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Winter Testing Under COVID-19 Conditions

Safety has always been paramount in developing our technologies. Testing effectively requires diverse capabilities, that simulate a variety of scenarios in a range of environments.

This January marked the 34th winter testing series of the ZF Commercial Vehicle Control Systems (former WABCO) at our test track in Rovaniemi, Finland. Located in the Arctic Circle, temperatures at the test track typically range from -12° C (10,4 °F) down to -40°C (-40°F). This allows us to test systems in sub-freezing temperatures and on icy, snow-covered roads.

Every winter for the last 33 years, over 100 ZF Commercial Vehicle Control Systems test team colleagues set their way to the Arctic Circle in Finland, with a clear mission in mind: assess our products under extremely cold conditions.

This year, the team have faced not only cold temperatures but also challenges posed by the COVID-19 restrictions which have had a huge impact on the safety organization and realization of this years’ winter testing series. Our Test Engineer on site shared the latest insights from our winter testing teams who have been battling these severe conditions at the Arctic Circle for the past seven week.

Sebastian Duensing, Test Engineer, currently on site in Finland, shared “I am happy to participate again in the 2021 winter testing series. Compared to my last winter testing it is quite challenging to travel to Finland. Our testing activities do not differ much from previous years, except due to the COVID-19 restrictions, we have fewer colleagues and trucks onsite this year. Additionally, we are also maintaining strict hygiene and social distancing rules which pose further challenges. However, this does not deter from our commitment to supporting our customers’ testing programs and validations of our braking systems. We are happy to report that our customers appreciate our dedication as we continue testing under challenging circumstances."

Senior Vice President Product Engineering, Christian Brenneke:

 “I am really excited and proud to see the passion and dedication of our engineers in executing this special winter test season, especially under challenging uncertainties due to COVID-19.

Of course, this year it is all about validating the truck’s performance with our unique systems on-board, under cold weather and extreme road conditions, to enable greater levels of safety and performance, ultimately making our roads safer. Therefore, under these circumstances and uncertainty, I really want to thank the whole test team for their personal contribution and support."

In the coming weeks, we will continue to test and validate our products under these extreme conditions in Finland until the winter tests finish at the end of March.

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