Mercedes-Benz unveils Concept V-ision e plug-in hybrid

 

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Launched at the 2015 Geneva show, the plug-in hybrid concept van, Concept V-ision is aimed at luxury travel. It is also aimed at business travellers. Flaunting designo titanium alubeam paint and a sporty-aerodynamic styling, the van concept is based on the V-Class, and features executive seats in the rear that can recline to a lying position inclination of up to 49 degrees at a push of a button. They include integrated calf supports, separate footrests, additional pillows, a three-stage heating and ventilation system apart from a massage feature. The executive seats can be combined with standard individual seats or optional seat benches as well. Two foldable 35 x 35 cm tables and two iPad holders are integrated into the driver and front-passenger seat backrests. These may bring the concept van up to speed in areas of comfort and convenience, it is the plug-in hybrid tech that makes it stand out. Promising powerful propulsion, the plug-in hybrid system, consisting of a 210 hp four-cylinder gasoline engine that develops a maximum torque of 350 Nm, and an electric motor that does 90 kW and 340 Nm of torque, has a total power output of 333 hp and a torque of 600 Nm. Guaranteeing a power packed performance, the concept van has a rated fuel consumption of less than 3.0 litres per 100 km, and can travel up to 50 km in an all-electric mode.

Demonstrating the potential a Mercedes-Benz van will offer in the future when it comes to accommodating the customers wishes and market demands according to Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, the Concept V-ision sprints from 0 to 100 kmph in 6.1 seconds. This makes this hybrid quicker than the current V 250 BlueTEC top engine variant. With a top speed of 206 kmph, the NEDC fuel consumption of 3.0 litres per 100 km corresponds to CO2 emissions of 71 g per km. Capable of travelling up to 50 km in an all-electric mode if driven at a maximum speed of 80 kmph, offering short emission free trips, the energy for the electric motor is stored in a high-voltage lithium-ion battery with a total capacity of 13.5 kWh. The battery can be recharged using an external power source. An intelligent drive-system management program automatically selects the ideal combination of combustion engine and an electric motor. The range of options includes a nearly silent electrical start (silent start), use of the electric motor to support the gasoline engine during acceleration (boost), and energy recovery (recuperation) during braking and when the vehicle is coasting. All recovered energy is stored in the battery which can be used for electric driving or the boost function. Drivers can also manage hybrid interaction manually and choose from different modes like hybrid, e-mode, e-save and charge. “Our pioneering Mercedes-Benz plug-in hybrid technology has enabled us to increase the output of the most powerful V-Class at the moment by 105 kW. And, while we have lowered fuel consumption to the level of a compact,” concludes Mornhinweg.

Arctic monsters

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Working under arduous conditions, 9-axle 76-tonne truck-trailer combinations are turning out be popular in Finland.

In Finland, 9-axle, 76-tonne GCW longer truck-trailer combinations are becoming more and more popular since 2013, when the Government approved this new weight limit on the basis of a proposal of the Ministry of Transportation. This is the story of two such monster trucks: a Volvo FH 16 750 timber truck and a Sisu Polar gravel dump truck. The FH 16 combination is made up of a 4-axle truck, powered by a 16.1-litre D 16 K, 750 hp and 3.550 Nm peak torque engine, and a 5-axle trailer. According to Finnish regulation, the 76-tonne GCW is allowed for (at least) a 9-axle combination, provided that, at least, 65 per cent of the mass of the trailer is on axles fitted with twin tyres. The FH 16 750 is thus fitted with several specific technical features for a timber truck. First of all, it’s a full pneumatic suspension (8×4 rigid), with 2nd lift axle. There are also other geometries, say with 4th lift axle instead of the 2nd. The full pneumatic solution, that is gaining more and more success among Volvo timber trucks, now accounts for 85 per cent of Volvo timber truck sale volumes in Finland (where Volvo commands about 50 per cent of the total market share). Five years ago, the percentage of full-pneumatic suspension was no more than five per cent. The full-pneumatic solution allows the driver to lift an axle to increase the grip of driven axles. In addition, the driver can dump air from pneumatic suspension of one of the driven axles to increase the grip of the other axle.

