Volvo Trucks North America | I-Shift Automated Manual Transmission

Designed for on- and off-road work in construction and other applications requiring frequent shifting, a rugged version of the I-Shift equal to severe-duty applications is now available for Volvo D11- or D13-powered VHD vocational models.
Introduction of the I-Shift for severe-duty applications continues what company officials cite as leadership in transmission technology that began in 2007, when Volvo became the first OEM to bring an integrated automated manual transmission to the North American market. A record 75 percent of Volvo trucks sold in 2014 were spec’d with an I-Shift.


“We now offer the efficiency and productivity benefits of our automated manual transmission and integrated powertrain to customers operating in tough vocational applications while providing improved uptime and longer component life,” notes Volvo Trucks North America President Göran Nyberg. “Volvo Trucks is committed to delivering solutions tailored to our customers’ specific applications.”

Engineered for a wide range of vocational applications, the Volvo VHD offers an easily customizable chassis; the series includes the VHD 200 day cab and is available in axle forward and axle back configurations. Gears and other hardware in the severe-duty I-Shift have been hardened to withstand frequent shifting in a rugged operating environment. The new version also features a high-range hardened cone, improved split synchronizer components, and main box parts of reinforced material.35 Volvoii 400

The I-Shift SD uses higher-viscosity oil that allows for operation at a higher ambient temperature. Reduced oil line length and quick disconnect fittings improve serviceability since there is no need to drain oil in order to service or remove the transmission.

“Heavier loads, uneven terrain and frequent shifting typical of heavy-duty vocational duty cycles require a more rugged transmission,” says Volvo Trucks Regional Haul Marketing Manager Chris Stadler. “The reinforced components and improved serviceability of the I-Shift for severe-duty applications translate to lower maintenance costs and more time on the worksite. The transmission also offers customers a broader payload range, which can help enhance the truck’s profitability and versatility.”—

Volvo Trucks’ Adaptive Loading optimizes axle and suspension specs for tanker tractor fuel economy

A 6×2 tractor configuration whose liftable forward axle automatically adjusts to load weight changes and 4×2 operation, Adaptive Loading potentially lowers fuel consumption 3–5 percent and tire wear 20 percent in cement and other bulk haul conditions. Volvo Trucks North America premiered the technology at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

“Trucking applications that go out fully loaded and return empty traditionally have had to spec equipment to accommodate maximum loads even though they don’t need those specs for half the miles they run,” says Product Marketing Director Wade Long. “With Adaptive Loading, those customers can reduce fuel and maintenance costs by operating a different configuration when empty or lightly loaded.”

36 Volvoi 400Like other 6×2 setups, he adds, Adaptive Loading improves fuel efficiency compared with traditional 6×4 configurations, which have two drive axles. The non-drive axle in the tandem’s forward position helps distribute load weight without a drive axle’s internal gearing, thus reducing internal friction and eliminating 300 lb. of tare. An introductory video posted at tracks a cement tanker-bearing Volvo VNM day cab, from rail load out to ready mixed plant silo unloading.

The liftable forward axle and Volvo’s Electronically Controlled Suspension (ECS) technology afford additional fuel efficiency. Adaptive Loading and the 6×2 option both use ECS to dynamically transfer weight among the two axles. In Adaptive Loading, ECS—based on pre-programmed weight thresholds—automatically lifts the axle in empty or light-load conditions to create a 4×2 configuration, which reduces rolling resistance from tires. Operating in a 4×2 configuration reduces wear and extends service life for the lift axle’s tires and brakes, Volvo engineers note, while more consistent loading increases tire life on steer and drive axles.

Extending fuel efficiency gains, customers selecting Adaptive Loading can choose one of Volvo’s XE (eXceptional Efficiency) powertrain packages, including XE Adaptive Gearing and XE Economy. The packages lower engine rpm at a given vehicle speed, a concept Volvo Trucks dubs “downspeeding.”

“Many customers selecting Adaptive Loading will find XE Adaptive Gearing a great choice as well because it is designed to benefit applications that go out loaded and return empty,” notes Long. “Customers can magnify their fuel savings by optimizing both suspension and powertrain specs.” An option since the first of the year, he adds, XE Adaptive Gearing operates in direct drive when loaded and in overdrive when empty. —