Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Two US Companies Work Toward More Efficient Freight Truck Powertrains

Gearbox and Turbo Specialist Cooperate on Class 8 Tractor Development
Shipping News Feature
US – Two companies deeply involved with the production of power trains for commercial freight trucks are collaborating to develop a vehicle demonstrator. The companies, VanDyne SuperTurbo and Allison Transmission, plan to mesh together the performance benefits of VanDyne's mechanically driven turbocharger in combination with Allison's TC10® transmission, in a Class 8 tractor unit.

Loveland, Colorado headquartered VanDyne produces a SuperTurbo system which enables engines and vehicles to achieve important emission reduction, realize fuel savings and increase overall performance whilst Indianapolis, Indiana based Allison Transmission is the world's largest manufacturer of fully automatic transmissions for medium and heavy duty commercial vehicles and is a leader in hybrid propulsion systems for city buses.

The pair say that, through the deployment of advanced control techniques, the two technologies will maximise the benefits of engine downspeeding, the phenomenon whereby reducing engine revolutions offers no loss of horsepower at the driving wheels. The primary objective of the collaboration is to demonstrate how the two companies products, when paired with an intelligently controlled vehicle, can reduce carbon dioxide emissions and improve fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance.

Allison’s input sees its fully automatic TC10 combining the company’s torque converter with a unique twin countershaft gear scheme. This combination provides both full power shifts and cruising fuel economy for greater productivity and efficiency. The transmission is ideal for tractor applications and is extremely well-suited for distribution applications where the tractor-trailer splits its work cycle between city and highway conditions.

VanDyne’s SuperTurbo™ utilises a continuously variable transmission coupled with a high speed traction drive to control turbocharger speed and allow for bidirectional torque transfer. Key to the combination with the TC10 is the SuperTurbo's ability to supply on-demand boost pressure which allows the transmission to execute efficient shifts while maintaining beneficial air/fuel ratios and high power levels.

The SuperTurbo acts as a supercharger through transients, using a combination of turbine power and engine power to allow faster rises in engine torque and minimising the need to run at higher engine RPM. These capabilities are further enhanced with the benefits provided by the fully automatic TC10. Additionally, the new control strategy will incorporate predictive shifting with a more responsive engine due to the addition of the SuperTurbo.

Unlocking the full potential of engine downspeeding to maximise vehicle efficiency requires a systems based approach. Allison and VanDyne launched the evaluation of this unique attitude to engine downspeeding in 2015 and this first vehicle demonstrator is the next step in the process and the potential applications being evaluated include long haul, regional haul and city driving conditions.