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Fully Automated Scania Opticruise now fully available

Australian real world testing complete, all Scania engines can now be specified with the new Fully Automated Scania Opticruise, even the R 620.

Scania Australia has announced that its acclaimed Fully Automated Scania Opticruise gearchange system will be available in 2011 across its entire truck range; including the 620 hp V8 engined variants.

The system was launched in Australia in March 2010, available in vehicles with an output of up to 440 hp, and has proved popular with a wide range of operators.

During the past few months Scania has been validating the suitability of the Fully Automated Scania Opticruise system for its more powerful vehicles, placing test trucks equipped with the system in the hands of a small number of operators who have given it a thorough test in real-world Australian conditions.

The results have been extremely positive with high degrees of driver acceptance, excellent fuel consumption, and reduced driver fatigue.

As a result Scania will make the Fully Automated Scania Opticruise widely available with immediate effect.

One operator tested the system using a Scania R 560 V8-powered prime mover to pull a b-double with a GCM of 60-tonnes through hilly country. The combination covered 50,000km, incident-free.

South-West Express, based in Bunbury, Western Australia, says its drivers quickly came to grips with driving without a clutch pedal, and found the system very easy to drive. 

A key benefit was the Manoeuvring mode which they found to be far superior to competitor systems when pulling up to loading docks - the recalibrated throttle setting giving them far greater control.

Smooth, fast gearchanging won praise as did frugal fuel consumption. There was no fuel consumption penalty for opting for the Fully Automated system, the operator said.

The test truck ran 24-hour shifts covering around 3,000 km per week for four months, with the test viewed as a complete success by the operator and Scania.

“Our new Fully Automated Scania Opticruise gearchange system had already met with very positive acceptance from operators in Australia in the up to

440 hp segment,” said Roger McCarthy, Managing Director of Scania Australia.

“However we were keen to test how well the system would cope with Australian real world conditions when mated with a V8 engine and pulling a fully laden b-double set.

“The testing we undertook has shown that the Fully Automated Scania Opticruise system is more than capable, and it has met with very high levels of driver satisfaction, can return excellent fuel economy and reduces fatigue.

“On the basis of our testing we are sure it will be popular with operators who select our highest output XPI EGR Euro 5 six-cylinder engine with 480 hp, as well as with our V8 customers.

“We are very pleased to be able to make this product available as standard on many applications in Australia,” he said. “Our V8 customers for instance have the choice of opting for either the Fully Automated or three-pedal Scania Opticruise as standard, depending on their preference.”

New Fully Automated Scania Opticruise

• Faster and smoother gear changes

• Electric clutch control

• Manoeuvring mode

• Inclination sensor

The Fully Automated (clutch pedal-free) Scania Opticruise is so sophisticated it is able to analyse road conditions dynamically, and order gearchanges to suit not only prevailing but also anticipated road conditions.

Four years of development has delivered a more refined and functionally superior Scania Opticruise, with improved mechanical components and entirely new software.

The new Fully Automated Scania Opticruise will be now (2011) be available across the range of Scania P-series, G-series and R-series product. In many cases customers can specify either Fully Automated or three-pedal Scania Opticruise depending on their preference.

The new Fully Automated Scania Opticruise is recommended for all on-road operating conditions, including construction. Additional comfort, consistent driver performance and maximum fuel economy count as major advantages. The system is particularly useful in residential and dense traffic conditions that include a moderate number of stop-and-go situations.

Driver selected manual or automatic control modes for gearchange activation are available via the Opticruise lever.

Scania Opticruise uses an electric screw-type actuator to control the amount of hydraulic pressure acting on the clutch fork, allowing lightning-fast, smooth and precision-controlled gearchanges.

Driving comfort is maximised, wear and tear on the drivetrain is minimised, and drivers will feel the difference when pulling away, during gearchanges, travelling up- and down hill, and when approaching roundabouts or traffic light-controlled intersections.

The revised software includes a new shift strategy that adapts starting gear and gearchanges to the style of driving, load and inclination of the road. It also helps maintain speed all the way to the crest without a fuel penalty.

Slicker, faster gearchanges mean improved drivability in the city, while on the highway, revs are kept low to improve fuel economy and allow the truck to maintain the desired cruising speed effortlessly.

With the Fully Automated clutch, the clutch is disengaged briefly during gearchanges, making shifts faster and smoother.

Split gearchanges can now be made 100 percent faster than before, taking only 0.15 seconds.

The new Fully Automated Scania Opticruise features automatic rocking detection, which can help to improve traction when necessary. One significant enhancement is the Hill-Hold facility which is standard on the Fully Automatic Scania Opticruise.

 

The Manoeuvring mode provides extra fine clutch control, accelerator response and smoother engine control, ideal for sensitive tasks such as hooking up or decoupling, and reversing into loading docks.

Scania is the only manufacturer to offer the choice of 3-pedal or Fully Automated gearchanges via Scania Opticruise on its 8-, 12- and 12+2-speed gearboxes.

