Pik Rite Product Designed to End Harsh Automatic Transmission PTO Startup

Pik Rite Product Designed to End Harsh Automatic Transmission PTO Startup
Clint Morris, left, of Pik Rite, discusses operation of the company’s In-Line Soft Start PTO engagement system with a group of attendees at the 2015 WWETT Show. The device acts as a torque converter, eliminating harsh PTO startup on vacuum trucks using automatic transmissions. (Photo by Craig Mandli)

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As younger, more technology-savvy workers join the portable sanitation industry, manufacturers in turn are upping the tech ante. There is a catch, though. While this wave of new vacuum truck operators is computer literate, they are not always comfortable operating standard transmissions in service vehicles. That line of thought inspired Pik Rite to engineer its In-Line Soft Start PTO engagement system, introduced at the 2015 Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport (WWETT) Show.

“Companies invest heavily in both equipment and the techs they hire to run it,” says Tim Lightner, sales and marketing manager for Pik Rite. “This is a product that melds those ideas together. It enables companies to update equipment while also making it more user-friendly for young techs.”

Typically when engaging the PTO with an automatic transmission, damage can occur to the gearbox and coupler due to the harsh startup caused by higher revolutions per minute. Not only does this create expense for replacement parts, it also increases equipment downtime. To combat that, the In-Line Soft Start torque converter can be installed on the input of the right-angle gearbox drive. The converter acts as a clutch, eliminating shock load between the gearbox and the coupler while still allowing the tech to operate an automatic transmission. It softly starts the truck’s blower or vacuum pump versus a more abrupt method.

“We designed it as an alternative to converting trucks to a hydraulic system to run the pumps and blowers,” says Lightner, while noting that it is aimed at the vacuum truck market. “Those are the guys that are going to see the most premature coupler wear or pump and blower damage caused by hard starts.”    

The system can be retrofitted to an existing truck or added to a new truck build. To install the unit, the truck’s gearbox input shaft is drilled and tapped to receive the coupler. Pik Rite began beta testing the unit two years ago, and according to Lightner, the feedback was exactly what they were looking for.

“The guys that have been using this in the field love it,” he says. “That’s really why we brought it here and made it our featured product for the 2015 show. We know it works and want to get the idea out there.”

Lightner says development of the In-Line Soft Start was a direct answer to issues attendees brought up in the Pik Rite booth at past shows. “Basically, customers were complaining, saying they were having trouble finding techs that could easily operate manual transmission vacuum trucks, and there was no way to gently engage the PTO on big automatic transmission trucks.”

Pik Rite typically has a large space on the WWETT Show floor. That not only gives the company an opportunity to show off its newest products, but also plenty of space to engage attendees.

“That’s why we love coming to this show,” Lightner says. “This is our customer base. This is where we get ideas. We wouldn’t miss it.” 800/326-9763; www.pikrite.com.


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