|Rendering of a Universal Transmission that would support engines up to 525 hp (392 kW). Click to enlarge.|
VMT (Vernier Moon Torque) Technologies, a development and licensing company headquartered at the Novell Technology Center in Provo, Utah, is developing a positively engaged, metal-to-metal infinitely variable transmission. The Universal Transmission, which uses an engaged drive chain rather than a friction belt, will be able to increase fuel efficiency by up to 30% or more while generating high torque performance, according to the company.
The working CAD prototype shows a transmission with an engaged neutral that requires no clutch or torque converter. VMT claims that its just-completed bench model shows that it has solved the partial integer (non-integer) tooth problem in a constantly engaged, metal-to-metal infinitely variable transmission. The developmental stage for this invention is about completed, the company says.
Although a number of proposals have been made for positively engaged variable transmissions, a major challenge is the gear tooth meshing problem known as the partial integer (or non-integer) tooth problem. The partial integer tooth problem exists in positively engaged variable transmissions that attempt to achieve a step-less change in the transmission ratio by varying the number of teeth or the diametral pitch of a gear.
To enable an infinite number of gear ratios, a particular gear within an engaged gear pair would need to be able to continuously increase or decrease its number of teeth. This continuous change in the number of teeth would ultimately require that teeth be added to the gear in non-integer increments.
With six letters of intent in hand and the first completed bench model ready to show, VMT says it is finalizing which vehicle and original equipment manufacturers will be part of the first group of strategic partners to produce the Universal Transmission in-vehicle prototypes.
VMT engineers will reveal the test data, CAE data and finished drawings within the next 30-60 days to a group of potential strategic partners. VMT CEO Richard Wilson says this information will prove their technology is “the real deal.” He expects licensing agreements to be signed before year’s end.
According to VMT, the technology eliminates dynamic friction in torque transference and enables infinite ratio changes for increased fuel efficiency. The Universal Transmission will also offer the same or better torque and performance as standard transmissions. In addition, with its infinite gear ratios it solves the poor load management system of standard transmissions that lose momentum every time the engine disconnects or shifts gears.
The Universal Transmission allows the engine to consistently operate in the sweet spot and maintain maximum torque launch with its engaged or geared neutral. And it requires less expensive parts and reduces the weight, which means greater profit margins for manufacturers. Plus, it’s completely scalable for all sizes, classes and applications.—Richard Wilson
Besides the potential benefits for standard fuel vehicles, the Universal Transmission could have a significant impact on the hybrid and electric vehicle market by reducing the cost and demand on the controller, as well as reduce battery drain, VMT says. It can also increase the range for electric vehicles by up to 30% and torque capacity by 50% or more.
VMT says that the technology is highly scalable and is adaptable to virtually all applications ranging from electric vehicles, SUVs, heavy equipment and tanks, to ships and windmills—hence, “Universal Transmission”.
Ryan R. Dalling (MS Thesis, BYU, 2008) An Investigation of Positive Engagement, Continuously Variable Transmissions