Scania is the leader in integrated deceleration systems with the Scania Retarder, and the new Scania Opticruise will make Scania a leader in clutch control as well.

Automated gearchanging systems benefit drivers and operators by improving driving comfort and eliminating the need to watch revs and physically change gears. It also enables the driver to devote more attention to handling the vehicle and to monitoring the road and traffic conditions, promoting greater safety.

It takes no time at all for the driver to become familiar with the operating system, and more efficient driving is the result.

Even a driver new to Scania Opticruise can achieve substantial fuel savings compared to a manual gear change set-up. Wear-and-tear is reduced on the clutch and powertrain, increasing service life and reducing running costs.

New Fully Automated Scania Opticruise (2-pedal)

Benefits

• Improved fuel consumption

• Improved power mode

• Smarter shift strategy

• Better accelerator pedal response

• Reduced clutch wear

• Improved comfort

• Faster and smoother changes

• Easy starting with correct starting gear

• Easy start/stop without clutch pedal

• Handling of varying driving conditions

Starting off

• Fully Automated Scania Opticruise requires the throttle pedal to be used as a “virtual” clutch pedal when moving off.

• With the suitable gear engaged to move away from standstill, the engine is running and the clutch is open.

• When the driver presses the accelerator pedal, the Opticruise software increases engine speed to a level where it can give enough torque to deliver appropriate acceleration.

• This function utilises the inclination sensor in the electric clutch actuator. At the same time as the engine speed is controlled, the clutch is closed to a level where it transmits a torque dependent on the accelerator pedal position. This transmitted torque will get the vehicle moving.

• When the speed of the vehicle has reached a level where there is no slip over the clutch, the clutch is closed and the accelerator pedal position will from this point control engine torque as normal.

• The clutch is disengaged when braking from low speed, e.g. for a junction, roundabout or traffic lights. The system continuously prepares for the most suitable gear, which is immediately engaged when the accelerator is pressed.

• No special mode is needed to connect a trailer, for example.

Load sensing and starting

• Load and inclination sensors automatically determine the choice of starting gear. No action is required from the driver.

• Interaction between Scania Opticruise, launch control and clutch protection systems will maximise clutch life.

Manoeuvring and low-speed driving

• High-precision manoeuvring is possible in standard driving mode thanks to the electro-hydraulic control of the automatic clutch.

• The Manoeuvring mode provides extra precision in exceptional situations. In this mode the resolution of the accelerator pedal is increased and the engine control is softened to decrease risk of wheel slip.

• Another feature to increase the control of the vehicle in manoeuvring mode is that the clutch is always disengaged when the accelerator pedal is released.

• The Manoeuvring mode disengages automatically in high range or if the lever is pulled towards the steering wheel.

 

Rocking

• Rocking is possible in forward or reverse gears.

• The system identifies the need for rocking by comparing the rotation of the drive wheels with that of the front wheels.

• In rocking mode, quickly releasing the accelerator will immediately disengage the clutch, enabling the vehicle to roll back for a new attempt.

• Extra smooth rocking is available in manoeuvring mode (useful in ultra-slippery conditions), as well as extra smooth power delivery once the vehicle gets underway.

Remote PTO operation

• The gearbox power take-off can be programmed by the bodybuilder for remote engagement and operation from outside the vehicle.

Protecting the gearbox

• In the Fully Automated Scania Opticruise, the clutch is opened also to ensure that the torque in the gearbox is zero. This will improve the comfort of the shift, but since there is hardly any torque in the driveline when the clutch is opened there is no extra clutch wear.

• The gear in drive is disengaged, meaning that the gearbox is put into neutral.

• Then the engine speed is controlled to match the speed of the new gear and the clutch is closed.

• When the engine speed is synchronised, the new gear is engaged

• Then engine torque can be returned to what is demanded by the accelerator pedal.

Service benefits

Scania Opticruise is integrated in the gearbox cover of a completely standard Scania gearbox, 8-, 12 or 12+2-speed, with or without the Scania Retarder and normal PTO options.

The clutch is also a standard unit. Only the external actuation system differs from that of a standard clutch.

This philosophy will secure parts and service availability wherever a vehicle is working. Workshop staff will be fully familiar with the components and have all tools needed. The only items that are special with Opticruise are the gearbox cover with pneumatic shift controls and the electro-hydraulic actuator for the automatic clutch with integrated inclination sensor.

A limp-home facility is provided as insurance against a clutch failure. Automatic gearchanges are then made without using the clutch (normal operating mode of the system in a 3-pedal Opticruise). Starting is possible using the ignition key and starter motor. The vehicle is brought to a standstill by selecting neutral.

 

Hill-hold

• Standard on Fully Automated Scania Opticruise, optional on 3-pedal versions

• Works uphill and downhill.

• When stationary, the wheel brakes will remain applied for around three seconds while lifting the foot from the brake pedal (audio and visual warning activated).

• When depressing the accelerator, the Hill-hold will not release until torque is sufficient to prevent the vehicle from rolling back.