The ongoing Cummins Eaton collaboration comes to the fore with the new Cummins X15 in developing a more fuel-efficient powertrain package. The two companies claim to have best-in-class engine-transmission integration in the heavy-duty truck market, a claim emphasising just how important integration has become to providing a more fuel efficient, reliable and robust powertrain package.
Importantly, a lot of engineering work has been done locally by Cummins and Eaton to ensure the integration delivers engine and transmission performance suited to Australian and New Zealand operating conditions.
The X15 features ADEPT (Advanced Dynamic Efficient Powertrain Technology), a suite of electronic engine features capable of improving fuel economy by up to six per cent, according to Cummins. ADEPT is designed to work specifically with Eaton’s UltraShift Plus 18-speed automated manual transmission to make powertrain control decisions in real time.
“The integration of Cummins engine and Eaton transmission is now at a level that is delivering customers significant lifecycle cost improvements,” says Andrew Penca, Managing Director of Cummins South Pacific. “The latest chapter in our partnership combines some of the best technologies from both companies and makes them smarter, delivering the level of fuel economy improvements that our customers have come to expect.”
ADEPT utilises load-, speed- and grade-sensing software, making minor adjustments to speed, power and transmission gear selection to take advantage of vehicle momentum for better fuel economy.
The ADEPT package includes ‘SmartTorque2’ and ‘SmartCoast’ with additional features such as predictive cruise control being developed for further efficiency gains.
SmartTorque2 is the next generation of torque management technology from Cummins. SmartTorque2 senses both the selected gear and overall engine load as a result of the gross vehicle weight, aerodynamic drag and road grade. As these conditions vary, SmartTorque2 determines the exact amount of torque needed to maintain road speed and eliminate unnecessary downshifts.
This ensures steadier engine operation with more time spent in the ‘sweet spot’, the rpm range that achieves the best fuel economy.
SmartCoast operates when cruise control is enabled and the vehicle is coasting on moderate downhill grades. The engine returns to idle, leveraging the kinetic energy of the vehicle to maintain road speed. This reduces engine fuelling to improve fuel economy. Vehicles operating on undulating terrain will see the greatest benefit of ADEPT technology.
“We continue to develop new technologies to enhance the benefits of the Cummins-Eaton powertrain,” says Andrew.
In the future, technologies such as predictive cruise control will be added to ADEPT. Predictive cruise control utilises the vehicle’s GPS position along with an on-board map database to dynamically adjust speed and torque in anticipation of changes in road grade. This enables further fuel savings. When predictive cruise control is paired with SmartCoast the decision-making capabilities are enhanced to provide further fuel economy improvements.