ZF-Intarder brake system celebrates one million units

The ZF-Intarder brake system, which is small enough to integrate into commercial vehicle transmissions, is celebrating a special anniversary after one million units were produced.

The first ZF-Intarder rolled off the production line in 1992. It has proved a hit with commercial vehicle manufacturers and operators – mainly because of its environmental, cost and safety benefits.

The Instarder system is capable of assuming 90 per cent of all braking, while leaving the main service brake still free.

ZF intarder

ZF Intarder – Courtesy of ZF

The system is compatible with a huge range of manual and automatic ZF commercial vehicle transmissions including the ZF synchromesh transmissions with 9,12 and 16 gears as well as the automatic AS Tronic, TC Tronic and TraXon transmissions.

Since its introduction to the market, the Intarder system has proved popular with rail and crane manufacturers as well as truck and bus makers.

Winfried Gründler, Head of the Truck & Van Driveline Technology Business Unit in the ZF Commercial Vehicle Technology Division said: “The ZF-Intarder fulfills several requirements simultaneously: it increases comfort and safety, lowers maintenance costs and improves environmental compatibility.”

One of many reasons for the Intarder’s popularity is its compact size. Because it is small, the auxiliary brake can be built into the transmission where it provides additional support for engine braking and relieves stress on the main brake by as much as 90 per cent.

This leaves the main braking system free and cool so that its full capacity can be utilised in emergencies.

Commercial vehicles need instant access to their braking force. When it comes to descending steep slopes, bus and truck drivers need to be confident that their braking force can be applied quickly to stop when necessary.

The high-performance 4,000 Nm brake torque available within one second helps ensure this. ZF claim that this torque can decelerate a 38-ton vehicle with 816 brake horsepower downhill. As well as boosting safety, the system can also reduce wear to brake disks and linings, therefore minimising maintenance costs for operators.

Drivers also benefit from increased comfort. They can set a desired cruising speed and the transmission control unit will take over downhill drive and Intarder activation without input from the driver.

The Intarder system also minimises the creation of brake dust. Over the one million units, ZF estimates that they have saved around 60,000 tons of brake dust.

The one million production mark was only made reachable by significant boost to the volume of production.

“Thanks to high demand, ZF has been able to almost double production capacity in the last eight years,” said Winfried Gründler. “After the start of volume production, it took 16 years to reach half a million Intarders in 2008. Just eight years later, we have been able to make the jump to one million.”

For more information on the Intarder braking system, watch this video courtesy of ZF.