Cummins, Eaton collaborate on new powertrain

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Eaton and Cummins have collaborated on an integrated powertrain that combines enhanced versions of their newest products, the Eaton Fuller Advantage (FA) Series UltraShift Plus transmission and Cummins ISX15 engine with SmartTorque 2 ratings.

The combination will be offered beginning in the fall and will be available through any OEM that chooses to offer it. The two companies announced the new powertrain package at a press conference preceding the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) meetings, claiming customers will see a 3-6% fuel economy improvement over current engine/transmission combinations.

Both the Eaton UltraShift Plus transmission and Cummins ISX15 engine have undergone enhancements to optimize their performance together. On the transmission side, the UltraShift Plus FA Series will weigh 75 lbs less than today’s version, thanks to the use of aluminum parts and a newly developed precision lubrication system that eliminates the need for an oil cooler.

The ISX15 will debut SmartTorque2, which allows operators to stay in the top gears longer, by providing an additional 200 lb.-ft. of torque when needed. The ISX15 in this powertrain package will be available with two new ratings: 415 ST2, with 1,450-1,650 lb.-ft. of torque and the 450 ST2, with 1,550-1,750 lb.-ft. of torque.

Also new to the ISX15 is a vehicle acceleration management (VAM) system, which provides only the power necessary to get up to speed, allowing for smoother shifting and fuel savings. Lori Thompson, vice-president, truck and bus OEM business with Cummins, said VAM “manages the acceleration rate as a function of vehicle speed…the driver will get to road speed at about the same time when VAM is enabled, but acceleration is smoother and of course that means better fuel economy.”

In addition to fuel savings and smoother shifting, Thomspon said VAM will reduce driveline impact and preserve tires due to the smoother, more controlled acceleration.

The 3-6% fuel savings cited by Eaton and Cummins will vary, depending on which current engine/transmission combination it is being benchmarked against.

The heightened level of integration between Cummins and Eaton products is no doubt inspired by vertical integration and the move towards fully integrated powertrains.

“Cummins and Eaton have had an extensive technical and business relationship over the years, in which we have collaborated on powertrain solutions for the North American on-highway markets that we serve,” said Thompson. “This latest chapter in our partnership combines some of the best technologies from both companies, and makes them smarter, delivering the level of fuel economy improvements that our customers have come to expect.”

”The collaboration between the Eaton and Cummins teams has resulted in a superior powertrain package with which both fleet owners and professional drivers will be thrilled,” added Tim Sinden, president, North American truck operations, Eaton’s Vehicle Group. “The level of integration between this transmission and engine is best in class in the North American heavy-duty truck market.”

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  • In higher powered engines such as the 1850 and 2050 ft lb versions of the ISX15, or even the current 1650/1850 SmartTorque2 engine, would it not be possible to add the VAM feature to Ultra+MXP or MHP combinations? Except for the lower torque-rated transmission itself, it would appear to require just a software revision to accomplish. Is Eaton expected to offer such a revision? It would seem that the improved torque modulation would be of even greater value to operators of those units. I know for myself, I’m not really interested in super quick acceleration (it just costs $$$) but I do value the higher torque engines for their pulling power and ability to maintain set speeds at cruise at highway speeds. What say you?