Volvo Trucks' I-Shift Gearbox revolutionises truck transport
Following enhancements to its cutting-edge I-Shift gearbox in 2014, Volvo Trucks Middle East has revealed how the pioneering technology has positively impacted the regions trucking industry. Characterised by its fast gear changing capabilities, Volvo Trucks’ pioneering technology offers Middle East businesses the most advanced, efficient and safe transport options yet. Volvo Trucks has rightly earned their position as industry leader by continuously driving progress within the industry and developing enhanced solutions that cater to both industry professionals and drivers.
Since its official Middle East launch in 2006, the I-Shift has been undergoing both software and hardware updates to ensure optimum performance. The pulling capacity has also undertaken major upgrades, the most recent of which, saw the pulling capacity rise to an astonishing 100 tonnes, on some topographies, when the I-Shift was reintroduced with Volvo's new FH, FM and FMX ranges in 2014.
The innovative gearbox is the first transmission of its kind which has been specifically designed for heavy long haulage and construction applications. It offers up to 7% fuel efficiency, especially when combined with Volvo Trucks’ leading aerodynamics features and services such as Dynafleet, to ensure minimal internal energy loss while optimising fuel consumption.
Appreciation of the I-Shift has been strongly reflected via sales with deliveries of Volvo trucks equipped with the I-Shift gearbox, growing by 112% in 2014 compared to 2013 in the Middle East, with growth expected to continue in 2015. In 2014, the number of Volvo trucks sold with the I-Shift gearbox, represented 40% of total Volvo Trucks sales in the Middle East compared to 24% in 2013.
Ralf Lind, Product Manager at Volvo Trucks Middle East said: “Our ground breaking 12 speed I-Shift gearbox is a fully automated gearbox which is designed to provide high comfort levels for drivers and maximum fuel efficiency. The insolent engineering of the I-Shift technology provides optimum performance conditions for Volvo Trucks in every application and driving conditions. The I-Shift’s intelligent electronics constantly monitor factors like road grade, speed, weight, and engine load to help keep the truck in the most fuel-efficient gear possible. This technology allows drivers the safest, most efficient, informed and comfortable driving experience possible.”
The I-Shift system benefits are three-fold and positively impacts performance for the drivers and fleet managers as well as greatly enhancing the overall performance of the business.
Ralf Lind, continues; ‘‘Upon the handover process of trucks equipped with I-Shift technology, both fleet managers and drivers receive extensive training on the correct use of the feature to ensure the I-Shift technology is used at its full capacity and in a correct manner.”
Speaking about the system, Khalil Shir Mohammed, UAE driver training manager for FAMCO, Volvo Truck’s dealer in the UAE, said: “After being a driver trainer for many years, I started seeing repetitive patterns where the truck is misused. For example, not engaging the engine brake when going downhill, not engaging the correct gear, or driving at a very high RPM. With I-Shift, all of these driving mistakes are avoided and the truck driver can focus on the road, become more fuel efficient and reduce the wear and tear of his clutch, gearbox and brake pads. More and more customers are now aware of the benefits of the Volvo Trucks I-shift gearbox especially in the construction segment. In the past customers preferred a very basic and all mechanical truck, we are now selling more and more I-shift quipped Volvo FMX models for heavy construction, and I can assure you that our customers are very satisfied.”
Driver comfort is increased by reducing the physical demand of long hauls and excruciating construction applications which in turn significantly improves driver safety by reducing fatigue.
Lehmber Singh, who has worked as a truck driver for 10 years in the UAE, gave his personal opinion on the benefits of the Volvo I-Shift: ‘‘The Gearbox is very important. For two years I have been driving Volvo Trucks equipped with the Volvo I-Shift gearbox and this system gives me piece of mind as it looks after all of the gear shifting for me to allow me to focus more on the road. It also allows me to save fuel every month which has resulted in four awards as a good driver in the past two years. I also feel fresher and more relaxed at the end of the day when I finish my job as I don’t have to keep shifting gears all day. Given the choice, I will never go back to a manual gearbox.”
With continuing success as a vital technology to industry businesses, the I-Shift has proven to attract and retain drivers while bringing excellent advantages to fleet managers. An independent fleet study has proved a 54% increase in first-year driver retention when driving a vehicle equipped with I-Shift technology. The study also proved a 10% reduction in turnover among experienced drivers. The I-Shift also proved to be a vital tool when training new drivers by reducing the amount of time spent on training.
The Volvo I-Shift is available for the Volvo FH, FM and FMX models and can be customised by different add-ons and packages such as, Volvo Dynafleet. Dynafleet is Volvo Trucks’ online transport information system, which gives customers real time information on the current location of the vehicles, their fuel consumption, messages, driver times, service intervals and much more. By providing clear and accurate information, the system makes it easier for fleet managers make the right decisions, and enhance driver development, through the packages online e-learning feature.