve the increasing demand.

With its AKC (Active Kinematics Control) system, ZF has said that it offers automotive manufacturers worldwide enhanced safety, dynamics and comfort. The new volume production milestone underlines OEMs’ trust in the company’s chassis competence.

“500,000 systems is a real achievement and confirmation of ZF’s technology leadership in the field of Vehicle Motion Control,“ said Dr. Peter Holdmann, Head of the Car Chassis Technology Division at ZF. “Both manufacturers and end customers around the world expect enhanced safety, dynamics and comfort. These are qualities our Active Kinematics Control significantly improves.”

The AKC rear-axle control system provides meaningful advantages, especially in critical driving situations and during braking. Today, a large number of international automobile manufacturers include the system in their vehicles. It is suitable for all drive types – conventional combustion engines, hybrids or pure electric motors. ZF is celebrating the new record at its plant in Lebring, Austria, only two years after reaching the 100,000 mark and six years after production start.

Dynamic with enhanced safety for the automotive future

When driving slowly through narrow streets, the AKC steers contrary to the front wheels’ steering angle. This reduces the turning circle by up to 10%, making the car much easier to manoeuvre. At higher speeds, i.e. about 60 km/h and above, as well as during obstacle-avoidance manoeuvres, the system steers the rear wheels in the same direction as the front wheels, which helps improve directional stability and driving dynamics. Furthermore, AKC supports automated driving and the necessary system redundancy, partially steering a vehicle without turning the front wheels.

Suitable for any axle architecture

ZF supplies the AKC system in two variants. The so-called dual adjuster version consists of one actuator positioned on each rear wheel. This design first went into volume production in 2013. It is especially suitable for sports cars as it saves valuable space on the central rear axle, where the engine, tank or other components typically sit in this type of vehicle. The central adjuster design – with a single, larger and centrally placed actuator – is ideal for larger cars, pick-ups or SUVs.

Strong growth

“Currently, around 1,000 AKC systems roll off the line every day,” said Robert Lamprecht, Plant Manager in Lebring. “To meet demand, we’re planning a considerable increase in capacity over the next few years.” To support this, a new, third production line was installed recently. Another assembly line is already in the planning stages. In the long term, this will enable ZF to produce a total of over one million AKC systems per year.

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