Truck Variator

A continuously variable frictionless transmission prototype (proof-of-concept) with high torque was developed and manufactured, based on a client’s patented invention. The prototype EnCata designed and built then went for static testing and further development.

Industry:

DeepTech & Sciences

,

Automotive

TRL:

2 → 4

Project duration:

5 months

Challenge

An inventor from Academia approached EnCata with his patented idea of a new type of variable frictionless transmission which would enable high torque with a “no-clutch” design. 

The variator prototype did not exist and our team had to design a proof-of-concept / proof-of-technology demonstrator prototype. This required performing numerous calculations and kinematic simulations and all-custom parts design.

Our Role

  • Technical concept development
  • Computer kinematic simulations
  • CAD model development 
  • Production documentation development (drawings)
  • Prototype manufacturing 
  • Performance and static tests

Technologies Used

CAD design

CAD design

Hydraulics design

Hydraulics design

Kinematic simulations

Kinematic simulations

CNC laser cutting

CNC laser cutting

CNC metal bending

CNC metal bending

CNC milling

CNC milling

CNC plasma cutting

CNC plasma cutting

MIG and TIG welding

MIG and TIG welding

Steel Honing

Steel Honing

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Approach & Solution

We qualified the technology readiness for this “no-clutch variator” as TRL-2 and started to redesign the transmission in an effort to validate the inventor’s research and refine the concept.

Upon preparing the detailed CAD for manufacturing, we realized that the suggested design would not function in a prototype and wouldn’t demonstrate the intended principle. Since the motivation behind the project was to produce a real scale working proof-of-principle prototype, we suggested redesigning the variator.

We thus scrapped the customer’s initial 3D model and started from scratch to redesign the transmission. The project followed the standard ‘EnCata project flow‘, whereby we developed a new technical concept and ran a series of kinematic simulations and calculations to create the new CAD 3D model.

When finished with the technical concept and the new preliminary CAD, the engineering team produced the documentation for prototype manufacturing.

Manufacturing precision gears of the variator required significant CNC milling, EDM erosion, and annealing. The entire manufacturing process took EnCata 4 weeks, including assembly.‍

Upon completing the manufactured prototype, we conducted tests and updated the 2D drawing and the BOM. This brought the variator project to the TRL-4 level and proved the initial concept of the frictionless transmission design.

During the concept phase, some of the critical variable transmission parts were considered “risky” in terms of momentums/forces vs tolerances (even despite the fact we conducted large sets of numerical simulations). In order to conduct a large set of numerical simulations, we chose to print some gears with the SLA 3D printer.


Results

During this project, EnCata invented a number of patentable features which were all transferred to the customer.  (This is standard EnCata policy: all the intellectual work created during the project belongs to our clients). 

This development enabled the client to approach the automotive industry companies which were seeking new types of reliable variable transmissions.

Overall, the customer was very satisfied with EnCata’s comprehensive service.

3

patents were originated from EnCata’s work

117

parts comprised the design of the variator

5

times increase of the cable achieved due to new pulley grooves design

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