With a new department for pre-development and electronics, Krone Commercial Vehicle Group has created a room for innovations of the future.
Mr Kunz, you are managing the new department for pre-development and electronics at Krone. What drew you to the job? It’s exciting building up a new division and developing innovations that will make the trailer more intelligent. We carry concepts and innovations right through, from the first draft design to the start of production. The subsequent series monitoring allows us to identify quality issues in the field and remedy them for good. We are very entrepreneurial – like a start-up within the company.
Kurt Kunz, born in 1968, studied mechanical engineering/automotive technology and worked at BMW in Munich from 1998 to 2017. There he was head of the motor mechanics trials department, working on pre-development for petrol engines, as well as Chief Engineer, Project Manager and Process Supervisor for construction kits in drive development. He has been managing the Pre-development and Electronics department of Krone Commercial Vehicle Group since October 2017.
What are your current areas of work? Automation, growing customer demands and state regulation are the current trends that we want to help shape – with customer-oriented products that save money and simplify processes. For example, we are working on a tyre management system that measures pressure and temperature and displays the data to the driver in the towing vehicle. At the same time, wear data may be forwarded to the forwarder and the service workshop via a portal using telematics. This facilitates proactive maintenance.
What does digitisation mean to you? It allows new ideas to be implemented because it makes the hardware intelligent. We can collect data and integrate systems in trailers that will tell you how much load space or payload is still available, for example. Digitisation makes it possible to make better use of cargo space by keeping the data flow separate from the goods flow and allowing the entire value creation chain to be controlled centrally. New business models can arise for forwarding companies, as well as for us, if scheduling processes are automated and cargo exchanges are supplied with information in an efficient way.
What matters do you see arising in the future? We see ourselves as being positioned squarely within the role of innovator, and will be thinking about what new things can be brought about through technologies that the customer is perhaps not yet familiar with. The main focus is on digitisation of products. Due to stricter emissions legislation, in the medium term we are also going to be looking at electrification. Increasing cost pressure and a lack of drivers are forcing autonomous transport systems, which will make it necessary to develop corresponding sensor systems, electronics and drives, including in trailers. It is conceivable for a trailer to have its own energy storage system in future, making it independent from the tractor unit.