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How many ratios do you need in your gearbox?

Mark Laing

Mark Laing

Posted Apr 24, 2013

Hi there

This may seem a strange topic for a Process Engineering Blog but bear with me on this.

Over the past few years, car manufacturers seem to be in a race to develop the cars with the highest number of gear ratios in them. Currently cars on the market have automatic gearboxes with 8 forward ratios. Manual gearboxes exist with 7 forward gears now.  I have also heard about possible future gearboxes with 10 forward ratios. Given this you would think that these manufacturers would have just have followed Nissan’s lead and just have developed a CVT or Continuously Variable Transmission. In this case, effectively is a heavy duty elastic band that is used to infinitely vary the ratio between engine and drive-shaft.

Now I don’t know about you but I think a manual gearbox with 6 ratios is more than adequate and I could maybe stretch that to 7 for an automatic but that is good enough. I don’t need any more and if fuel economy is the driver, go for a CVT.

Which brings me back to this blog. We need to ensure that the solutions we develop align with our customer’s expectations and requirements and not just develop something because it would be for technology’s sake. I hope we are doing that in Valor MSS where we have plenty of feedback from you.



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