In Finland, the total market for timber trucks ranges between 150 and 250 new trucks, per year. On an average, these trucks are changed every five years, and reach a total mileage of 1,50,000 to 2,50,000 km per year. Other technical features of the FH 16-750 timber truck include a special software for Volvo I-shift automated transmission to cope with extremely demanding conditions of timber transport along narrow and sometimes inadequate forest road. Moreover, the truck is fitted with a Hill-holder system, differential lock, sand splitter device (to increase the grip of driven axles) and a timber crane. Another key feature of the FH 16 750 timber truck is the so-called Volvo dynamic steering. An electronically controlled electric motor is attached to the steering shaft. The electric motor, which works together with the traditional hydraulic power steering, is regulated thousands of times per second by the Electronic Control Unit (ECU). In this way the irregularities of road surfaces, such as compacted snow or ice slabs, are automatically dampened by the system. This, in turn, decreases the driver’s workload, because he does not have to compensate for such irregularities by minor and continuous adjustment of the steering wheel. Along public roads and narrow forest roads, the dynamic steering really makes a difference. Despite the longer dimension (24 m long) and higher center of gravity (4.4 m high), the 9-axle truck-trailer combination proved to be easy to drive and stable.

The 5-axle, twin-tyre trailer followed the truck smoothly, without any problem. In Finland, we experienced a standard working day of a timber truck from Kontio – a world market leader – loghouse production headquarters in Pudasjärvi – 700 km north of Helsinki – to an Arctic pine forest and back. Climate conditions were pretty good, because of the sun and a relatively mild temperature by Finnish winter standards, say -17°C. According to experienced timber truck drivers, the most demanding conditions occur on icy and slippery surfaces when the temperature is around zero, or in deep-frozen conditions when the temperature drops to -35 or even -40°C. In the latter circumstances, the natural rubber of Scandinavian winter tyres becomes hard and friction on slippery surfaces becomes more problematic.

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During the empty trip from Kontio headquarters to the Arctic pine forest we got stuck in the soft snow of a narrow forest road. We tried – without any result – to lift an axle; to increase the grip of the driven axles of our 8×4 timber truck. Then, we tried to clear the snow from driven axles using a shovel. We also tried to re-position the trailer, using the timber crane fitted on the truck. Since we got no result, we asked for help. A snowplough finally helped to free us. Loading cut-to-length tree trunks – prepared by an harvester – takes about 30 minutes in standard operating conditions. Roundwoods trucks are typically owned by family enterprises situated in countryside, where the entrepreneur participates actively in production work. According to 2010 statistics, there are about 900 timber trucking entrepreneurs, employing 2,600 truck drivers, with a fleet of 1,700 trucks. The average number of trucks per enterprise is less than two. Roundwood logistics in Finland is controlled by Information and Communication Technology (ICT) systems – owned by wood procurement companies. In general, each company has its own ICT system. ICT systems like LogForce, developed by software house Fifth Element, covers all the planning and vehicle software of the haulage contractor to include transport orders, scheduling, stock management, messaging and map functionality.

Sisu Polar Euro 6 range

The second 76-tonne, 9-axle combination tested in Finland was a 21,89 m long Sisu Polar rock gravel truck-trailer. The 10×4 truck was fitted with a Mercedes-Benz Euro 6, 6-in-line OM 473 15.6-litre engine (with high-performance engine brake), rated at 625 hp (3,000 Nm peak torque). Engine power is transmitted to rear axles by Mercedes-Benz Powershift 3, 16-speed automated transmission – as in the vehicle under test – or by Eaton Fuller RTLO22198B 18-speed unsynchronized manual gearbox (optional). Sisu Polar line-up includes Sisu Rock dump trucks, Sisu Works road maintenance trucks, Sisu Timber (timber truck version), Sisu Roll, demountable trucks and Sisu Carrier, machine transport trucks. In addition to these models, Sisu Work plus is now available, which features a combination of road maintenance and demountable applications. Cab, engine, transmission and core electrical/electronic systems of Sisu Polar are based on Mercedes-Benz Arocs technology. Sisu Polar 10×4 proved to be easy to maneouver, thanks to three steering axles. The first axle can be steered by 30°, the second by 16°, while the fifth can be counter-steered by 13°.

