Eaton debuts UltraShift Plus automated trannys

Eaton says more than seven years of research and development -- including intense feedback from more than 25 test fleets throughout North America -- have gone into the development of the UltraShift Plus line.Eaton says more than seven years of research and development -- including intense feedback from more than 25 test fleets throughout North America -- have gone into the development of the UltraShift Plus line.

Eaton’s new family of UltraShift Plus automated transmissions share basic design platforms and components with the company’s previous generation UltraShift transmissions. But according to Staci Kroon, senior vice president and general manager for Eaton’s Commercial Vehicle Transmission division, the UltraShift Plus family represents a “quantum leap” forward in terms of safety, reliability and efficiency for heavy-duty truck fleets engaged in long-haul, regional and urban delivery, as well as vocational and severe-service construction, mining and forestry applications.

Key to these productivity boosts, according to the company, are a host of all-new features, including automated clutch technology and intelligent shift selection software that employs grade-sensing, vehicle weight computation and driver throttle command monitoring to make intelligent shift decisions in a wide variety of driving situations and terrain types. Drivers also have the option of quickly and easily switching to manual mode should conditions demand greater control of gear selections.

The UltraShift Plus family includes six specialized transmission models:

•Linehaul Active Shifting (LAS), available in both an overdrive and direct-drive version;
•Multipurpose High Performance (MHP);
•Multipurpose Extreme Performance (MXP);
•Vocational Construction Series (VCS);
•Vocational Multipurpose Series (VMS); and
•Vocational Extreme Performance (VXP).

All six models have truck launches and shift points automated with a new self-adjusting electronic shift actuator for fast, smooth gear engagements. Additionally, all UltraShift Plus transmissions easily can be reconfigured by a trained technician – usually in 10 minutes or so, according to Eaton engineers – to ensure on-demand optimum performance for any application. Naturally, returning the transmission to its original performance parameters is just as easy.

In addition to being highly productive transmissions, the UltraShift Plus family also incorporates several safety-enhancing features. For example, Hill Start Aid holds the truck in place without any vehicle rollback for 3 seconds after the driver releases the service brakes – even fully loaded on grades up to 25 percent. The enhanced “creep” mode assures smooth, steady and safe low-speed vehicle steering in both forward and reverse gears – even backing loaded mixers down a 30 percent grade without any throttle inputs from the driver.
Other UltraShift Plus transmission features, according to Eaton, include:

•Torque capacities ranging from 1,450 to 2,250 lb-ft;
•An installed weight advantage of up to 300 pounds compared to other automated transmissions;
•Improved fuel economy – up to 23 percent in urban applications; and
•No additional cooling requirements over that of manual transmissions.
Eaton says the UltraShift Plus will enter full production in 2010.