A Power Take-Off [PTO] refers to the process of taking power from a power source, such as a running engine and transmitting it into an application like a separate machine. Dredges, road planers, and other machinery require power from some sort of engine to efficiently perform their intended function. Without a power take-off, it would be essential to add a second engine to provide the power which is necessary to run equipment such as hydraulic pumps and any other driveline attached equipment.
How the power take-off works
The rotating power from turning gets turned into what is known as hydraulic power. The rotating motion will cause a buildup of pressure in the crankshaft, and the power can be used to perform many different functions as it builds up.
Why is power take-off important?
The power take-off [PTO] takes energy that would have been wasted and transfers it over to another source. Adding a second engine is not realistic, hence making power take off units [PTO] a valuable element in providing power to secondary applications. This is what helps it to perform various functions that are very essential. For instance, towing would not be possible with the weight amount that it is without having a power take-off. This is why having a power take-off installed in your equipment is critical because of how much it can help you with various functions.
Power take-off on a truck
Power take-off units connect a truck’s engine to another device to help it run. Some trucks come equipped with a PTO unit, while others may not have it installed.
How to select the right power take-off [PTO] unit
Power take-off choice is crucial to provide sufficient power to the auxiliary equipment without extremely limiting the primary function of the prime mover. Selecting a power take off requires specific information regarding the application and the power needs of the secondary application.
Here are the top factors you need to consider when selecting a power take off.
- PTO model and design
The model of the PTO is a top factor that you must consider. Simple design and minimal parts mean fewer problems and longer lifespan, leading to more jobs getting done on time.
- Application usage
- Torque and horsepower requirements of the driven component
- Intermittent or continuous operation
Intermittent duty cycles are considered those that last for less than five minutes at a time for few times within a day. Continuous duty applications reduce the PTO’s torque and horsepower ratings. For continuous operation, the PTO operates more than five minutes every 15 minutes.
- Speed requirements of the driven component
- Space allocation
- Method of PTO engagement
Different types of PTO
Even though they perform the same general function, there are different types of PTO. Each of these PTOs serves specific industrial applications. Here are some of the common types of power take-off.
- Mechanical PTO
- GM Style PTO
- Automotive-Style PTO
- Type 1 PTO
- Type 2 PTO
Applications of PTO
The typical applications of PTC include
- Running a water pump on a fire engine truck
- Operating the compactor on a garbage truck
- Powering a blower system used to move dry materials like cement
- Operating a winch on a garbage truck
- Raising the bed of a dump truck
PTO safety guidelines
PTOs can be quite hazardous since the shafts rotate at a high speed, that’s why you need to ensure that you practice safety guidelines. Here are PTO safety guidelines you should practice.
Before you start the power source, ensure that the PTO is disengaged. If the power turn-off is already engaged when you start the power source, the machinery which is powered by the PTO will begin to operate. Be very careful when machinery with a separable PTO shaft.
Keep the safety shields securely fastened on the equipment. You cannot safely operate the PTO if the shield isn’t in place. A sudden fall or slip may throw a worker directly onto the unshielded rotation shaft.
Wear snug-fitting clothes when working near the power shafts. It is not advisable to wear loose clothes because they can catch in or be wrapped around the power shaft. The hair should be tied, as well. Never wear any type of jewelry when working around the power shafts because they might get entangled.
Review these essential points when operating a PTO
- Keep all the PTO shields and guards in place, even when it isn’t operating.
- Never engage the PTO when the machine engine is shut off.
- Always disconnect the PTO when not in use.
- Keep your hands, feet, clothing, and long hair away from the PTO.
- Always disengage all the power and shut down equipment before servicing.
- Don’t get closer to the PTO driveline until all the parts have stopped rotating.
- Don’t check, adjust, grease, or unplug any PTO-powered equipment while the PTO shaft is rotating.
Simple Power Turn-off maintenance tips
It is necessary to maintain the PTO to increase its lifespan. PTO maintenance can be as simple as replacing seals and looking for leaks, to cleaning, removing the pump, and applying grease to the shaft. Again, if the power take-off is making loud and persistent noise, it should be removed and the gears inspected for nicks and/or metal shavings. If any of these two are found, a repair should be done to ensure continued operation.
PTO maintenance also depends on daily or weekly use. A PTO that’s used more often requires proper and regular maintenance. Regarding maintenance, each application is different. However, there are common areas to consider when preparing a maintenance routine for a PTO.
For instance, you should start with a solid visual inspection of the entire PTO. This can help to identify any damage to the housing, wiring problem, and small leaks. After that, you can inspect the mounting of the PTO to the transmission. The bolts that hold the PTO to the transmission housing have certain torque requirements to prevent leaks and maintain proper backlash. You can quickly inspect these bolts to prevent future failure.
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