In this configuration, the turning radius of the entire 21.89 m combination is 12.5 m. On uneven surfaces, such as compacted snow, ice slabs, or during tight maneouvers with 76-tonne GCW, the Servotwin steering system with electronic steering power assistance makes a difference in terms of comfort for the driver (because less corrections of the steering wheel are needed) and vehicle handling. OM 473 engine brake, with a maximum braking power of 475 kW, can substitute foundation brakes in 90 per cent of the operating conditions. Despite the full-mechanical suspension system, the driving comfort during on-road applications proved to be quite high. Sisu Polar features two different frame heights: 300 mm U-profile with inner reinforcement, and 460 mm C-profile for heavy duty tasks.

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Heavier combinations in Finland

The 76-tonne, 9-axle combinations are not the heaviest ones in Finland. Five special permits regarding 33 m, 80-tonne truck-combinations have been granted so far to ‘Speed to run’ on six different road channels, and one 31 m, 94-tonne to Orpe. Some 10 to 15 more applications by three different companies have been handed to the road safety authority Trafi and to the Ministry of Transport.

Orpe is the only transport company with one permit to run with a 31 m (application was for 102-tonne according to axle weights of 12 axle) 94-tonne, 12 axle timber truck on very specified conditions for a trial period till 31 December, 2019. Only specially trained drivers are accepted, to run on roads and routes accepted by the Ministry. All brakes have to be electric EBS. Transports are forbidden when weather conditions or forecasts by the Meteorological Institute are declared “very bad or very bad road conditions.”

The behaviour of the whole vehicle combination has to be continuously controlled by cameras on the vehicle. A report of the routes driven, vehicle behaviour and road conditions have to be delivered every month to the Trafi. The entire vehicle combination has to be passed on to the authorities for testing for no longer than three days whenever Trafi or the Ministry gives notice.

Speed has five 33 m long, 80-tonne truck combinations running from Helsinki and Kotka harbours, to cities to the north and to the east, on five special routes covering some 120 to 200 km of length accepted by the Trafi and the Ministry of Transport. These trucks will carry two 40 ft ‘Jumbo’ containers or four 20 ft containers.

CV is an associate member of the International Truck of the Year (IToY). Being a part of this association gets the magazine exclusive articles, specially written by IToY jury members.

 

Haydar Yenigun, Geral Manager Ford Otosan

CV is an associate member of the International Truck of the Year (IToY). Being a part of this association gets the magazine exclusive articles, specially written by IToY jury members.

Haydar Yenigün, General Manager, Ford Otosan

Our strategy is, and always will be, to offer our customers products with advanced technology, high quality, modern design, durability and comfort with a rationale price positioning.

Could you tell us about the global Cargo Project of 2010?

Development of the new tractor, the Ford Cargo 1846T, started in 2009. It was launched in 2013, and is available in South American markets through Ford Motor Company, Brasil. Ford Cargo is also available in the Turkish Market, as well as export countries assigned through Ford Otosan. Introduction of this product led to an entrance in the extra heavy segment in South America. It also led to rationale tractor segment entrance in the Turkish market.

Also, having launched global 1846T model, high sales numbers were reached in 2013 and 2014. As per market indicators, the new global model is well accepted and recognized by the target customers in terms of attributes like performance, cost of ownership and comfort.

Meanwhile, some of the minor improvements identified as per the market demands, the most requested items were developed. Field surveys show that perceived quality and brand recognition of the vehicle have significantly increased during the last two years. In addition to these actions, 1846T Low Liner (940mm 5th wheel height) model, derived from the base 1846T, was also launched in 2014. This new model is able to carry mega trailers which require lower 5th wheel height. This low deck version is in great demand from logistics companies which work on international transportation as volumer.

How many units of 1846T have you sold so far around the world?

Globally, the total sales volume is approximately 5,000 units.

What feedback did you get from your major markets? Is it the ‘right’ global truck you expected?

