Hino go auto with Pro-Shift 6 AMT

Hino has introduced the Pro Shift 6 AMT, an automated manual transmission into their Hino 500 Series medium-duty range FC 1022 and FD 1124 models. 

By going to a proprietary six speed automated manual transmission, Hino can now offer an auto choice, straight off the production line in Japan. The two-pedal box gives drivers working in busy, high traffic situations the opportunity to leave the gear selection choice to the truck itself and give more attention to the safety of the truck and the situation around them.

The new transmission is an automated version of the current Hino LX manual transmission. It was developed by Hino themselves, and has been on sale in Japan for nearly 10 years. The basic gearbox is exactly the same as the one sold as a manual in Australia – it is an overdrive gearbox with the AMT using a slightly taller top gear than can be found in the manual version. The system is basically an electronic control system fitted to the top of the manual gearbox to actuate the gear changes.

An automated manual transmission for Hino in Australia has been a long time coming. Even though it has been on sale in Japan for sometime, the amount of development dollars allocated to AMTs within the Hino organisation has been relatively small. The take-up of AMTs in the Japanese domestic market has been quite low and there is very little demand in Hino's other export markets apart from here in Australia. This has meant setting the AMT up for the Australian market has been lowdown on the queue for development dollars. However, now the work has been done and the automated manual transmission Pro Shift has been designed and calibrated specifically for Australian road conditions.

“We have worked with Japan for the past three and a half years from the concept of an automated manual transmission to introducing it into specific models,” says Alex Stewart, Hino Divisional Manager-Product Strategy, Marketing and Dealer Development. “There are complicating factors like exhaust emission regulation changes so we had to bring these factors into the design process. We went through an engine change from J08 to J07 and wanted those changes to bed down before we introduced the new AMT.”

The clutch being used is a dry plate type of clutch, there is no need for any kind of fluid coupling within the box to ease changes of ratio. The system uses precise computer-controlled engagement of ratio and clutch to keep taking off and gear changing smooth. The swift changes and dry plate clutch ensure minimal interruption of power from the engine to the rest of the driveline.

“Clutch engagement is controlled by your right foot, basically,” says Daniel Petrovski, Hino Manager-Product Planning. “When you come to a halt at something like traffic lights, you don't need to worry about clutch engagement. Just floor it and the vehicle will control the clutch engagement and it will be a smooth take-off every time. This is one of the keys to our AMT, many of the customers asking for this transmission are fleet customers and they have a high level of variability between their drivers.

“They do have some drivers who may get better fuel consumption and clutch wear with a manual but also have a number of drivers who don't treat the truck as well as they should. With an AMT fitted they can bring fuel consumption and clutch replacement costs down to a level close to that which is possible with their best drivers.”

Read the full test in the October edition of Prime Mover.

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