Eaton Corporation unveiled two new automatic transmissions recently in Kalamazoo, as part of a two-day trade event organized by Roadranger.
The new transmissions are designed for heavy-duty linehaul and medium duty pickup & delivery, service/utility and recovery applications.
The Fuller UltraShift LHP (Linehaul High Performance) transmission, part of Eaton’s heavy-duty UltraShift family, was specifically designed for on-highway applications where superior low-end and high-end performance, as well as excellent ratio coverage, is required to handle varying terrain and load conditions. Based on the Fuller “RT” transmission, the UltraShift LHP provides fully automatic “two-pedal” operation, and is capable of handling torque capacities up to 1,750 lbs/ft. and loads up to 110,000 lbs. gross combined weight (GCW).
“Although the LHP is aimed at the high-performance segment of the market, it offers the same benefits as the rest of the UltraShift family including improved driver comfort and satisfaction, simplified driver recruitment and reduced training costs, reduced maintenance costs and increased uptime,” claimed Scott Steurer, product line manager for Heavy Duty Transmission – Performance/Vocational.
The LHP has 13 speeds plus a selectable low starting gear of 12.2:1, which has been designated by an “L” in the model nomenclature. In addition to these 14 gears, the LHP includes progressive gearing, that provides gathered ratios in the low-end and high-end gears for start-ability and better operating efficiency. These “gathered gears” enable the engine to operate within a tighter RPM range, thus permitting a more efficient use of available power. Moreover, the LHP’s three reverse gears aim to provide enough maneuvering flexibility to take the stress out of backing-up and trailer hookup.
Steurer went on to stress that, “although the LHP has been called a 13-speed, we want our manual 13-speed customers to understand that this transmission is purpose-built for highway performance, and is not intended for extensive off road use.”
The UltraShift transmission incorporates an advanced shift-by-wire system, utilizing SAE-J1939 protocol to communicate with electronic engines, allowing precise control of engine and transmission functions. The Eaton Fuller UltraShift totally eliminates mechanical lever shifting and the mechanical clutch pedal, providing smooth, automatic shifting and vehicle launches, giving the driver the ability to maintain better vehicle control, and allowing both hands on the wheel at all times.
Eaton officials were equally enthusiastic about their new automated transmission for the medium-duty market, suggesting even that they expect it to give Allison a run for its money.
“The UltraShift HV has been designed to deliver fuel savings superior to its competitors by allowing the engine to consistently operate in the most fuel-efficient portion of the performance curve,” said Bill Gross, product manager for Eaton’s medium-duty transmissions. Gross explained that an automated mechanical transmission is inherently more fuel-efficient than a planetary-geared transmission with a torque converter, and cited preliminary results from a recently completed fuel economy study performed by an independent testing laboratory. “More testing is required, and we won’t release our results until the HV is in volume production, but I can tell you that our early results are very encouraging, indicating a substantial fuel economy advantage in an urban duty cycle as compared to a torque-converted transmission of the same capacity,” said Gross.
The HV is designed for Class 6 and 7 vehicles with diesel engines in the 195 to 260 horsepower range, and is capable of handling torque capacities up to 660 lbs-ft. and loads up to 33,000 lbs. GVW. Pickup & delivery, service/utility and recovery applications are ideally suited for the operational characteristics of the UltraShift HV.
One of the most interesting features of the new HV is its “Hill Assist” function. Hill Assist automatically minimizes rollback on up to 10 per cent grades while the operator makes the transition from the brake pedal to the accelerator.