The story of ZF Serbia began in 2018, when the foundations of this important greenfield site of ZF’s youngest and innovation-driving E mobility division were laid in the city of Pančevo, in Vojvodina, Serbia
ZF was then already leading the transformation to new mobility and taking major steps to advance new technologies and products, with the strong conviction that electromobility is the future of the automotive industry, and all strategic decisions were made with the aim of developing, expanding and accelerating this change.
With ambitious future plans, ZF decided to come to Serbia and invest in a new production site, and by the time this modern production facility was officially opened, in June 2019, the investment had already increased and the extension of the plant and research & development centre were already under construction.
A significant investment of 160 million euros was agreed for the construction of phases I and II of the Pančevo plant, as an expansion of ZF’s global production network, and additional funds amounting to 35.6 million euros were allocated in the second phase of the investment for the construction and equipping of the ZF Serbia engineering centre Pančevo.
This marked the biggest German investment in Serbia, initiated the new industrial zone in Pančevo and was a signal for other investors to come to Serbia. ZF understood and recognised the positive change in the investment climate, local efforts that will secure long-term political and economic stability, and also adequate infrastructure and workforce potential, but also the most important factor: the existence of credible and consistent local and national government support and understanding that will enable the desired progress of this project.
Today, just three years on, we can have a realistic view of the impressive results that ZF Serbia has achieved here and state that this location is an evident example of strategic thinking, correct decision making, great visons, promises kept and the joint effort of ZF team members and successful cooperation, but also great friendship between Serbia and Germany, company ZF and the City of Pančevo, which will continue through new plans and future challenges.
ZF Serbia’s Pančevo location is today the biggest E-mobility location outside Germany, covering the entire design and production process from the first customer product to serial production, bringing the advantages of all those processes being instigated at the same time and in the same location. The growing team of highly skilled, trained and educated employees at this 58,000m2 production facility is currently working mainly on the production of starter generators for Volvo vehicles, electric motors for the third generation of hybrid transmissions for BMW and electric axle drives for Mercedes-Benz. Furthermore, microswitches and gear shift systems are also produced at the Pančevo plant.
The state-of-the-art engineering centre, comprising 3,000m2 of office space and 3,600m2 of its high-tech testing area, currently employees 100 engineers. A cross-functional engineering team deals with the development of new products of the Division Electrified Powertrain Technology, the design of electric motors, the development of electric axle drives, as well as software calibration, testing and validation.
Within the scope of the testing centre, in which approximately €20 million has been invested for modern testing equipment, there are 16 test rooms for testing and verifying electric motors, as well as endurance and performance tests in active and passive operations, but also for validating the overall system. It was in January 2021 that the first tests began being conducted at in this most modern research centre in Serbia, and they have been in operation ever since, while also supporting serial production at the Pančevo Plant.
The ZF Serbia Pančevo plant, together with the associated research & development centre, currently employs close to a thousand people.
We, as the new E Division, are convinced that now is the time to put sustainable mobility at the heart of everything we do. We contribute by electrifying mobility globally, with ZF technology inside.
Our goal is very clear: for us to become a world leading company in electrified mobility!
WORD FROM THE MANAGEMENT
ZF Serbia, Managing Director – Technical
The Engineering centre in Pančevo is the final improvement of this ZF location. On the one hand, we have current serial production, while on the other, we now have everything in one place. This is authentic for us and a great opportunity for the location in Pančevo.
Here we have a young team that’s motivated, well-educated and able to absorb the knowledge of new technologies, which is why ZF is developing the location faster and into more areas than what we initially intended. We are now a complete plant, we are able – from the first contact of a customer, via development and production – to deliver everything to any automotive customer with regard to E-mobility, and that’s something we didn’t initially think we would be able to achieve so quickly, after just two or three years.
ZF Serbia, Managing Director – Technical
We have invested significant resources and all our knowledge, provided support for this project to proceed at incredible speed and, realistically, have managed to do more than we planned. ZF is the most modern trend in the automotive industry. This has been recognised by our clients, partners, employees, the entire company and the division within which we operate.
We now know that ZF’s innovative and courageous vision of the future and well-conceived strategy have yielded results and we remain on the right track as inspirers and leaders of change when it comes to the development of the automotive industry.
ZF is a global technology company that supplies systems for passenger cars, commercial vehicles and industrial technology, enabling the next generation of mobility.
With its comprehensive technology portfolio, the company offers integrated solutions for established vehicle manufacturers, mobility providers and start-up companies in the fields of transportation and mobility. ZF continually enhances its systems in the areas of digital connectivity and automation in order to allow vehicles to see, think and act.
The company has a global workforce of 153,500, with 271 locations in 42 countries. In 2020, ZF achieved sales of €32.6 billion.
Founded in 1915, ZF has evolved from a supplier specialising in aviation technology to a global mobility technology company. With the acquisition of WABCO, the company significantly increased its competence, especially in the field of technology for heavy commercial vehicles, buses and trailers. ZF last year spent more than seven per cent of its turnover from sales on research and development.
With its innovative portfolio, ZF focuses on “Next Generation Mobility” for passenger cars, commercial vehicles and industrial applications. Group shareholders include the Zeppelin Foundation, administered by the City of Friedrichshafen, holding 93.8% of shares, and the Dr Jürgen and Irmgard Ulderup Foundation, Lemförde, with 6.2%.