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ZF Celebrates Production of 800,000th Retarder


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Diesel News / 6/19/2013

ZF has produced its 800,000th “Intarder” transmission-integrated hydraulic retarder.

The third and latest generation Intarder weighs just 143 pounds while providing improved deceleration.

ZF engineers have also achieved smaller dimensions for the unit, allowing for installations in tight confines.

Since ZF introduced the Intarder in 1992, the number of truckmakers and bus builders utilizing the Intarder has rapidly grown. One in three ZF truck transmissions is equipped with the optional Intarder.

The third generation Intarder is ideally suited for ZF’s new TraXon modular automatic transmission system.

The Intarder now offers significantly higher braking torque, with the power model rated to 2,950ft-lb, while the Eco variant sits at 2,434ft-lb.

These torque ratings are applicable to a maximum braking power of 805 horsepower, with a maximum response time of one second.

Heat control for the Intarder is achieved via the engine’s cooling circuit, which makes it ideal for new generation trucks with higher coolant temperature thresholds.

Since the Intarder is integrally mounted on the transmission output, the braking effect is maintained even when changing gears, providing maximum protection for the main brakes against fading.

A new electronic control unit simplifies integration into vehicle brake management systems while also providing a cruise control function.

Both during fading-free continuous braking and individual adaptive braking, safety systems such as ABS and ESP remain active. The driver can control braking power as required with 5 progressive steps.




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Although retarders are rare on U.S. trucks, they are extremely popular throughout the rest of the world.

I like Jacobs (And so does Mercedes-Benz, having chosen a Jacobs engine brake for the OM471/DD13, OM472/DD15 and OM473/DD16).

But having said that, ZF's retarder is a high performing product worth serious consideration. With the latest version down to 143 pounds while delivering 805hp of braking power, I think more U.S. customers will express an interest.

Voith is the other big global name in retarders and they offer a superb product. Voith's integrally-mounted retarder has in the past been a factory option on Eaton's global market fully-synchronized heavy truck transmissions.

Comparing (Jacobs) engine braking to retarders, there's much good to be said for each type. Every European truckmaker offers a retarder.

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Its funny that a little company making drill chucks design and build an engine brake called Jacobs aka Jake brake that are built Windsor Conn.

From the moment that Clessie L. Cummins partnered with Jacobs Manufacturing Company in 1960 to produce engine brakes, Jacobs became much more than a drill chuck manufacturer.

Actually Jacobs split in 1986. The engine brake unit is in Connecticut, and the drill chuck unit is in South Carolina.

After retiring from Cummins in 1955, Clessie Cummins began working on a viable engine brake design, arriving at one in 1957. He’d wanted to start his own company, but through a twist of fate, his nephew married the daughter of Robert Englund, the vice president of Jacobs Manufacturing Company. The two hit it off and the Clessie L. Cummins Division of Jacobs Manufacturing was formed (now known as Jacobs Vehicle Systems).

In addition to being the world leader in engine brake design, Jacobs is now expanding their global footprint by doing contract engine design work. Jacobs had actually for years been helping engine makers to design the upper end so as to maximize engine brake performance. Now Jacobs is taking that expertise to the global market. Mercedes-Benz completely redesigned the originally adopted upper end design for their OM471/DD13, OM472/DD15 global engine platforms, at Jacobs’ suggestion, so as now to have the best engine braking performance in their class.

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I was in the UK back in 88 and the coach we had every day was a VanHool with a 7 speed air assisted manual trans with a Telma retarder. Got to know the driver pretty well and that retarder if you hit it on the last position it almost put everybody through the windshield. Very impressive.

Cheers, Rob

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Previously, the Voith model "VR115H Eaton" integrally-mounted retarder was available with the global market Eaton 16-speed fully synchronized transmission.

RTS(O)-12316A 1750N.m / 1291ft-lb

RTS(O)-14316A 1900N.m / 1401ft-lb

RTS(O)-17316A 2375N.m / 1752ft-lb

Eaton obsoleted this transmission and sold it to Hino (who continues to produce it), replacing it with the current design global market fully synchronized 9, 10, 12 and 13 speed transmissons. Eaton is now redesigning the rear housing of current generation transmission to accept an integrally-mounted Voith retarder.

Note: Voith has been the Eaton/Fuller transmission distributor for Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland since 1999.

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I know alot of guys out west run some type of retarder along with the jake. was only like 83k and flew by them but on the downhill had to get down in the box to hold back with no brake assistance. Those same guys flew by me and I never once saw brake lights. Talked to a buddy of mine on the same haul and thats when he told me they also run retarders

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