GIF is an engineering company specialised in automotive transmission research and development. The transmission experts have 25 years of experience in gearbox and powertrain design, manufacturing and testing and have developed into one of the leading partners of the global automotive industry.
GIF was founded as a spin-off of the Technical University of Aachen in 1986 by Dr. Ulrich Rohs and Dr. Dieter Voigt, two engineers. “The focus was on research and development for transmission systems on behalf of international tier-1 suppliers and vehicle manufacturers,” explains Managing Director Dipl.-Ing. Rolf Laufs.
This focus has not changed: GIF is still concentrating on advanced transmission solutions for passenger cars and commercial vehicles, covering everything from advanced design to serial production. “For many car makers, we are an important extended workbench and an indispensable part of their whole product development chain,” states Mr. Laufs. “Our services also enable our customers to focus on their core competences such as new vehicle design.”
At the end of the 1990s, GIF relocated to new, larger premises in Alsdorf near Aachen to support the company’s uninterrupted growth. The new facilities also enabled GIF to open its own test track for in-vehicle transmission testing of complete vehicles. The German trade journal ‘Automobilindustrie’ (Automobile Industry) ranks GIF among the top 25 of all engineering companies in terms of turnover and the number of employees.
According to expertise in transmission technology, many put the company in first place. “We are a world-leading provider of transmission solutions that has been participating in the development of new technologies for two and a half decades,” Mr. Laufs describes the positioning of the company, which continues to evolve very dynamically.
Recent successful developments include a dual-clutch gearbox and a cone-ring transmission multifunctional powertrain system with high driving dynamics but low fuel consumption. “The cone-ring transmission is an automatic system which is more compact in design, cheaper in manufacturing and lower in fuel consumption than conventional automatic gearboxes,” Mr. Laufs explains the benefits of GIF’s invention. “This makes it particularly suitable for smaller cars.”
GIF’s dual-clutch transmission is designed for and produced by one of the top four Chinese car makers. GIF has a strong international orientation. “Our export share is 40%, with the main foreign markets being Europe and Asia,” states Marketing Manager Martin Börner. To support its international activities, GIF has offices – besides two domestic subsidiaries in Aachen and Wolfsburg – in China, Japan, South Korea and the United States.
GIF offers a comprehensive spectrum of services in the area of transmission technology: transmission design and development, transmission application and calibration, transmission control systems development and modelling, functional and endurance tests of powertrain total or subsystems using combustion engines or electric motors, vibration optimisation of powertrains, measuring and analysis of complete vehicles, test vehicle instrumentation, development and production of electronic measuring equipment as well as automation of test benches and test procedures.
“60% of our sales relate to various testing services: functional tests, noise and vibration tests, endurance tests,” says Mr. Laufs. These tests are performed on 120 specialised, hightech test benches that operate on a 24 hours a day and 365 days a year basis.
In all tests, GIF works closely together with its customers – major automakers and transmission manufacturers worldwide – and combines its own excellent engineering knowhow with the development expertise of its clients. “Our main concern is about sustainable, long-term customer relationships,” states Mr. Laufs. “These are also due to our employees, our main assets.”
To secure qualified new blood, GIF cooperates with its ‘parent,’ the Technical University of Aachen, and offers internships and thesis positions. At the same time, GIF is in close, permanent touch with its customers. “Continuous customer contact and comprehensive services are important, especially in Asia,” explains Mr. Laufs.
Drawing on many years of experience in transmission technology, strong innovative powers and highly loyal, qualified employees, GIF will continue to concentrate on transmission research and development. This will include continued expansion in automotive growth markets in Asia and the development of new solutions for hybrid and electric vehicles.
As an example, GIF is participating in the electric vehicle project StreetScooter, formed by the Technical University Aachen in cooperation with industrial partners.