Harnessing horsepower

Since 1918, Twin Disc power transmission technology has been changing the way the world works

For nearly 100 years, the company has remained a leader in designing and manufacturing the most innovative heavy-duty industrial equipment. Its products can be found in the drivelines and powertrains of a huge array of equipment—from tractors, trucks and turbines to work boats and pleasure craft. Its line-up includes power-shift transmissions, mechanical and hydraulic power take-offs, gearboxes, torque converters, pump drives, air clutches, electronic shift controls and universal control drives.

The company’s story began with a unique twin disc clutch designed to make a farm tractor more reliable, more productive and easier to operate. It worked like a charm and helped to revolutionize the agricultural equipment industry. One innovation led to another, and today Twin Disc has built a worldwide reputation on its ability to engineer and build power transmission and propulsion systems for a vast array of applications.

In fact, Twin Disc’s basic power-shift automatic transmission design has proven so strong and versatile it has evolved into all sorts of niches. For example, manufacturers of aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) vehicles all over the world routinely specify Twin Disc automation transmission systems. Military transport trucks and tank retrievers endure the rigors of the battlefield, utilising Twin Disc transmissions. And oil and gas field operations use Twin Disc transmissions to harness the huge horsepower of cementing and fracturing trucks.

The company’s marine propulsion products – transmissions including the revolutionary QuickShift, Arneson Surface Drives, Rolla Propellers, electronic controls, and the Express Joystick System – continue to set the industry standards for high performance applications. Furthermore, it is far and away the world’s leading supplier of power take-offs (PTOs) and clutches for heavy-duty applications such as wood chippers, tub grinders, rock crushers, irrigation pumps and marine installations.

Thanks to a rigorous dedication to continuous development and a highly-experienced research and development (R&D) department, over the last 12 months numerous solutions have been announced and launched, which demonstrate the level of engineering expertise and service afforded to its customers by Twin Disc.

As recently as January 2017 the organisation announced the a new ‘Remote Over Center’ PTO, the RO 314/311. The innovative product uses a patent-pending design to remotely engage the over-center mechanism in the company’s proven SP 314/311 PTO and is complementary to the previously released RO114/RO214. The RO 314/311 can be engaged and disengaged remotely via a control valve and/or electronic control when machinery configurations or location hinder easy access to activation. Hydraulic or pneumatic actuation is achieved through ports, making access to the fittings uncomplicated and straightforward. Hydraulic or pneumatic pressure is required only to engage or disengage the PTO; the fluid or air supply can be shut off when not needed.

Without the constant hydraulic or pneumatic flow of other designs, the unit’s clutch operation is far more efficient and cost-effective than that of its competition. The RO 314/311 is dimensionally similar to the current mechanical SP 314/311. It continues to utilize three 14” friction plates in the 314 and three 11” plates in the 311. Existing SPs may be field converted to an RO using kits available from Twin Disc. The advanced design of the PTO allows for side load and inline applications. External cooling, filtration or a rotary union are not needed.

Built strong to last, the RO 314/311 excels in a wide range of industrial applications including agriculture, construction, manufacturing, marine, mining, timber, and oil and gas production. The units are installed by OEMs and in custom settings.

The RO 314/311 was followed up by another debut in March (at CONEXPO-CON/AGG, in Las Vegas, Nevada) of the HP800, a middle horsepower range option in its industrial lineup of heavy-duty, hydraulically-actuated PTOs. With an impressive maximum power rating of 800 hp at 1800 rpm, the HP800 is built to deliver serious muscle where other PTOs would falter. It’s ideal for driving pumps, grinders, crushers, dredgers, chippers, shredders, heavy-duty drills and other severe applications.

Like Twin Disc’s first hydraulically actuated PTO, the HP1200, the HP800 has a modular design allowing for either side-load “P” or in-line “I” applications with the simple change of bearing carriers. An advanced control system allows for smooth engagement of the driven equipment.

A key feature of the HP800 is the auxiliary drive pump towers with 400 hp maximum capacity per tower, or 450 hp maximum for both. They’re rotatable by 0°, 45° and 90°, either clockwise or counterclockwise, to allow for clearance in any installation. Optional speed increase ratios of 0.77:1 and 0.83:1 are available. Pads and splines are easily interchangeable to accommodate varying pump sizes. Sizes SAE A through SAE E are available.

A popular option that can be built into the HP800 is an integrated reservoir. Unlike a separate, externally mounted unit, it saves space and reduces installation cost. This innovative design allows for the installation of the standard charge/lube pump on a separate pad, freeing up all four auxiliary pads for customer use. A spring applied, hydraulically released brake (SAHR) has been added as a standard feature. An integral, mechanical brake release allows the output shaft to easily be rotated if the driven equipment becomes jammed.

An innovative, high-capacity brake with control logic is offered as an option. It slows the output when driving large masses in a shorter amount of time. The HP800 is available with SAE #0 (SAE J617) input housing and 18” SAE 460 (SAE J620) input coupling, or SAE #1 input housing and 14” SAE 355 input coupling. Initially offered with a dual auxiliary pump tower, a single tower version will be released at a later date.

It is clear from just these two examples that innovation is one of the driving forces behind the success at Twin Disc and this is supported by its superlative manufacturing capabilities – summed up by the phrase ‘if we can think it, we can build it’. The company has invested in the finest computer controlled machine tools and organized them in the most efficient, effective and flexible manufacturing floor plans. It cross trains its operators so that they can quickly adapt to changing production line orders. Its flexible, cell-based manufacturing facilities can adapt quickly to create new products as they are developed. Its manufacturing centers in the US and Europe are certified under the provisions of ISO 9001.

It also has an approach where rather than supplying individual components, Twin Disc designs, engineers and manufactures carefully matched power transmission systems. All the elements of the system – transmission, torque converters, fluid couplings, electronic controls – are designed to work together to transmit power from the source to the work – quickly, efficiently, smoothly and reliably.

Twin Disc successfully builds products for so many diverse applications because it controls every step from development, from research and engineering to manufacturing to sales and service. It has the engineering and application experience to anticipate the power transmission or propulsion challenges a machine, vehicle, or marine craft will face, and has the resources to develop a specific product solution to meet those challenges.

This philosophy not only produces innovative designs, but also allows customers to integrate Twin Disc products into their production lines, which provides the end user with a better performing product while increasing the original equipment manufacturer’s brand value. With its unique engineering skills and manufacturing expertise, Twin Disc delivers systems that offer incomparable effectiveness and efficiency under the most gruelling conditions. With a vast network of distributor and dealer locations around the world, Twin Disc is more than just a name that customers know – it is one they can trust.

Twin Disc
Services: Manufacturer and distributor of power transmission equipment