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ZF highest technology at METS 2017

ZF highest technology

ZF highest technology Supershift 2 integrates the highest technology with superior performances and comfort to assure the best boating experience

SPP is the technology leading edge in propulsion and manoeuvring for sailboats

New i-Drift technology offers the ability to control drift speed and direction when the vessel is in windy conditions and or active current – all while maintaining the bow’s heading.

ZF Marine and Special Driveline Technology Business Unit presented the improved gearbox shifting functionality “Supershift 2”, ZF SPP Sailboat Maneuvering System, the new i-Drift technology and the new propulsion concept “Project Disruption” at METS 2017.

Supershift 2 is a new feature of ZF Padova gearboxes integrating highest technology with superior performances and comfort to give the best boating experience. This latest shift technology sets a new benchmark with its quicker shifting and high levels of smoothness and control. Unlike other commercially available marine transmissions, the Supershift 2 negates the need for an additional hydraulic circuit through its enhanced clutch pack configuration and efficient hydraulic system, creating a simple and robust design.


  • 35% faster clutch engagement
  • 30% less engine RPM drop
  • Improved hydraulics for smoother shifting
  • No secondary hydraulic shifting
  • Simple and robust design.


The evolution of sailboat cruising has significantly increased the demands expected from today’s propulsion systems. Today’s enthusiasts are looking for the most performing but yet comfortable and user-friendly system. Sailboat manufacturers need to have reliable propulsion partners in order to provide sophisticated systems which answer this demand for increased performances and at the same time ensure the ease and pleasure of sail boating.

The performance requirements to move bigger sailboats in tight waterways and dock in restricted slips with all weather conditions call for the most innovative and reliable system, which can assist the sailorman when cruising and manoeuvring.

ZF SPP is an integrated system developed by ZF Marine which makes docking your sailboat as easy as parking your car thanks to joystick manoeuvring.

The ZF SPP’s main features are:

  • Integrated transmission and electronic controls system
  • Horsepower capacity for the today‘s most popular Engines for sailboats
  • Steering sail drive transmission, available Ratio: 2.5
  • Intuitive Joystick Maneuvering combining in the most efficient way the complete rotation of the submerged leg together with engine rpm and the bow thruster operation
  • Ease of installation and maintenance as for a standard sailboat transmission
  • Latest electronic technology, plug and play components and electric pre-wired parts
  • Can be supplied with zinc anodes for sea waters and with magnesium anodes for fresh waters
  • Special “back home” feature as a safety redundancy in case of failures.

Today the system is available up to 80hp, but ZF Marine is completing a new version of the product up to 150 hp, whose launch is foreseen within the summer next year.

I-DRIFT, a new feature of our joystick manoeuvring system, is a clear evidence of how ZF Marine tries to be one step ahead in the ongoing digital evolution,” commented Federico Decio, Head of Pleasure Craft worldwide organization. “It fully represents ZF Group vision: SEE – THINK – ACT. Today ZF is most known for its gearboxes, but the future is digital and connected and ZF Marine, consistently with its role of technological leader, wants to actively shape the mobility of tomorrow.” The new i-Drift technology is thought for customers dedicated to fishing and offers them the ability to control drift speed and direction when the vessel is in windy conditions and or active current – all while maintaining the bow’s heading.

i-Drift gives 2 ways of control:

  • – in the free drift, the boat can drift free at the stream speed while keeping the bow in the initial desired direction.
  • – in the controlled drift mode, the boat can drift at a selected speed and direction, while keeping the bow in the desired direction.

By setting only the Surge control, the boat will still drift in the «free» direction, but controlling the speed as a breaking function and of course keeping bow heading. If also the Sway controls is activated, then in addition to speed and bow heading, also the drifting direction is controlled.

The Project Disruption concept allows shaftline boat builders to harness the benefits of contra-rotating propellers, including increased efficiency, acceleration and reverse authority. The new propulsion concept introduces contra-rotating technology to conventional inboard shaftline applications. It is intended to interface with a standard ZF marine transmission, is comprised of a strut-housed underwater gearbox which transmits power to two contra-rotating propellers.

In addition to providing increased efficiency and acceleration, Project Disruption’s contra-rotating propellers will allow boat builders to consider a wider range of transmission ratios than what is possible today given propeller sizing constraints for single propeller shaftlines.

This will allow naval architects the opportunity to better optimize the propeller to gear ratio relationship depending on vessel application and loads. The contra-rotating propellers will also offer improved reversing performance and low-speed manoeuvring by eliminating the propeller torque that currently affects single shaftline applications.

While initially sized for tow sports boats, the concept could be scalable to larger propulsion packages, or hybrid systems for a multitude of vessel applications.