This vehicle is the ‘right’ vehicle to compete with other OEMs in the growing tractor segment. To analyse customer satisfaction and demands, an ‘Anthropological Field Study’ was conducted in 2014 by an independent company, executed by academicians including sociologists and antropologists. The results so far show that we are moving in the right direction.

In Moscow, in 2013, you said you had an Euro VI engine for the New Cargo. Is it ready for production?

New Ecotorq Engine Family is being developed from scratch by the Ford Otosan engineering team in-house and will be ready by the beginning of 2016. Currently, it is in the development phase.

The New Ecotorq Engine Family will be available with Euro6, Euro5 and Euro3 emission levels. New engines; 9L (modified) and 13L (all-new) will have a wide range of power outputs.

This engine family includes harmonised high tech hardwares and intelligent algorithms – calibration of which will take Ford Trucks to the highest rankings in terms of Cost of Ownership.

What about Ford Trucks sale and service network?

In local market, re-establishment of Ford Trucks 4S dealer network is in progress. By end of 2015, we will have 30 Ford Trucks dealer points in Turkey, all having newly designed facilities in line with Ford Trucks corporate identity and standards. Till date, 24 of them have became fully operational. In the export market, we have a vision to enter 59 countries, including Russia, the Middle East, Gulf countries, United Arab Emirates, North Africa, Sub Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Europe. Currently, our dealer and distributor network is spread over 20 different countries. Our mid-term plan is to create a robust distributorship and extend dealer network for the remaining countries in the export markets.

What about your sale strategies for the future? Do you plan to sell your products in Western Europe too?

Our strategic vision is to be a player in the 59 assigned markets actively. According to our export growth strategic plan, the first step is to be in Central and Eastern Europe.

Recently, you launched Ford Trucks products in UAE and announced that you plan to expand your sales in Gulf Countries. Are those countries the new ‘battleground’ for truck manufacturers?

These markets are very attractive and promising in terms of growth potential. Most European truck manufacturers and some Chinese brands have also been there since the early phases of the market.

Our forecast is that the Middle East heavy commercial vehicle market will grow bigger in the mid-term due to the growing construction business in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, etc.

Another important initiative is the Memorandum of Understanding with Avtotor Holding in Russia. Can you tell us about this initiative?

Most truck manufacturers have facilities to build vehicles in Russia either through a joint venture company or on their own. The reason behind this is that local manufacturing provides tax exemption, which brings a competitive price advantage.Until this year, we used to export our vehicles to Russia. We could not achieve a competitive price positioning in the market against local manufacturers. As a strategic move, we decided to be a local player in the market and started cooperating with Avtotor Holding, an appropriate and experienced partner in Russia, as our contract manufacturer.

In some cases, Chinese truck manufacturers, thanks to their joint-ventures with Western European truck manufacturers, are focusing on the same markets as Ford Trucks. How do you plan to overcome your Asian competitors?

At Ford Trucks, our strategy is, and always will be, to offer our customers products that have advanced technology, are of high quality, have modern design, durability and comfort with a rationale price positioning.

Kamaz trucks dominate the Dakar Rally 2015

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The 36th edition of the world’s toughest rally-raid was held in South America. Kamaz trucks won in the truck category. They were powered by Liebherr
16.2L engines.

The 36th edition of the world’s toughest rally-raid was held in January 2015 across three South American countries. The 14-day test of skill, determination and vehicle reliability was flagged off from Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina and culminated in the same city after passing through Chile and Bolivia. The total distance was 9,111 km and consisted of 4,580 km of special stages. Trucks had to cover 8,159 km, with the special stages aggregating 3,760 km. Divided into 13 stages, and for the first time in the history of Dakar, the rest days for cars and trucks were separate from others. The addition of marathon stages was a special feature of the 2015 edition. Out of the 63 trucks, 43 finished. The Kamaz factory achieved a hat-trick after the truck commanded by Airaat Mardeev, Aydar Belyadev and Dimitriy Svistunov dominated the second half of the rally and won two stages. The second Kamaz was under Eduard Nikolaev, Evgeny Yakovlev and Ruslan Akhmadeev, and won six stages while the team of Andrey Karginov, Andrey Mokeev and Igor Leonov made it to the third spot on the podium with a consistent performance.

