Roughly a year after construction began, ZF Friedrichshafen AG has opened its extended R&D Center in Pilsen, Czech Republic. The location in the west of the Czech Republic has a workforce of around 250 employees responsible for development services for the ZF Group and its divisions.
With the new building, ZF has doubled the usable space in its R&D Center to around 7,000 square meters. ZF has invested 4 million euros (around CZK 100 million) in the expansion of the R&D Center.
In addition to office space, the R&D Center houses facilities for manufacturing prototypes, fixtures and jigs, as well as laboratories along with test benches for climate and service life testing.
"Strong research and development is fundamental to ZF as a technology company," says ZF Chief Executive Officer Dr. Stefan Sommer. "The extension of our R&D Center in Pilsen is an important step in further expanding our capacities in this area globally." ZF had taken over the Pilsen location from an independent engineering service provider in 2007.
The main fields of expertise of ZF Engineering at Pilsen include software development and software testing as well as the development and qualification of mechatronic components. The engineers support the designers of mechanical components with calculations, fine-tuning, and 3-D modeling.
Rapid Prototyping has also always been an integral part of the Pilsen facility's expertise an area of expertise ZF is now further expanding by commissioning the first 3-D metal printers in the Group. This will allow geometrically complex parts, such as functional prototypes or tool inserts, to be manufactured directly from metal or aluminum by means of additive processes. This technique makes manufacturing faster and cheaper than traditional processes involving metal machining and processing.