TRUCK's Variable frictionless transmission prototype

A continuously variable frictionless transmission prototype (proof-of-concept) with high torque was developed and manufactured, based on customer’s patented invention. The prototype went for static testing and further R&D.

An inventor from Academia approached EnCata with his patented idea of a new type of variable frictionless transmission, enabling high torque with “no-clutch” design. The variator prototype did not exist, and there was a preliminary CAD.

We have qualified the technology readiness for this “no-clutch variator” as TRL-2 and started to redesign the transmission in an effort to validate the inventor’s research and refine the concept.

Upon preparing the detailed CAD for manufacturing we have realised that the suggested design will not function in a prototype and will not demonstrate the intended principle. Since the motivation behind the project was to produce a real scale working proof-of-principle prototype, we advised redesigning the variator.

Thus we had to scrap the customer’s initial 3D model and start to redesign the transmission all over. The project went through the standard ‘EnCata project flow‘, whereby we had to come up with the new technical concept and run a series of kinematic simulations and calculations, before bringing up the new CAD 3D model.

During the concept phase, some of the variable transmission parts were considered to be critical and “risky” in terms of momentums/ forces vs tolerances (even despite the fact we conducted s large sets of numerical simulations). In order to test these, we have chosen to print some gears with the SLA 3D printer.


When finished with the technical concept and the new preliminary CAD, the engineering team produced the documentation for prototype manufacturing.

There has been much CNC milling, EDM erosion and annealing when manufacturing precision gears of the variator. The whole manufacturing took EnCata 4 weeks, including assembly.

Upon porotype manufacturing completion, we have conducted tests and updated the 2D drawing and the BOM. This brought the variator project to the TRL-4 level and proved the initial concept of the frictionless transmission design.

Overall, the customer enjoyed the full service with EnCata, which included:

  • new technical concept development
  • computer simulations
  • CAD model development with a set of drawings
  • prototype manufacturing and tests

During this project, EnCata has invented a number of patentable features, which all were transferred to the customer (as this is the company’s policy: all the intellectual work created during the project belongs to our clients). The client went to do fundraising within the automotive industry which seeks for new reliable variable transmission types.