The power take off is present in all land vehicles and some marine vessels. It essentially uses a driveshaft that is connected to the engine to provide power to the wheels, or in the case of marine vessels, to rotate the propeller in the water to power the vessel.
In case you are still wondering what a power take off is, it is that box connected to the rotating pole beneath a truck or vehicle. The length and width of the shaft may vary but the function remains the same: drawing power from the engine and PTO into the wheels.
Safety Issues Related to the Power Take Off
Although the power take off is located beneath the chassis, it is still a common cause for accident, especially in cases where it is accidentally loosened from its attachments. In most cases, the front attachment (the part connected to the engine) may become loose due to the constant motion of the vehicle. When this happens, it becomes stuck in the road and because of the vehicle's forward motion, the rear attachments become loose, sometimes forcibly torn because of the impact of the loose forward attachments.
Another safety issue that is commonly raised on the operation of the power take off is that some materials used for it are not heavy duty enough as to withstand constant operation. In particular, some of these are made from very light materials that make them easily damaged.
Improvements of Power Take Off
One of the earliest problems of the power take off is that it consumes too much of the power produced by the engine. This is a direct result of the immense weight of the PTO. As a result, efforts were made to make it lighter and therefore make it less much of a strain on the power produced by the vehicle. A proof of this are PTOs made from alloys of very light yet durable metals that replaced the all-steel construction.
Another old problem with the PTO is that because of its heavy weight, it is very difficult and exacting to detach it during maintenance works. This was remedied by coming up with detachable power take offs that made it easy to detach and attach. Moreover, because of the lighter construction of the new generation of PTOs, maintaining them is not much of a strain anymore.
The Future of Power Take Offs
Most PTOs before operates on mechanical forces. Today however, electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical systems are used to power it. In terms of applications, it is not only used to draw power from the engines but also in other fields such as in the rising and lowering of truck beds, especially those used in the hauling of sand and gravel.
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