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Broader reach for the “Smart Advantage” powertrain package


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Fleet Owner / March 10, 2014

Cummins and Eaton are expanding the range of their joint “Smart Advantage” powertrain by adding Cummins’ ISX12 diesel engine to the mix and boosting the existing ISX15 Smart Advantage combination to include 110,000 lb. gross vehicle weight (GVW) applications.

For natural gas engines, Eaton is joining forces with Cummins Westport – a joint-venture between Cummins and Canada’s Westport Innovations – to offer an integrated powertrain package combining the Cummins Westport ISX12 G engine and Eaton’s UltraShift PLUS automated manual transmission (AMT).

“We’ve really only touch the tip of the iceberg with this,” noted Lori Thompson, VP-truck and bus OEM business at Cummins, who characterized those new joint powertrain offerings as “Collaboration 2.0” during a press conference here at the 2014 Technology & Maintenance Council annual meeting.

John Beering, senior VP and GM of the commercial vehicle transmission business at Eaton, said that Canadian fleets in particular pushed for the higher 110,000 lbs. GVW for the Smart Advantage package combining the ISX 15 and Eaton’s Fuller Advantage AMT – a combination he said is delivering 3% to 6% better fuel economy for users – and should be available later this year.

The new “Smart Advantage” package linking the ISX 12 and a 10-speed Eaton Fuller AMT is being aimed at the regional haul market, is expected to deliver fuel gains ranging from 2% to 4%, and will be available in the fall of 2014.

Beering told Fleet Owner that what makes Eaton’s collaboration with Cummins “so exciting” when it comes to such integrated powertrains is that it unlocks “the art of the possible” in terms of improving truck performance.

“We’re watching our technical tams come up with new ideas and insights that manifest themselves into fuel savings and other operational benefits,” he explained.

“We also now have 80 customers across the U.S. using these integrated powertrains – large and small fleets alike across a range of applications – and in some cases they are exceeding the fuel economy gains we projected in real-world operations,” Beering pointed out. “So we’re seeing that ‘window’ of fuel economy savings hold true and that’s generating a lot of positive word-of-mouth; that matters a lot in this industry.”

Other features of the new ISX12/Fuller AMT combination include:

  • A new small-ratio-step overdrive with two new Cummins ISX12 “SmartTorque2” ratings: the ISX12 370ST2, cranking out 370 hp and 1,150 lb.-ft. to 1,450 lb.-ft. worth of torque, plus the ISX12 425ST2, generating 425 hp and 1,350 lb.-ft. to 1,650 lb.-ft. of torque;
  • Optimized engine and transmission communications and new control logic, enabling further engine “down-speeding” in the overdrive position;
  • Lower overall package weight of 82 lbs. via eliminating the transmission cooler in combination with the use of aluminum for the rear transmission housing, range cylinder, shift bar housing and the shift tower, plus a thin-wall cast-iron main case design;
  • A precision lubrication system for precise and efficient transmission lubrication further enhances fuel economy by reducing churning losses. The amount of transmission oil is also reduced from 24 to 17 gallons;
  • Vehicle Acceleration Management (VAM), a patented Cummins electronic feature, to manage vehicle acceleration for smoother shifting while generating fuel economy benefits in stop-and-go duty cycles found in regional haul applications.

On the natural gas side, Eaton is combining both a 10-speed and 13-speed UltraShift PLUS AMT with the spark-ignited Cummins Westport ISX12G engine fired by either compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) ; a package that should be available by mid-2014 in limited application release for linehaul and regional haul operations, said Beering.

The ISX12G will be offered in this integrated powertrain package with ratings of 320 to 400 hp and up to 1,450 lb.-ft. of peak torque. Benefits touted for the integration of the UltraShift PLUS with the ISX12G include:

  • More “intelligent” shift selection software for performance and efficiency improvements;
  • Better launch and shift decisions through grade sensing, weight computation and driver throttle commands;
  • Hill Start Aid, which prevents rollbacks when engaged, reduces risk and simplifies operations for even the most inexperienced drivers;
  • Tailored shift logic enables efficient operation and enhances braking performance.

“Basically, we anticipate fleets will see the same benefits of using an UltraShift in combination with a natural gas engine as they would with a diesel engine,” Beering noted.

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Eaton, Cummins broaden powertrain collaboration

Truck News / March 10, 2014

Eaton and Cummins have expanded their SmartAdvantage integrated powertrain offerings.

The companies have approved the ISX15 SmartAdvantage - consisting of the Cummins ISX15 engine coupled with the UltraShift Plus automated manual transmission - for applications of up to 110,000 lb GVWR. This should increase interest in the package in Canada.

The companies also expanded the SmartAdvantage package to include the ISX12 engine, offering a lighter-weight option to fleets. And Cummins announced Eaton’s UltraShift Plus is now approved for use with its ISX12 G natural gas engine.

“We are proud to be able to offer North American fleet customers the first automated transmission to be integrated with a spark-ignited natural gas engine, which shows the level of customer commitment our teams are focused on providing,” said John Beering, senior vice-president and general manager, commercial vehicle transmission business, Eaton. “We are confident that our customers will find this powertrain an excellent value compared with other automatic transmission alternatives.”

Eaton and Cummins first announced their integrated powertrain offering at last year’s Technology & Maintenance Council meetings. Since then, 80 fleets have chosen the package and are seeing fuel savings of 3-6%, the companies claim.

“The common feedback has been one of supreme satisfaction,” Beering said at a media update here Sunday. “The real world experience operators are seeing not only validates the expected fuel economy performance we promised the industry a year ago, but in many cases exceeds our expectations.”

Fuel savings are achieved by optimizing the programming of the engine and transmission and by reducing weight. Eaton has taken about 80 lbs out of the transmission by eliminating the oil cooler and using more aluminum parts.

The low-end torque of the ISX15 allows it to spend more time running in the sweet spot, achieving fuel economy that in many cases exceeds that of smaller displacement engines, said Lori Thompson, Cummins vice-president, truck and bus OEM business.

“People think that a 12- or 13-litre engine, because of its size, has better fuel efficiency (than a 15-litre) but that is far from the truth,” she said. “The Cummins 15-litre engine is the most fuel-efficient engine in the market.”

The higher low-end torque produced by the ISX15 allows for the engine to cruise at about 1,150 rpm at highway speeds, contributing to its fuel economy performance.

The ISX12 SmartAdvantage Powertrain will be available in the second half of 2014. The UltraShift Plus 10- and 13-speed transmissions will be permitted with the ISX12 G natural gas engine beginning mid-year 2014.

“The latest SmartAdvantage Powertrain offerings are a natural extension of the initial product, and will provide customers with the fuel economy and productivity improvements they desire, along with a broad range of applications to meet their specific hauling needs,” Thompson said.

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