Heavy Duty Trucking Supplements

Eaton Vocational Transmission News 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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4 VOCATIONAL TRANSMISSION NEWS Applications vocational markets is increased driver alertness. Drivers can focus on their surroundings rather than watching the tachometer and worrying about being in the most appropriate gear. Another beneft of automation is that it allows all drivers to maximize fuel effciency. This has become increasingly important at a time when fewer entry- level drivers have experience driving a manual vehicle of any type. "You're never going to beat an owner-operator who has been driving for 20 years and knows how to drive a manual 18-speed and can see the road ahead of them," says Molly Doyle, automation and vocational sales manager with Eaton. "But when you're talking about owning a feet of 50 dump trucks and you have maybe three drivers that ft the profle, you can expect that the UltraShift PLUS is going to help bring that feet average up." Certain standard features were also engineered into the series with vocational applications in mind. For instance, Creep Mode allows the vehicle to crawl at a slow, steady pace, making it ideal for precision operations such as pouring concrete. There is also Hill Start Aid, which holds the vehicle on a 1% or greater grade for up to 3 seconds, so the driver has suffcient time to accelerate without rolling forward or back. Fleets and owner-operators looking for an automated product can also enjoy peace of mind that they're supported by the Roadranger ® network, and can be serviced at any OEM dealership. And because the UltraShift PLUS is based on a manual gearbox, it is fully integrated with the engine brake for greater control on grades compared to an automatic torque-converter transmission. Doyle also acknowledged feets who've been well served by their manual transmissions might not be eager to make the switch. "If you're confdent in your drivers, you're not having non- warranty maintenance issues or some of the challenges that are causing feets to go to automation, then a manual is still a fantastic option. It's a robust product," Doyle says. "But if you have business needs that are pushing you toward automation, we have just as good of a solution from an automated perspective as we do on the manual side. No other transmission manufacturer can offer you both." Just outside Prince George, British Columbia, a fully-laden timber truck carrying a gross weight of 168,000 pounds crawls deliberately down a 15% grade, its brakes as cool as the driver's demeanor. Logging is just one of the many vocational applications that at one time were thought too rigorous for automated manual transmissions. But in today's automated transmission lineup, Eaton's UltraShift PLUS series includes 47 models so vocational as well as on-highway feets can spec the transmission to their exact needs while also reaping the benefts of automation. The series stays in line with many manual transmission features, such as maintaining the gear ratios, that operators have come to trust. But why weren't earlier automated transmissions widely seen in vocational feets? Eaton says the transformation was possible because of the UltraShift PLUS' electronic clutch actuator, which allows for smoother, more precise shifting, especially at low speeds. According to Ryan Trzybinksi, Eaton's commercial transmission development and product planning manager, the original UltraShift used a centrifugal clutch, meaning that as you sped up the RPMs, the weights inside the clutch would expand outward and the clutch would engage, but that resulted in a rough start on early gears. "The new UltraShift PLUS uses electronic actuation, meaning we can very quickly pull back the bearing, disengage and re- engage, and perform shifts regardless of engine RPM," he says. "This enables you to have smoother and improved low-speed maneuverability." Adding to that, the clutch is a self- adjusting, dual-plate ceramic clutch offering superior durability that also improves shift engagements and low- speed operability. This improved low-speed performance and versatility make the vocational series of UltraShift PLUS appealing in mixer and construction applications, among others, as well as in some of the most rigorous vocations such as logging, oilfeld and other heavy-haul needs. In fact, the 18-speed UltraShift PLUS VXP (Vocational Extreme Performance) has no GVW limitations. Eaton has been demonstrating the UltraShift PLUS capabilities at its Michigan test track. "One of the trucks we run in our test environment is loaded to 140,000 pounds (63,500 kilograms) and we can go heavier than that," Trzybinski explains. "The heavy- haul drivers and feet owners that come in here and drive that truck on a 15% grade, stop it, back it up the hill and stop it again, really see the value." Signifcant Benefts One of the obvious benefts of an automated manual transmission in You Can Do What With That? Automated manual transmissions aren't just an on-highway solution. See the full transmission lineup at www.Roadranger.com/transmissions

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