Choosing The Right Power Take Off (PTO) For Your Machine -100% Genuine Factory Price
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Choosing The Right Power Take Off (PTO) For Your Machine

What is a power take off?

Power take-off (PTO) transfers the mechanical power of the engine over to another piece of the equipment. This allows for the power to move throughout the equipment to transmit energy even if it doesn’t have a motor or engine itself. Power take off (PTOs) are mechanical gearboxes that attach to apertures provided on truck transmissions and are used to transfer the power of the vehicle engine to auxiliary components, most commonly a hydraulic pump. The power take-off may be engaged by means of a cable, air pressure or hydraulic pressure.

Choosing The Right Power Take Off (PTO) For Your Machine (2)
  • A power take off (PTO) is any of several methods for taking power from a power source, such as a running engine, and transmitting it to an application such as an attached implement or separate machine.
  • Most commonly, it is a splined drive shaft installed on a tractor or truck allowing implements with mating fittings to be powered directly by the engine.
  • Semi-permanently mounted power take-offs can also be found on industrial and marine engines. These applications typically use a drive shaft and bolted joint to transmit power to a secondary implement or accessory. In the case of a marine application, such shafts may be used to power fire pumps.
  • PTO was developed mainly through the ingenuity of farmers. In the past, power take-off used belt drives, drive shaft attachments and pneumatics like bleed air, but a geared transmission is more common today.

There are many PTO options, how do you choose?

PTOs come in many different variations. Their features include different sizes, speeds, mounting styles and strengths. With so many options, how will you decide what you need? First, you have to decide what you plan to do with it. Would you use a water pump on a fire truck? Will you operate a winch on a trailer or a compactor on a garbage truck? Or would you spend hours in the field on a tractor pulling a lawnmower behind you to cut the grass? Determining what you plan to use your PTO for will guide you every step of the way.

What to Consider When Choosing a PTO

  • In what way will the PTO participate? Will it be an air valve, an electrical linkage, or a hydraulic mechanism that activates the PTO?
  • What part of the transmission are you going to attach the PTO to? You have to be aware of accessibility, functionality and space. You also have to know the direction and rotation of the PTO shaft. And, if you’re mounting it to a pump, the mounting face and shaft dimensions of the pump.
  • What are your speed requirements for the driven component, and your desired PTO percentage?
  • What are your torque and horsepower requirements of the driven component?
  • And, finally, what is the make and model of the transmission you intend to attach the PTO to?
  • This may seem obvious, but you have to know if your PTO and transmission are even compatible.
Choosing The Right Power Take Off (PTO) For Your Machine (2)

Experience helps choose PTO

  • Essentially, you have to understand your machine, your transmission and your PTO choice. If you don’t know these things, we’re happy to help you by answering your questions and providing our industrial machinery experts should you need any assistance.
  • Because PTOs are often exposed to the elements, safely handling the mechanical power source is essential. Operators should be aware of how to use PTO accessories safely and always power down and remove keys from the ignition for any maintenance.
  • Without specific knowledge of how to properly operate them, you can easily be hurt, so please be careful and don’t hesitate to call us! If you need more information, check out our post on how to safely operate a Power Take Off.
  • However, if you’re ready to do some work, and you know you need a PTO-and if you know which PTO you need-please contact us and let us know how we can help you.
Why are power take-off (PTO) important?
  • PTO diverts energy that would otherwise be wasted to another source. This helps it perform various completely necessary functions. For example, towing with its weight is impossible without power take off. That’s why it’s important to have it installed in your machine as it helps you with different applications.
  • Below are frequently asked questions and answers about power take off collected on the Internet.
How does a power take off unit work?
  • Power take-off (PTO) is a device that transfers an engine’s mechanical power to another piece of equipment. A PTO allows the hosting energy source to transmit power to additional equipment that does not have its own engine or motor. For example, a PTO helps to run a jack hammer using a tractor engine. The rotating power from turning gets turned into what is known as hydraulic power. 
  • This has also become known as fluid power, and it gets controlled through a pressurized system. The rotating motion will cause a buildup of pressure in the crankshaft, and the power can be used for a variety of different purposes as it builds up.
  • Actuation of PTO can be either hydraulic or pneumatic. It is self-adjusting and removes the need for the pilot bearing inside the engine flywheel. Features include reduced maintenance, less chance of premature failures, and improved engine and bearing life since there is no direct loading to the crankshaft.
Purpose of power take off?
  • Greater engine efficiency
  • Controls the hydraulics for raising or lowering dump truck bed
  • Used for towing vehicles
  • Runs the water pump to spray through the hose
  • You will see that PTO has been used for a variety of different applications like harvesters, wood chippers, hay balers, water pumps and carpet cleaners.
How is PTO power calculated?

To determine PTO power either power equation using torque can be used. Power (kW) = To × N 9549 where kW = kilowatts; To = torque (Nm); N = speed (rpm). Drawbar power (Dbhp) is power measured at the point implements are attached to the tractor, drawbar or 3 point hitch. 

Choosing The Right Power Take Off (PTO) For Your Machine
How many types of power take off?

There are three common power take-off methods in the mobile machine market; tractor style, truck transmission style and engine crankshaft-driven. 