 Liebherr engines power Kamaz trucks in Dakar Rally

The four trucks entered by the Kamaz Master truck racing team were powered by an 8-cylinder D9508 A7 diesel engine from Liebherr. To engineer the components to be even more reliable and at the same time, dynamic for special conditions, Liebherr worked closely with Kamaz to further develop the drive system for the Dakar Rally 2015. In the race configuration, changes were made above all, to the charge air system to achieve higher charging pressures. The consequence was optimal combustion of the injected fuel quantities whose volume has likewise been increased. Remarkably, no modifications were made to the supporting structures of the engine, such as the crankcase and engine mounting. These have already been engineered sufficiently in the standard version. Even the lubrication system was adopted completely without change since the Liebherr V8 engine is generally designed to work up to 45 degree Celsius. The engines are built at Liebherr Machines Bulle SA in Switzerland, and are distinguished by a maximum output of 1,047 hp and 4,500 Nm torque. Displacing 16.2-litres, and confirming to the rally regulations, which from 2016 limit displacement to 16.5-litres, the engines aid to accelerate from 0 to 100kmph in 10 seconds. This, despite a dry weight of about 1,400 kg in the racing version. The 8,900 kg Kamaz rally trucks reach a top racing speed of 140 kmph.

In January 2014, the Liebherr Group and Kamaz OJSC signed a contract to develop and manufacture a range of 6-cylinder diesel engines with 12-litre displacement. The engines would be tailored by Liebherr to meet specific requirements from Kamaz. The contract also included a complete solution for the construction of an engine production and assembly line as well as respective quality assurance within Kamaz’s production. The main factors for Kamaz’s decision to work with Liebherr as a development partner were, on one hand, the modern engine concept with a good power to weight ratio and, on the other, the impressive strategy to comply with the emissions directives of Euro 5 and Euro 6. Liebherr has more than 30 years of experience in the development and production of diesel engines for heavy applications and tough climatic operating conditions. The engines are part of a comprehensive programme that entails development, design and manufacture within Liebherr’s components division. Among these are high performing components in the areas of mechanical, hydraulic, and electric drive and control technology for diesel and gas engines; injection systems, axial piston machines, hydraulic pumps and motors, hydraulic cylinders, oversized bearings, gearboxes and winches, electric machines, switchgear as well as electric and electronic components and systems. Diverse areas of application include cranes, construction machinery, mining equipment, marine equipment, wind turbines, decentralised energy systems, vehicle and agricultural technology, and aerospace and traffic engineering. 

Airless tyres for commercial vehicles

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An airless tyre developed by Michelin could push pneumatic tyres down the road to extinction. Not as early as many would think, the journey of pneumatic tyres will also depend on how successful products like the ‘tweel’ are. An airless tyre developed by Michelin, ‘tweel’, according to Pete Selleck, president of Michelin North America, is an airless tyre and wheel combination. Michelin recently commissioned a plant to produce airless tyres in South Carolina, USA. First plant in the history of tyre making, that is dedicated to the production of airless radial tyres according to Selleck, the ‘tweel’ will be marketed as a replacement for conventional tyres on lawn movers and off-road industrial vehicles. Aimed at commercial vehicles thus, and those that are more prone to punctures than automobile tyres, ‘tweel’ was born out of the an idea first conceived by Michelin research engineers in the USA.

Changing the configuration of a conventional tyre, bringing together the tyre and the wheel assembly into one solid unit, the ‘tweel’ comprises of a rigid hub connected to a shear beam by means of flexible, deformable polyurethane spokes, all functioning as a single unit. It has no air, thereby solving what had seemed to be the unavoidable challenge of chronic flat tyres that plagues the landscape, construction, contracting, refuse and recycling and agricultural industries. Highlighting Michelin’s long-standing commitment to breakthrough innovation according to Selleck, the ‘tweel’ was born at Michelin Americas Research Company in Greenville, South Carolina, which is one of Michelin’s three global technology centers, as a concept. The same site was also chosen for its manufacture in order to satisfy a growing commercial market. The new plant at the site gives Michelin the ability to boost output of its award-winning Michelin X Tweel SSL skid-steer tyres and begin production of the new Michelin X Tweel Turf as original equipment for John Deere to equip its Ztrak 900 Series line-up of zero-turn commercial mowers.

