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Water damage restoration in production operations After the severe flooding at the automotive supplier ZF in Passau

Damage management in extreme situations

The case and the facts

  • In June 2013, after days of heavy rainfall, the ‘flood of the century’ occurred in the Alpine and Danube region. In Passau, the level of the Danube reached the 12.89 m mark, 69 cm higher than the Danube flood of 1954.
  • The ZF Friedrichshafen AG location in Passau was hugely affected by the high water level. It flooded warehouse and service areas, as well as workshops with machines for maintenance.



Act fast, minimise subsequent damage

A force of nature such as a severe flood is practically unstoppable. What makes the difference is quick and professional damage management in this extreme situation. This is the only way to minimise serious and expensive subsequent damage. In the case of ZF in Passau, the BELFOR and BELFOR DeHaDe team concentrated on the three areas of buildings, stock items and machinery maintenance. A stroke of luck was that the ZF production area was saved from direct flooding by 5 cm. Nevertheless, there was a lot of work to be done by the 70-person restoration team!

BELFOR and BELFOR DeHaDe in action at ZF 

  • BELFOR was active at ZF in Passau from 6 June 2013, BELFOR DeHaDe from 12 June 2013.
  • The areas for restoration were the buildings, stock items and machinery maintenance.
  • On 7 June 2013, BELFOR installed the first row of ultrasonic dipping baths and restoration of the stock items started the next day.
  • Up to the end of July 2013, 70 people were involved in the restoration; the drying measures continued thereafter.

„Do the right things fast when damages occur: In Passau, the measures taken by ZF and BELFOR were highly effective."
Günter Spitzlay, BELFOR Deutschland

Dipping bath lines save warehouse stock

Items salvaged from the warehouse area had to be restored and protected against corrosion. To achieve this, several rows of mobile dipping baths (ultrasonic cleaning lines) were established using a crane and put into action, initially even in a closed plastic tent with a dryer unit to prevent renewed formation of flash rust. 

Warenvorräte werden im Tauchbad gereinigt
Stock items are restored in the dipping bath
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Before restoration
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After restoration


Industrial dryers to combat corrosion

Uncontrolled moisture is like poison to machines,components and finished products made from metal. Industrial dryers were set up in the large production and storage halls to dry surfaces, reduce the relative humidity, and prevent corrosion and other subsequent damage.

Restoration of the machine maintenance area 

Machines in the ZF maintenance area were also affected by the flooding. Five test benches, an oil supply, various smaller machines and a cleaning line were restored by the experts from BELFOR DeHaDe.

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XXL dryers were installed in the large production and storage halls

Disassemble, restore, dry - and start operation again! 

From removal of the metres of mud on the premises to disassembly in the building sector, precise restoration and corrosion protection – expertise, experience and the right measures at the right time are required when damages occur. This was successful at ZF, and production was ready to commence again after just a few days.



  • ZF is a global leader in driveline and chassis technology as well as active and passive safety technology.

  • The company has a global workforce of around 137,000 with approximately 230 locations in some 40 countries.

  • At the affected location, ZF Friedrichshafen AG in Passau, more than 200 employees ensure quick maintenance of vehicles (cars, agricultural machinery) in the service operation.
  • Over 44,000 parts for repairs are stored in the spare parts warehouse at the location.
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