ZF South Carolina to Add More In-House Heat Treating Capacity?

ZF Friedrichshafen, the world’s 5th largest auto parts supplier just announced a major investment into their Gray Court, South Carolina, USA transmission facility. As can be read below the plan is to expand production of their eight-speed automatic transmission which leads to the obvious question-will this investment mean more heat treating capacity? In our humble opinion the answer is a resounding yes!

Like many automotive transmission manufacturers the company went down the road of vacuum carburizing (low pressure carburizing or LPC) a number of years ago. The end result is that this facility has two ALD “Modultherm” systems in place with a total of 16 carburizing cells and 2 Pusher lines for annealing supplied by Ipsen. Given that the company believes in keeping heat treatment in house our assumption would be that the company will expand upon what they have to accommodate increased production. 

“Germany’s ZF Friedrichshafen said it will invest $200 million to build another production line at its commercial vehicle transmission plant in Gray Court, S.C. The new line is expected to begin production in 2023. More than 500 jobs will be created, the company said. The supplier on Thursday said it plans to expand production of the PowerLine, an eight-speed automatic transmission for medium-duty commercial trucks, heavy pickups and buses.

The plant opened in 2012 and became a hub for ZF’s work in large-scale transmission production, including eight- and nine-speed automatic transmissions. “As a result, we’ve been expanding our manufacturing footprint since our grand opening,” said Ashley Van Horn, a ZF spokeswoman.

Multiple North American customers have signed contracts with ZF for transmissions built at Gray Court. Van Horn said she could not disclose which automakers signed contracts. Beyond use in trucks and buses, PowerLine is “prepared for mild hybrid and plug-in variants” because it has a modular design, Christian Feldhaus, director of ZF’s commercial vehicle driveline technology unit in North America, said in the company’s announcement.”

Did you like this article? Click here to subscribe to The Monty.