Originally introduced as a concept at the 2005 North American International Auto Show, the X Tweel makes Michelin’s highly advanced airless radial tyre and is claimed to be the only commercial product available to offer the advantages of no maintenance, no compromise and no downtime. With the capability to perform with traditional radial tyre technology, which requires no air, thereby eliminating the risk of a ‘flat’, the ‘tweel’, said Ralph Dimenna, head of Michelin Tweel Technologies, “Enables Michelin to enter new markets and expand its reach in existing business segments within the low-speed application category. The industry is hungry for solutions contributing to productivity, safety and bottom lines. Serving our customers is at the center of our strategy for success.”

The new C and K from Renault

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Renault Trucks has introduced an entirely new selection of vehicles: the C and K range to the Middle East.

Renault has launched a new range of trucks called the C and K. They offer new standards in robustness and productivity. Each model can be adapted to suit the wide range of applications and customer demands within the distribution and construction segments.

The C range is ideal for both long-haul and certain construction applications. Available in two cab widths: 2.3 and 2.5 m, the former is best suited for distribution and deliveries, while the latter works well for long haul, light construction and heavy distribution. An optional steel bumper, improve resilience and approach angle, allowing the C range to be used for earth-moving applications as well.

The K range, in fact, offers the best approach angle in the market at (32°), making it ideal for heavy construction and distribution. The front bumper is 100 per cent steel with headlamp protection. The K range has been tested under gruelling conditions like log transport in Cameroon, carrying 100 to 120 tonnes of aggregate in Oman, and in mines in Turkey.

D-Range and Kerax All-Wheel-Drive (AWD). Renault has also refreshed its D Range. It is aiming the iconic Kerax model for extremely demanding applications. The new D range thus consists of a single range and two vehicles. The D cab 2.1m (from 13 to 18 tonnes) used mainly for distribution, delivery and waste management, could be had with a factory fitted crew cab (4 doors and 6 seats), and is available in AWD. The AWD makes it ideal for fire fighting applications. The D WIDE (from 18 to 26 tonnes) is ideal for medium distribution and delivery applications. The company plans to introduce the K-Range with AWD as standard. Field tests are being undertaken for the said purpose.

Robust

The new C and K range have been subjected to stringent quality controls: test track trials, test benches and fording tests. Tests have been carried out under temperatures ranging from -40°C to +60°C. Both the C range and K range use the proven Renault Trucks chassis, available with a range of reinforcements.
The K range, offers better ground clearance and approach angle, which allows it to clear significant obstacles and deliver outstanding pulling power. High precision steering and tight turning radius, makes the range easy to manoeuvre. The Optidriver gearbox is available on both C and K ranges for demanding applications and on the AWD K models.

On its exterior, the K range features an all-steel, three-part bumper, fitted to a 32 tonne capacity front towing bar, protective grids for the headlight, optics in polycarbonate, as well as steel protection for all exposed parts.

Vehicles in the C range are fitted with steel corners and protective grids for the headlights. Capable of taking the heaviest punishment and with a higher approach angle, the C 2.5 m off-road cab can be fitted with all-steel bumpers from the K range.
Renault Trucks has developed a new diagnosis tool for preventive maintenance. The company has also developed a new concept called XTrem Camp for customer on-site maintenance. Diesel anti-theft devices, mechanical anti-intruder device door lock, or light bar with rotating beacons offer better safety. The design of the cab and each part of the powertrain helps save fuel. For example, the cab has a windscreen set at an angle of 12° and a trapezoid form, narrower at the front than at the rear, which improves its air penetration coefficient (cx) by up to 12 per cent. Optifuel Solutions, driver training, fuel consumption monitoring, will help deliver optimal fuel efficiency.