(1) Tractor PTO

You can trace the tractor PTO back almost as far as tractors themselves from when most of the PTOs drove with a transmission, located near the back part of the tractor. This form of PTO will only engage when you power up the transmission clutch. In fact, the mechanism couples with the transmission so that when you depress the clutch, the PTO doesn’t run.

(2) Truck PTO transmission mode

Smaller trucks use the PTO to drive the hydraulic pump for a hoist or winch. Meanwhile, large trucks might employ a PTO for a variety of purposes, but hydraulic pumps are the most common, and they get used to load and unload the different types of cargo. For a larger transmission, you might have two to three of these to help with the provision of every transmission. Let the normal clutch out to get the output shaft to spin.


(3) Crankshaft drive

The crankshaft-driven method usually gets used for hydraulic pumps mounted to the front of your truck. For example, you might use it for a cement mixer. The small shaft will have a U-jointed design and attach to the yoke coupler for turning the pump. Normally, you don’t hear this configuration referred to as a PTO, but it still technically classifies as one.

How does the power take off system work on your compact utility tractor?

Front-end implements work off the midpoint PTO and hydraulic lines shunted to the front. In Deere’s compact utility tractors, a selector lever on the operating platform lets an operator switch on either the midpoint PTO or rear PTO, or both. Extending the midpoint PTO shaft forward powers front-end attachments.

Where can I find semi-permanently mounted power take offs?
  • Semi-permanently mounted power take off can also be found on industrial and marine engines. These applications typically use a drive shaft and bolted joint to transmit power to a secondary implement or accessory. In the case of a marine application, such shafts may be used to power fire pumps.
  • Whenever the equipment doesn’t have its own engine, you will see this used. For example, you will often see PTOs used in commercial vehicles and farming equipment. In fact, the innovation of the PTO came mostly from the ingenuity of farmers. A tractor engine serves as the PTO to operate a jackhammer or other equipment.
Main classification of PTO

engine front-end PTO, engine rear-end PTO, clamp-type PTO, transmission upper cover PTO, transmission side cover PTO, transmission rear end cover PTO, transfer case PTO drive shaft power take off

Choosing The Right Power Take Off (PTO) For Your Machine (3)
  • The front-end power take-off of the engine is a commonly used type, which is generally output from the timing gear chamber or from the fan and the pulley of the water pump, such as the air pump in the air brake system, and some special working devices. Due to the long distance from the power take-off to the special device and the need to change the transmission direction, if the mechanical transmission is used, the structure is very complicated, so hydraulic transmission is generally used.
  • The power take-off at the rear end of the engine is generally at the flywheel. The gear at the front end of the flywheel drives the power take-off gear through the intermediate shaft gear, thereby driving the output shaft of the power take-off. The advantage of this power take-off method is that it is not controlled by the main clutch, but because the structure of the end of the crankshaft is changed, it will have some impact on the balance.
  • Installed between the main clutch and the supercharger. The first shaft in the original transmission was replaced by a long shank gear shaft and a sprocket shaft in the power take off. When installed, the long shank pinion is supported in the center of the engine flywheel, while the sprocket serves as the first shaft of the modified transmission.
  • This arrangement is to modify the upper cover of the original transmission, stack the power take-off on the transmission, and use an idler gear to mesh with the first shaft input gear of the transmission, and then the idler gear The power is transmitted to the output shaft of the power take off. This power take off also has the characteristic of outputting at the same speed as the engine, so it is suitable for working devices that require high-speed input.
  • The power take-off of the transmission side cover can be divided into left side cover power take off and right side cover power take-off. Since the power output has been considered in the design of the transmission, it is generally reserved on the left and right sides of the transmission. For the standard power take off interface, there are also power take off manufacturers that specialize in producing it. Therefore, this kind of power take off is more commonly used, but the power take off form is generally taken from the gear on the intermediate shaft of the transmission. The route is decelerated by a pair of constant mesh gears of the transmission, so the speed of the output shaft of the power take off is always lower than the engine speed.
  • It is a kind of transmission rear end cover power take off, and the power is taken out by the transmission output shaft.
  • For car chassis with transfer case, this power take-off method can be used. The power transmission from the power take-off to the special working device can be completed by mechanical transmission or hydraulic transmission. The main components of the mechanical transmission are the universal joint and the drive shaft. In the design, the included angles of the universal joints at both ends of the drive shaft should be equal, and the included angle should be minimized. 
  • The mechanical transmission structure is simple, the transmission is reliable, the manufacturing and use costs are low, and the use and maintenance are convenient. The main components of hydraulic transmission are hydraulic pump and hydraulic motor. Its main features are that the power transmission arrangement is easy, the operation is convenient, it can realize stepless speed change and long-distance transmission, and can absorb shock loads.
  • No matter what type of power take-off, the transmission ratio should be determined by the speed, power and external characteristics of the engine required by the special working device. The basic principle is to meet the power and speed required by the working device. Under the premise, choose a lower engine speed and a higher engine load rate.

Some of the other applications where you see a PTO includes:

  • Wood chippers
  • Hay balers
  • Harvesters
  • Mechanical arms
  • Water pumps

If you’re here, it’s likely you don’t just have a passing interest in industrial power take off. You’ve either used a PTO before or are planning to use one soon, we offer top quality PTO replacement parts. And if you’re using PTOs, you know that there is a wide range of types and brands that can be installed and utilized for various powerful machines. Contact us today to find out how we can help you!

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