Efficiency Drives Transmission Developments

An important part of construction equipment is the transmission. The vehicle’s functionality is greatly influenced by the transmission’s capabilities when it comes to productivity and overall equipment efficiency, particularly in high-frequency and heavy applications. The transmission determines the worth of the equipment, whether it is used for piling or heavily loaded transportation. To meet the changing needs of the construction equipment user market, equipment OEMs in India are currently looking for more effective and creative transmission solutions. The need for better technologies and solutions has arisen as a result of the mining industry’s slow recovery and the construction industry’s recent upswing. These factors require the equipment to operate in a faster, more productive, and more efficient manner.

The vehicle's usefulness must be supported by the transmission's capabilities, particularly when using high-frequency forward and reverse. The transmission, with its high functionality and efficiency, determines the value of the machine in sensitive piling and loading operations as well as in heavy-loaded transportation. The best efficiency of the entire machine in its application is ensured by electronic systems, which also ensure ideal operating conditions for the engine and gearbox. In comparison to conventional systems like power shift transmission, technologies like IVT (infinitely variable transmission) are promising possible decreases in fuel usage.

The transmission system plays a vital role in equipment as the gearbox determines the performance and robustness of the equipment. The key components in a drive line of the construction equipment transmission system are front and rear axles with planetary gears, differential brakes, transmission shaft, clutch, and torque converters.

There is a need for effective machinery and equipment because there are so many infrastructure projects in the works. Larger contractors in particular are searching for equipment that is outfitted with cutting-edge technologies and solutions that may aid in executing the project effectively and on schedule. The equipment or vehicle's operating system heavily relies on the automatic transmission. Major providers of transmission solutions are interested in the Indian market because of the growth prospects there for their services and products. With its local production facility in India, the leading Italian provider of transmission solutions, Bonfiglioli Transmissions, has a stronger focus on the Indian market. The business is completely prepared to meet the nation's construction equipment market's rising demand for transmission solutions.

ZF is one of the technology and innovation leaders worldwide providing effective transmission products and solutions to construction equipment OEMs. 

Over time, monitoring and control systems have demonstrated their value in ensuring that projects use equipment productively and efficiently. Trimble is a significant player in the market for monitoring and control products and solutions used in construction equipment to ensure maximum equipment utilisation and increase efficiency and economics.

AVL has developed all types of transmissions such as the manual, automated manual, automatic and double clutch.

Using the TransMobil system to monitor and manage different kinds of machines is successful. On the monitor screen, data from the cars is regularly shown. This makes it possible to manage people and resources effectively, which is important for construction businesses among other things. You may manage the working hours of machine operators and confirm that the tasks were completed as ordered by continuously monitoring vehicles using GPS and GSM technologies. You may lower fleet maintenance costs by having the option of tracking fuel usage, and ongoing monitoring improves worker and equipment safety. The overall management procedure can be greatly enhanced by fusing data coming from the onboard computer, fuel probes, or other sensors with data from hours-counting software.

Power transmission systems and assemblies for construction equipment, trucks, and dumpers being produced in the nation have undergone extensive hybridisation and are currently being equipped with automatic features. It's interesting to note that OE supplies are quickly adopting electronic sensing to guarantee multi-mode power delivery, telematics tracking, and built-in diagnostics capabilities as standard equipment. This business has now advanced its performance offers to a new level thanks to the desire to be lightweight and support fuel efficiency.

Suresh KV, President for ZF in India, says, “ZF’s transmissions play a very important role in the well-functioning of off-highway equipment at different working conditions by providing Automatic transmission for smooth shifting of gears, this gives a high level of comfort to the vehicle operators.”

With the focus now more on the efficiency and productivity of equipment, advancements in transmission systems play a major role in achieving these requirements. Adds Suresh KV, “Cost reduction as a result of reduced fuel consumption while simultaneously increasing productivity are megatrends in the construction machinery business. Also, today there is a lot of emphasis on safety and sustainability. Some of the current trends also include diesel-electric hybrid transmissions, continuously variable transmission, and electronically controlled power shift transmissions.”

With years of manufacturing experience, AVTEC offers competency throughout the full value chain of engine design and production, as well as transmission production and high-precision component production for a variety of sectors. The firm provides services to a number of the most well-known domestic and international automotive and off-highway businesses, including well-known international OEMs like Allison, BEML, Caterpillar, Daimler, and several more well-known names.

Said a spokesperson from AVTEC, “AVTEC’s world-class facility at Hosur, Tamil Nadu manufactures Cycling and Hauling Automatic and Powershift Transmissions for Off-Highway applications. The plant follows cellular manufacturing concept, which is well suited to take care of the entire product mix and support faster response.”

AVTEC’s AOS 9800 transmission is a fully automatic/powershift transmission available with 8 forward speeds and isoperated with electronic controls. Available with optional engine driven PTO, there is a flexibility of mounting either direct or remote and using in-line arrangement and hydrodynamic retarder. This transmission is designed and developed to perform in demanding oil field applications like pumping and fracturing. This transmission relentlessly performs and ensures maximum uptime for all oil field equipment.

The AH8700 transmission is a fully automatic/powershift transmission available with 7 forward and 1 reverse speed and is operated with electronic controls. Available with engine-driven PTO, there is the flexibility of mounting either directly or remotely and using the in-line arrangement and hydrodynamic retarder.

Volvo CE in its range of construction and mining equipment uses its own transmission solutions. Dimitrov Krishnan, Managing Director, Volvo CE, elaborating on the importance of transmission systems, says, “Depending on what the equipment is doing, it needs to sense the demand of the power and give that demand back through the transmission system to the engine so that the engine power is reduced or increased based on the demand. If the demand is low and one is supplying more power then there is a lot of wastage of power. This is where the transmission systems including the transmission control systems are critical in the efficiency and productivity of a machine.” He cites the example of Volvo excavators saying, “In our D series of excavators, we have come out with a transmission system which has resulted in a reduction of fuel consumption by 10 per cent.”

Challenges & opportunities

Says Kennady V Kaippally, Country Manager of Bonfiglioli India, “India—with its growing infrastructure need and low equipment density—offers immense opportunities for growth of construction equipment and the related industry. However, this growth is not going to be secular. The desire for higher productivity is going to drive the demand for more specialised equipment, requiring innovative transmission systems that have to meet specific local requirements. The challenge in such an environment remains in developing or adapting products and manufacturing capabilities that suit the specific demands of the Indian market. Bonfiglioli with its local design centre and manufacturing facilities—being present for nearly two decades in India and having gained a deeper understanding of the market—is well placed to take advantage of these opportunities.”

The demand for mining and construction equipment – to a large extent – reflects macro-economic indicators; consequently, the high-interest rate regime, slowdown in infrastructure investments, liquidity crunch, and numerous regulatory roadblocks have led to a sharp decline in demand for mining and CE during the past few years.

With the OEMs getting more focused on fuel efficiency and productivity solutions, transmission solution providers see a bright future in the years to come. Revival on the industry growth trends and infrastructure and mining segments are showing positive signs of recovery, construction and mining equipment segment is expected to come out of its stagnation which will, directly and indirectly, help new transmission products find more demand.

There are several projected technical developments in the future. There will be a lot of advancements made in transmission systems to increase the productivity and efficiency of construction equipment. This would make it possible to meet the rising demand brought on by India’s expanding infrastructure-building and development operations. We may anticipate a lot of novel ideas in the field of transmission systems, even though integrating the most recent and cutting-edge technologies may take some time.