In the Fall of 2011 we had the pleasure of visiting the JRZ facility in the Netherlands. This is one of the most amazing facilities I have ever laid foot in - it's no surprise that the genius of Jan Zuijdijk paired with amazing technical capabilities result in world class suspension solutions.
JRZ Suspension Engineering was founded in 1994 by J. Zuijdijk to bring a new and revolutionary damping design to the world of motor racing and high performance sports cars. A new design that would eliminate the design flaws of the old school of hydraulic damper design and incorporate newly acquired insights into the complexity of vehicle dynamics and the role of the damper therein.
Having worked for Koni in Research and Development in damping design, Jan Zuijdijk had conceived a firm idea of what needed to be changed on the stagnant approach to damping and handling of race car suspensions and the prominent role the hydraulic damper played in that complex vehicle dynamic system. Jan’s experience comes from a most diverse damper design range including: Formula V, Formula One, prototype sports cars, industrial trucks, buses and wheeled/tracked armoured vehicles. The new JRZ damper had to be different in a sense that the old school approach would be reversed and new insights and experience would prevail in the design of the new JRZ damper.
The parameters for the new damper design would incorporate:
_Instead of putting the emphasis on damping of the sprung mass, focus on damping the un-sprung mass of the suspension.
_Use an inert gas as additional spring and damping medium in combination with the largest possible working area’s of piston and piston rod compression damping.
_Produce lift through the use of gas pressure working on the piston rod area.
_Use an external reservoir to accommodate the largest possible gas oil/gas volume.
_Select the largest possible piston rod diameter for optimal fluid displacement and lifting force.
_Make the damping forces adjustable in both rebound and compression.
_Make the damping forces as effective as possible at piston velocities from 0 to 5 cm or 2 inch per second where it counts.
_Make components interchangeable between different applications.
_Put emphasis on bright color and industrial design.
JRZ Suspension Engineering had a flying start because of the years Jan Zuijdijk spent living and working in the United States. During this time, Jan had built up an extensive list of people in the race and auto industry who knew his reputation. This provided an instant market for the JRZ product. In addition, Zuijdijk still worked with Jack Roush to improve the knowledge of the teams about suspension and damping, testing with the Nascar driver, Mark Martin and as race engineer for the Trans Am team with driver Tom Kendall, winning most of the races in that season.
Another successful development year was spent with the American Equipment Racing team with driver Ron Fellows and team chief/engineer Will Moody. The goal was to develop the Trans Am suspension system into a modern race car suspension. The season was a great success, winning the majority of races.
In Europe JRZ Suspension Engineering was gaining recognition through the cooperation with Alfa Romeo in the DTM with drivers Nicola Larini. Additionally JRZ was selected by Nissan Europe for the racing series in the Spanish competition.
In all applications the result was that the JRZ damping system transformed the handling of race cars manifesting itself in better traction, better lateral grip, faster lap times and reducing tire wear so that the performance of the race tire remained at the same optimal level throughout the race.
It was proof that the JRZ design doctrine worked so well that no matter what application, it resulted without exception in the same positive results.
In the meantime, the JRZ technical staff was extended with engineer Erik Ras. Since 1996, JRZ Suspension Engineering gave students of the Arnhem Technical College the opportunity to spend part of the education as an apprentice in the company. Many of the students found the design and operation of dampers so fascinating that they did their graduating project at JRZ Suspension Engineering. Erik Ras was one of the students who after graduation took a job at JRZ, becoming a member of the JRZ technical staff. At the present time he is shareholder and Chief Operating Officer Worldwide.
It has always been the policy of JRZ Suspension to build the product from machined parts manufactured in The Netherlands.
In 2003, JRZ Suspension Engineering merged with Vovu Metaalbewerking BV, a large machine shop with an ultra-modern machine park, and an extensive quality control facility.
This merger combined design, machining and manufacturing of the JRZ product under one roof, offering the opportunity to manufacture the product from raw material to finished product and enabled JRZ Suspension Engineering access to an almost unlimited production capacity.
In order to increase efficiency, Jan Peters came aboard in 2010 to fill the function of Chief Executive Officer, overseeing order intake, planning and commercial and production activities.