The Renault Trucks C range offers an outstanding payload, which can be as much as 31 tonnes for an 8×4. The K range offers a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of up to 50-tonnes and a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCW) of up to 120-tonnes with both manual and automated gearboxes. The vehicles also have several pre-equipment options which simplifies body mounting operations, reducing vehicle delivery time by up to 20 per cent. The vehicles can be fitted with Optifleet, the Renault Trucks fleet management solution.

Strong on productivity

Both the C and K range come with options for reducing vehicle weight, optimised gearboxes and drive axles. By reducing kerb weight and increasing GCW, larger volumes can be transported with each trip, increasing a vehicle’s profitability. The cabs in the C and K range are spacious, with an engine tunnel reduced to 200 mm. The wraparound dashboard centralises all controls. A 7 inch high definition navigation screen displays vehicle status information. The ergonomic steering wheel, other than a 200 mm range of seat adjustment, allows for a flexible driving position.

An additional step on the side of the vehicle allows drivers to check their load easily. Both ranges have a storage which can be accessed from both inside and outside the cab. The Renault Trucks C 2.5 m cab and the K range are fitted with extendable bunks. As an option, the vehicles are also available with an upper bunk.

The C range and K range are available with extensive options and an array of configurations for a variety of applications such as fuel and water transport, transporting building materials, refuse collection, concrete transport and machinery transport and earth moving.

 

CV is an associate member of the International Truck of the Year (IToY). Being a part of this association gets the magazine exclusive articles, specially written by IToY jury members.   

ZF highlights tractor tech

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Story by : Rajesh Rajgor

ZF makes some of the most hi-tech tractor transmission at its plant in Germany.

It is cloudy and grey, typical of a monsoon morning. Behind the wheel of a big Landini 7 – 215 Dual Power tractor, the farm ahead looks big. Bigger than the farms in India often are. But then, this is Germany. Somewhere near Passau to be precise. This farm is typical of the size of farms found in Germany. Farms that call for the use of high horse power tractors. The Landini 7 – 215 Dual Power for example. It is not surprising to learn that the transmission powering the smallest, or the least powerful tractor in Germany could actually work well on the most powerful tractor in India – in the range of 50 to 60hp. The Landini tractor is equipped with a synchronised transmission (ZF T 7200). There are 6 synchronised gears that shift automatically. Also a part of the transmission is the IRS (Intelligent Ring Shifter) and 4 power shift gears. The synchronised gears shift automatically, without the need to operate the clutch.   

The ECCOM 5.0 from ZF is found on the most powerful tractors in Germany like the Claas Xerion 4000 and the ATM Terrion 7000. ECCOM 5.0 is produced at ZF’s plant at Passau and suitable for use on vehicles that produce torque of upto 650hp. This transmission is claimed to be the most reliable and efficient by ZF sources. It is also well acknowledged for the operating comfort it offers. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) the ECCOM 5.0 does away with the need to operate the clutch or change gears. The driver can thus concentrate on other tasks at hand rather than worry if the right set of gears are engaged. With tractors as powerful as 420hp found in Germany, it is not surprising to see ZF offering the Series 9 transmission. At the other end, is the CVT Transaxle TMT 09. It is the smallest continuously variable ZF transaxle, and has a power range of between 65 to 90hp. The travel speed achieved is up to 50kmph. The TMT 09 is an inline transmission design that facilitates low centre of gravity. TMT 09 is found on tractors like Lindner Lintrac. This is one transmission that could eventually find its way to India. High hp tractors by Same Deutz Fahr are fitted with the TMT 32 and TMT 45 transmission. 

When the TMT 09 transaxle makes it to India, chances are that it will be made at ZF’s facility at Coimbatore. Eberhard Wilks, Head of Product Line Agricultural Machinery Systems, ZF, did not reveal any timeline for such a development. Instead he chose to say that if ZF does manufacture the likes of the TMT 09 transaxle in India, it will be localised, and for local consumption. The other transmission ZF could look at manufacturing in India is the TPT 9 and TPT 11 transaxles. These two transmission could cater to the export markets for the Indian OEMs. ZF could also look at manufacturing axles in the 25hp and 125hp range
in India. 

