Volkswagen Equipped with Allison Automatic Works Round-the-Clock in Sugarcane Mill

Equipped with a water tank for firefighting, the VW Constellation 31.280 with an Allison 3000 Series™ transmission runs 24 hours a day at the sugarcane mill Usina Cerradão, in Frutal, the interior of the State of Minas Gerais

SÃO PAULO, Brazil – November 2021 – Allison Transmission, a leading designer and manufacturer of conventional and electrified vehicle propulsion solutions and the largest global manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty fully automatic transmissions for commercial and defense vehicles, is the transmission of choice for Usina Cerradão, a sugarcane mill in Frutal. Usina Cerradão chose a Volkswagen Constellation 31.280 6x4 truck featuring an Allison 3000 Series™ fully automatic transmission with a PTO, which enables the vehicle to operate hydraulic pumps, compressors, and other accessories. The Constellation has a water container with the primary function of fighting and preventing fires and transporting water. The use of automatic transmissions in the mill’s shipment trucks is another considered application.

The Cerradão Group focuses on the sustainable agro-industrial sugarcane exploitation in the countryside of Frutal, a town in the region of the Minas Gerais state called Triangulo Mineiro, and comprises the companies, Usina Cerradão Ltd., Agrícola Cerradão Ltd., and Bioenergia Cerradão Ltd. Established as a modular project in June 2006, the first phase of the mill was designed for crushing up to 2.4 million tons of sugarcane, and in 2018, it was grinding around 3.1 million tons of raw material.

“We have been working with this truck for approximately two years and never had any problem with the transmission. It has exemplary operation," said Douglas da Silva Queiroz, Automotive Leader at Usina Cerradão and responsible for the company’s fleet maintenance. “The purchase of this truck was defined by our director Thiago Queiroz and Rafael Bertanha, from the supplies area. As this is an innovation in this segment, we wanted to analyze the possible advantages of this type of transmission for the sugarcane sector, as well as determine its feasibility, and cost/benefit.”

“Since I work in the vehicle maintenance area of the plant, one of the great differentials of automatic transmissions compared to manual models is the absence of any kind of problems. To date, we have only carried out the scheduled changes of lubricating oil and filter. We still have the peace of mind of Allison's five-year warranty in case of more serious malfunction,” said Queiroz.

Queiroz also points out that shifting is almost seamless and drivers not only have total control of the vehicle's drivability, but they have no chance of shifting into the wrong gear. He said that the operation of this transmission is simple, intuitive and makes life much easier for drivers. It also solves the problem of untrained labor driving the trucks.

Drivers do not have to worry about clutch operation either, one of the greatest maintenance issues in fire vehicles. It is a non-stop operation, they work 24 hours a day to transfer water, perform irrigation and wet the road to reduce any dust that would disturb neighbors.

At the Cerradão mill, manual transmission trucks that work in severe applications, such as firefighting, need to change the clutch system two to three times a year.

“I would say that if the decision of purchasing new vehicles were up to me, I would go for more trucks equipped with Allison fully automatic transmissions in our fleet. I think they add operational value and low maintenance costs,” said Queiroz.

With recognized experience in the firefighting application and being used by the fire departments in most Brazilian cities, Allison fully automatic transmissions stand out for their efficiency, performance and reduced downtime. Fire trucks equipped with automatic transmissions are more agile and help rescue teams reach emergencies faster, in addition to ensuring more control and agility in their movement and maneuvers in restricted spaces.

24 Nov, 2021