Dana Holding Corp. took advantage of the venue of CeMAT to announce progress with its VariGlide technology, a new transmission design that incorporates continuously variable planetary (CVP) technology based on a set of rotating, tilting balls fitted between two rings.
Developed through a strategic licensing relationship with Fallbrook Technologies Inc., and based on its NuVinci CVT technology, the product can replace the torque converter in some transmission configurations to decouple engine speed from the vehicle’s travel or working speed. Particularly suitable for the rapid acceleration, deceleration, and precise positioning required by material-handling applications, it also eliminates the need for forward and reverse clutches while reducing overall engine speeds, allowing the engine to operate at its optimum efficiency level and reduce noise levels.
Numerous powersplit power path concepts for forklift applications have been analyzed, and initial simulations show projected fuel savings of up to 20% for a standard-sized forklift operating in a typical pick-and-place duty cycle. Dana is currently upfitting a 2.2-t (2.4-ton) forklift with VariGlide technology for functional evaluation.
VariGlide technology will be offered as a pre-assembled module providing a standard powersplit configuration for forklift transmissions produced by OEMs. Dana will also implement VariGlide technology in a premium configuration optimized to supply further fuel efficiency and productivity gains in select Spicer powershift transmissions.
VariGlide technology is particularly suited to optimize the productivity of 1.5- to 3-t (1.7- to 3.3-ton) forklifts, which account for about 80% of the global material-handling equipment market today.
Dana says it provides “unparalleled power-path flexibility” through a unique variator design configuration. A set of spinning planets is fitted between an input disc driven by the engine and an output disc that transfers power from the variator to downstream transmission components. As power enters the input disc, the planets tilt on their axes and change ratios, depending on engine demands and controller input.
To efficiently transfer torque, a thin layer of traction fluid flows between the planets. When compressed, this traction fluid becomes momentarily rigid, allowing the torque to transfer between the planets and discs without slipping. With numerous power paths and no abrupt ratio changes, VariGlide technology provides an infinite number of gear ratios for improved shifting, driver comfort, durability, scalability, and efficiency when compared to conventional CVTs, says Dana.
The CVP technology used by VariGlide has undergone more than 70,000 hours of durability testing, and leverages more than 600 U.S. and international patents and patent applications. In addition to forklift trucks, it is also a good fit for compact front-end loaders, skid steer loaders, and compact utility tractors.