In 2018, the ZF company began operating a software-controlled Kistler fastener test bench with an integrated vibration unit in its central Development Center at Friedrichshafen (Germany). The new test bench ensures reliable testing for design and development, helping ZF to achieve two objectives: capacity expansion, and the performance of complex load tests on threaded joints.
All of us are sure to encounter fasteners fairly often in our everyday lives: whether or not you're handy about the house, you're bound to have tightened a screw or bolt at some time in the past. But in industry and the transport sector, the requirements and conditions are not the same as those that apply at home. So – how complicated is the world of fasteners? Marcus Hornikel is someone who certainly knows the answer. The 'Fastener King', as his colleagues fondly call him, is the Team Leader in ZF's Center of Competence for Threaded Joints at Friedrichshafen. 'Whatever belongs together, must hold together' – that is Hornikel's motto, and he has been making it happen for the last 28 years.
ZF is one of the world's largest suppliers in the vehicle technology sector. Its transmission experts operate a central Research and Development Center at the firm's headquarters near Lake Constance, flanked by local R&D units. Hornikel recalls: 'I started my career at ZF in 1985. Back then, we were just beginning to acknowledge the relevance of threaded joints, so the first guidelines for friction coefficient testing were being defined. At ZF nowadays, we work to standard 5033 – a rulebook that's even more extensive than the international standard, ISO 16047.' The new test bench is configured for loads of up to 1 000 Nm torque, 300 kN preloading force and 500 Nm thread torque. Hornikel continues:
"We're able to work more efficiently thanks to the Kistler test bench. But that's not all: the dynamic load test under vibration opens up entirely new possibilities for component design and engineering."
Marcus Hornikel, Team Leader in ZF’s Center of Competence for Threaded Joints