Eaton breaks new ground with automated transmission lineup

Eaton breaks new ground with automated transmission lineup

Eaton Corp. rolled out a complete lineup of new automated manual transmissions that provides broad coverage for vocational Class 8 trucks as well as linehaulers here yesterday at its proving grounds. The features of the two-pedal transmissions were demonstrated to the trade media via a ride-and-drive event that included highway and vocational trucks equipped with each new transmission model

MARSHALL, MI. Eaton Corp. rolled out a complete lineup of new automated manual transmissions that provides broad coverage for vocational Class 8 trucks as well as linehaulers here yesterday at its proving grounds. The features of the two-pedal transmissions were demonstrated to the trade media via a ride-and-drive event that included highway and vocational trucks equipped with each new transmission model.

Dubbed UltraShift Plus, the product family includes a new automated manual for over-the-road rigs, but most significantly it boasts five other distinct units that taken together will cover nearly every on/off-road and vocational Class 8 truck application at work in North America, according to Eaton.

Eaton described the new units as fully automated transmissions and said each boasts new automated clutch technology coupled with “intelligent shift selection” software that takes into account grade sensing, weight computation, and driver throttle commands to ensure “automated intelligent shift decisions for efficient, safe and profitable vehicle performance.”

According to Staci Kroon, senior vp & gm of Eaton’s Commercial Vehicle Transmission business, Eaton has been researching and developing the product family over the past seven years “to tailor each UltraShift Plus model into an integrated powertrain configuration” for its intended highway or vocational application.

“The many different models reflect our commitment to now offer the trucking industry the best possible automated transmission solution for a variety of applications,” said Kroon. “We have taken into account customer feedback, industry demands and field testing data, and designed these transmissions to offer our customers the perfect solution for use in virtually any vocation.”

She noted that by combining the six platforms with different ratio sets and custom shift calibrations in the software, Eaton can provide “hundreds of individual configurations designed specifically for the application and powertrain – providing optimum performance, driving ease and fuel economy.”

Kroon told FleetOwner that about the only Class 8 vocation not covered by the offerings is refuse trucks, which are typically equipped with torque-converted automatic transmissions due to their extreme stop-and-go duty cycles.

The UltraShift Plus family is slated to enter full production next year, but will soon be available for limited release in a variety of heavy-duty trucks. Kroon told FleetOwner that while an announcement about the first OEM to offer the UltraShift Plus is in the offing, Eaton recognizes that truck OEMs have a lot on their plates right now finalizing vehicle engineering for 2010 engines.

Kroon added that R&D efforts have included the participation of more than 25 test fleets. “The feedback that we have been getting from these fleets has been invaluable,” she said “And now that we are ready for production, the favorable reviews and requests for orders tells us we are right where we want to be with these new transmissions.”

The six platform designations within the Ultra Shift Plus family are:

  • Linehaul Active Shifting (LAS), in either overdrive or direct drive
  • Multipurpose High Performance (MHP)

  • Multipurpose Extreme Performance (MXP)

  • Vocational Construction Series (VCS)

  • Vocational Multipurpose Series (VMS)

  • Vocational Extreme Performance (VXP)

According to Eaton, key features of all six transmissions are “launches and shifts that are automated with the use of a new self-adjusting electronic clutch actuator (ECA) for fast, smooth engagements;” a unique “Hill Start Aid” that prevents rollbacks on grades; and a “Creep” feature for “significantly improved maneuverability with continuous low-speed control.” The transmissions also provide an oil-level sight glass for easily checking fluid levels; six- and eight-bolt PTO availability at no extra cost; and Automatic, Manual and Low mode selections.

Other benefits claimed by Eaton include:

  • Installed weight advantage of up to 300 lbs when compared to torque-converted automatic transmissions
  • Improved fuel economy in many applications when compared to torque-converted automatic transmissions.
  • No additional cooling requirements over that of manual transmissions
  • Common components between Eaton manual and current UltraShift platforms
  • Service and parts availability through the Roadranger Field Marketing organization and North American truck dealerships.

For more information on Eaton UltraShift Plus transmissions, go to www.roadranger.com.

View promotional videos on the new transmissions produced and provided by Eaton.

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