Technology in different brands

If the opportunity presented a means to check out tractors from John Deere, Fendt, Deutz and Lindner with modern implements like cultivators, ploughs, disc harrows and front packers, the scenario also presented a clear image about the nature and application of tractors in regions that lack abundant manual labour. Gernot Hein, Head of Communications and Marketing at ZF, said that his company was keen to highlight the gamut of technology offered in the form of transmissions for tractors, reflecting 75 years of manufacturing heritage.

Deutz Fahr

This 140hp tractor is equipped with ZF T7140 (transaxle) transmission with a power shift mechanism. Offering 32 gear ratios in total, this transmission is the smallest unit in the T 7000 transmission family. The TPT 11 transmission from the T 7000 family is even smaller and lighter. Of the power shift variety, this transmission is found on a Steyr 4115 tractor; is new and offers 32 gear ratios. Steyr 4115 attains a maximum speed of 40kmph, the APS function on the TPT 11 two program modes, helping to lock different power shift levels. If tough task were to be performed, TPT 11 enables the user to strike out 3rd and 4th powershift level.This keeps the engine from stalling. There is also a combo shift, which does away with the need to operate the clutch when shifting; an automatic reverse gear system, eases on the discomfort and allows for a smooth operation.

 

Claas 830 Axion

This 213 hp tractor contains ZF’s TMT 25 transmission with drive train controllers. ZF engineers worked with Claas to ensure user friendly controls. When operating under high-load conditions, it is possible to reduce the engine speed from a range of 1800-2000 rpm at 40kmph to 1270 rpm at 42 kmph. This ensures more fuel saving. The ability to clock good speeds yet have the engine turning at lower rpm also ensures superior fuel efficiency under partial load conditions, apart from reducing noise. The maximum torque this tractor puts out is 970 Nm.

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This 230hp tractor is equipped with ZF power shift transmission. Doubling up as a wheel loader, the transmission facilitates auto and manual shifts. There are 6 gear ratios on offer. 

McCormick VTX7/6 Series

This tractor is equipped with TMT 18 CVT transmission from ZF. The rear axle is also from ZF. The engine produces a maximum power of 185hp at 1900 rpm. Even at 50 kmph the steering requires little effort. The power shuttle function makes it easy to reverse the tractor. The CVT transmission on this tractor ensures car like comfort in the form of cruise control. For example a driver can choose to operate between 0 to 30 kmph using speed adjustment button.

75 years of precision manufacture

The first tractor transmission rolled out of the ZF’s Passau plant in 1946. The plant delivered the 1,00,000 tractor transmission in 1954. The year 1972 saw the introduction of T-3000 synchromesh transmission. The power shift transmission T-700 rolled out of Passau in 1989, followed by the manufacture of CVT transmission in 2000. ECCOM 5.0 CVT transmission for high hp tractors began manufacture in 2009. In 2011, production of the TERRAMATIC Series with TERRA+ generator module commenced. Further In 2014, TERRAPOWER and TERRAMATIC transmissions got a standard rear axle. Exports account for as much as 28 percent of the sales revenue at Passau. Each year 18,000 transmissions and 8,000 rear axles leave the assembly shop. They are supplied to thirty customers in fifteen countries. In the Central Division Assembly, all single components are assembled to make complete axles and transmissions on more than 20 assembly lines. The assembly area is divided into different sectors like agricultural machinery systems, bus and commercial vehicle systems. The transmissions and axles differ; in versions, size and number of components. Every day this versatile task requires precision, smooth operations and different logistical arrangements. The division is also responsible for the worldwide business of marine propulsion systems, aviation technology as well as the development and production of gearboxes for wind turbines. Test systems for all kinds are found here. Of applications in driveline and chassis technology and the open telematics platform. Openmatics are also included in the division’s portfolio. In order to continue to be successful with innovative products, ZF annually invests about 5 percent of its sales (2013: EUR 836 million) in research and development. In 2013, the Group achieved a sales figure of about EUR 16.8 billion with approximately 72,600 employees.