JCB’s World First; Dulatech VT transmission for Agri Telehandlers

15 Apr , 2016  

JCB has launched new Loadall AGRI Pro telescopic handlers featuring a World-first transmission that combines the best characteristics of powershift and hydrostatic drives. The unique DualTech VT transmission features in the 7m premium-specification JCB 531-70, 536-70 and 541-70 AGRI Pro handlers, which have lift capacities of 3.1 tonnes, 3.6 tonnes and 4.1 tonnes.

JCB Chief Engineering and Innovation Officer Tim Burnhope said: “DualTech VT truly provides the best of both worlds, combining the low-speed controllability and easy driving characteristics of hydrostatics with the higher speed efficiency of direct drive powershift.

“The result is a premium driving experience for the operator, a 13% increase in productivity during repeat-cycle handling over our class-leading Agri Super models, and up to 25% greater productivity over other telescopic handlers. DualTech VT really does raise driveline technology and telehandler performance to new heights.”

Key features of the new DualTech VT transmission include:

  • Fully hydrostatic drive providing fine stepless speed control up to 19kph from standstill
  • Automatic switching to electronically-modulated three-speed powershift above 19kph
  • Power and Economy modes to optimise performance, efficiency and running costs
  • Flexi mode to provide independent control of engine speed and ground speed
  • Selectable full-time 4WD or Auto 2WD over 19kph for optimum driveline efficiency and reduced tyre wear

The new Loadall AGRI Pro machines have precise low-speed manoeuvring control and smooth, progressive response for loading and handling cycles, which the operator can adjust and fine tune to suit different applications and personal preferences. At the same time, the direct drive powershift element of the transmission gives these new handlers the best climbing and high-speed towing ability.

Features and equipment

Standard specification of the Loadall AGRI Pro handlers includes a seat-mounted servo joystick; high intensity LED work and driving lamps front and rear that provide 360deg ‘daylight’ illumination for maximum safety and productivity in low light; and power brakes for reduced pedal effort with top level braking performance for heavy towing.

A unique regenerative circuit for the boom lift and extend cylinders allows the boom to lower significantly faster than usual, resulting in greater productivity – by as much as 20% when loading – or a 15% reduction in fuel consumption. The 140-litres/min flow-on-demand system is complemented by a new high flow auxiliary circuit with up to 110-litre/min flow for attachments with hydraulic motors.

JCB’s patented Bucket Control System eliminates repeated joystick movements to shift sticky and fine materials from a bucket or grab; instead, with this feature selected, the operator simply moves the joystick sideways to determine the intensity of the shaking action.

DualTech VT transmission

The new JCB DualTech VT transmission combines hydrostatic and powershift drive systems using proven components in a single housing. The two modules work in harmony, seamlessly and automatically, to provide easy driving characteristics that can be fine-tuned to optimise driving comfort and performance for different applications.

Hydrostatic drive: The hydrostatic drive module provides fast response, fine speed adjustment and infinitely variable working speeds up to 19kph and is therefore optimised for low-speed operation and controllability, making it quiet and smooth, as well as responsive and power-efficient.

In Drive mode, the operator drives conventionally, pressing the accelerator pedal for engine revs and transmission response. Precision inching is available by pressing the brake pedal but not actually applying the brakes.

In Flexi mode, engine speed and ground speed are controlled individually for the first time on a full-size Loadall. The operator uses an electronic hand throttle to set engine speed and a dial to select ground speed.

When bulk handling or loading, the operator can use this function to set the ideal engine speed for optimum boom hydraulics performance and then focus on ground speed control, steering and the telescopic boom. Limiting the hydrostatic drive speed is ideal for controlled short loading cycles, especially when working in the confines of a cattle shed or grain store.

Flexi mode can also be used to set a fixed ground speed and the revs required for the auxiliary hydraulics to operate equipment such as a bucket sweeper, straw shredder or feed bucket. A ‘memory’ feature ensures the operator can quickly resume these settings.

Powershift drive: Beyond 19kph (11mph), the DualTech VT transmission automatically switches to its powershift mode where electronically modulated clutch packs make barely noticeable shifts between three mechanical gears up to the 40kph (25mph) top speed.

With no torque converter needed, direct drive in each gear makes the most of available torque to deliver quick acceleration, strong climbing ability and the impetus to maintain speed on road inclines. The transmission will skip-shift and short-shift as appropriate and upshifts can be restricted to gears one, two or three for field work.

In ‘Power’, the transmission exploits full engine revs and power output; ‘Economy’ restricts engine speed to a 1700rpm ceiling, changes the engine’s power delivery characteristics and initiates earlier up-shifts to use the least amount of fuel – typically 5% less across an average duty cycle.

Telematics data gathered by JCB LiveLink while monitoring over 10,000 hours of operation by pre-production machines recorded average fuel consumption of just 6.4 litres/hr – significantly lower than the best competitor claims for fuel economy.

Tim Burnhope concludes: “The DualTech VT transmission is a prime example of JCB’s innovation and engineering strengths coming together to create the best of both worlds: a new AGRI Pro handler range that brings new levels of productivity, performance, control, refinement, fuel efficiency and positive operator experience to the Loadall – the World’s Number One telescopic handler.”

JCB Loadall AGRI Pro T4 Final
  531-70 536-70 541-70
Engine JCB EcoMAX T4 Final
Size 4.8-litre
Emissions control Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) + Diesel Oxidising Catalyst (DOC)
Power 145hp (108kW)
Transmission JCB Dual Tech VT combined hydrostatic/powershift with Vari-Speed / Flexi Mode separate engine/ground speed control and direct drive in all mechanical gears
Lift height 7.0m 7.0m 7.0m
Lift capacity – max 3100kg 3600kg 4100kg
Lift capacity – to full height 2400kg 2250kg 2250kg
Forward reach 3.7m 3.7m 3.7m
Forward reach lift 1250kg 1350kg 1500kg
Overall height 2.49m 2.49m 2.49m
Width* 2.36m 2.36m 2.36m
Length** 4.99m 4.99m 4.99m
Weight 6900kg 7800kg 7800kg
Hydraulics – main 140-litre/min Load Sensing
                    – auxiliary 110-litre/min
Note: * over tyres. ** to implement carriage, boom lowered.