Eaton launches UltraShift Plus transmission line

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Eaton Corp. on Wednesday, Sept. 9, launched its next generation of automated transmissions known as UltraShift Plus. Eaton says the new family of fully automated transmissions features new automated clutch technology and intelligent shift selection software that employs grade sensing, weight computation and driver throttle commands to make intelligent shift decisions for efficient, safe and profitable vehicle performance.

According to Staci Kroon, senior vice president and general manager for Eaton’s Commercial Vehicle Transmission business, Eaton has worked with North American truck makers for the past several years to tailor each UltraShift Plus model into an integrated powertrain configuration that delivers unique and superior value for its intended 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,” Kroon says. “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 added that after combining the six platforms with different ratio sets and custom-designed shift calibrations in the software, “Eaton now provides hundreds of individual configurations designed specifically for the application and powertrain – providing optimum performance, driving ease and fuel economy.”

The new UltraShift Plus transmissions soon will be available for limited-quantity release in a wide variety of heavy-duty truck vocations for all makes and models of heavy-duty trucks manufactured in North America. Full production is expected to begin in 2010.

A total of six new transmission platforms now are available as part of the UltraShift Plus family. The new platform designations, which represent a wide range of new tailored transmission designs, are:

  • Linehaul Active Shifting (LAS) – available in both an overdrive and direct-drive;
  • Multipurpose High Performance (MHP);
  • Multipurpose Extreme Performance (MXP);
  • Vocational Construction Series (VCS);
  • Vocational Multipurpose Series (VMS); and
  • Vocational Extreme Performance (VXP).
  • Eaton says all UltraShift Plus launches and shifts are automated with the use of a new self-adjusting electronic clutch actuator (ECA) for fast, smooth engagements. According to the company, all of the new transmissions also share a Hill Start Aid feature designed to prevent rollbacks on grades; an oil-level sight glass to check fluid levels more easily; six- and eight-bolt PTO availability at no extra cost; and Automatic, Manual and Low mode selections, as well as a Creep feature for significantly improved maneuverability with continuous low-speed control.

    Kroon added that research, development and testing has been going on for UltraShift Plus in the past seven years, and has included more than 25 test fleets throughout North America, logging more than 2,500 months of testing. “The feedback that we have been getting from these fleets has been invaluable,” she says. “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.”

    Additional highlights of the new UltraShift Plus transmissions, according to the company, include:

  • The ease-of-use of a fully automated transmission combined with the safe, assured control of a manual;
  • An installed weight advantage of up to 300 pounds when compared to conventional automatic transmissions;
  • Improved fuel economy in many applications when compared to torque-converted automatic transmissions;
  • No additional cooling requirements over that of manual transmissions;
  • Excellent service and parts availability through the Roadranger Field Marketing organization and every North American truck dealership; and
  • Common components between existing Eaton manual and current UltraShift platforms.