- New building should remedy lack of space in the Research & Development Center
- ZF CEO Dr. Stefan Sommer: Investment safeguards jobs at our headquarters in Friedrichshafen
ZF Friedrichshafen AG is bolstering Corporate Research and Development at its headquarters: The technology company intends to set up a new testing center for transmissions in the Research & Development Center (R&D Center) on Graf-von-Soden-Platz in 2015 and 2016.
“Strong research and development is fundamental to ZF’s continued success,” says CEO Dr. Stefan Sommer. The lack of space in the R&D Center – some 1,700 employees are currently working at the facility – will only be relieved to a certain extent even by relocating the Group’s central departments to the new Corporate Headquarters in the ZF Forum. “We may well gain office space as a result,” stresses Sommer, “but there will be no space for laboratories and test benches.” The existing buildings can only be converted to a limited extent due to design constraints.
The Group also aims to merge development departments which are currently spread out across several leased office facilities in Friedrichshafen, in the R&D Center, thus returning the site to its original purpose. “For these reasons we have opted for a new building in order to provide our engineers in future as well with optimum conditions for straightforward, close, and productive collaboration,” explains Sommer who is also responsible for Corporate Research and Development.
The testing center will be built in the western part of the R&D Center. The new building will be home to test benches and workshops. The plan is to have modular interior fixtures so that the building can be used for various purposes depending on the research and development requirements. “This design allows us to respond quickly to new developments in metrology and test technology for vehicle parts,” says Dr. Harald Naunheimer, Head of ZF’s Corporate Research and Development. Particularly in relation to the increasing number of alternative drives it is indispensable to be at the cutting edge of technology and offer customers state-of-the-art solutions.
Over the next few weeks, ZF will sit down with the city authorities to discuss the necessary steps for submitting the planning application. By that stage further details of the building plan will also have been finalized. “Two aspects are particularly important to us with the new building: High energy efficiency and compliance with emissions targets,” ZF CEO Sommer emphasizes. Even if the Group further increases its share of sales in the future in the growth markets of North America and Asia-Pacific and also builds on research and development activities in these regions under the fundamental concept of ‘design to market’, the planned investment in the R&D Center will guarantee jobs on Lake Constance for the long-term.