Tractors are designed to pull or carry behind them various types of specialized “implements” used in the agriculture industry. Most of these “implements” will be powered mechanically by a rear facing rotating shaft called a PTO or Power Take-Off.
Powered implements include but are not limited to grass cutters and slashers, flail mulchers, rotary hoes, power harrows, fertiliser spreaders, post hole diggers, water pumps and even concrete mixers.
So what is a PTO?
In the transport industry, a power take-off (PTO) is a specially designed gearbox that usually bolts onto the side of a truck’s transmission. This PTO is usually used to rotate hydraulic pumps to provide hydraulic power for tippers and vehicle recovery and transport units such as Tilt Trays.
On Agricultural tractors, the PTO is usually an integral (or built in) part of a tractor’s gearbox or transmission. Most tractor PTO shafts rotate at around 540 RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) whereas on trucks the PTO will drive the pump at between 800 to 1200 RPM .
Speed increase gearboxes are connected to a tractor’s PTO to drive at increased rotational speeds hydraulic gear pumps. These gears pumps provide usable hydraulic power that is needed by special farming implements or machinery used in agricultural applications.
Speed increase PTOs are special because they increase the rotational speed of the tractor’s PTO (that usually rotates at around 540 RPM) to around 1,500 RPM through a series of step up gears.
This above Speed Increase Gear box with a 1-⅜ inch Hardened Steel splined input shaft and Cast Iron Casing is rated to transfer up to 38 kW. It is driven by a Tractors PTO. The “Step Up” gearbox will increase the tractor’s input speed from 500 RPM to an output speed of around 1500 RPM.
Depending on available power from the Tractor and the power requirements of the attachment, Speed increase gearboxes are available transfer power from 10 kW, 20kW 38kW and 68kW. (13 HP, 26 HP, 50 HP and 90 HP)
The speed increase PTO usually has a step up ratio of around 1:3 (one (1) rotation input equals three (3) rotations output). The speed increase is vital because it provides more efficient rotational speeds for pumps used in fluid power applications (hydraulic systems).
PTOs are also found in other equipment such as dredges, Road planers, or profilers, augers, skip bin trucks and mobile cranes. However, the speed increase (or in some cases speed decrease) is only minor.
In a nutshell, a PTO is a mechanism that transfers power from the main engine to a secondary application, such as farm tractors and their specialized implements. Without a power take-off, a second engine will be necessary to provide the power required to run hydraulic pumps and other attachments or implements.
Tractor PTO Shaft Used to Power Grass Cutting Blades (Slasher)
An Independent PTO is a type of PTO control on a tractor in which the PTO shaft is controlled with a separate clutch. This allows for full control over the tractor while separately controlling the PTO.
There are two major types of independent PTO; namely mechanical and hydraulic.
A mechanical-independent PTO uses a separate on-off selector, in addition to the PTO control lever.
Often the tractor must be stopped or switched off to change this selector position. On the other hand, a hydraulic-independent PTO uses a single selector, which makes it incredibly flexible for work.
In this guide, we will share all the advantages of a PTO Driven Step UP Gearbox’s to power a hydraulic pump and produce high-pressure hydraulic oil power (also called fluid power), as well as what is the best hydraulic pump kit for optimum performance on a tractor PTO.
How does a hydraulic system work?
Before diving deeper into the advantages of using a Tractor PTO to produce hydraulic power, here is a quick explanation of how a hydraulic system works.
Hydraulic systems can be found in various applications, especially in the agricultural, mining or construction industry.
Today, hydraulics are used to lift or push heavy loads, compact loose materials, drill precision holes, turn or rotate a shaft and operate various other secondary applications.
Common machinery or equipment with hydraulics include earthmoving equipment such as excavators and loaders, garbage trucks, industrial machinery such as presses and molding equipment as well as automotive power steering and aircraft flight control systems.
Pictured above is a “hydraulic” self priming Water Pump application driven by a Tractor’s PTO. In this example the Speed “Step Up” system uses belts and different sized pulleys.
Notice on the back of the pump how there is a Belt Drive “Speed Increase” system with a large diameter pulley at the bottom (driven by the tractor’s yellow PTO shaft) turning a smaller diameter pulley connected to the pump’s input shaft. This application would be used for high volume, low pressure, transfer of water as used for irrigation and possibly even flood control.
So, how does a hydraulic system work in a Tractor application? Here’s a quick break down on how a hydraulic system works:
- Mechanical energy from the tractor’s transmission is transferred to the PTO shaft that is connected to a Speed “Step Up” Gearbox.
- A hydraulic pump is mounted to the output flange of the speed step up gear box.
- The hydraulic pump then moves oil through a system of hoses and valves to a component such as cylinders for linear motion that push or pull, or motors that provide rotational work.
- Excess oil from motors and cylinders is returned to the main flow control valve.
- The tank return line from the main flow control valve brings the oil back through a filter.
- As the oil passes through the filter, it returns to an oil reservoir to start the process all over again.
What powers a hydraulic system?
In order to power a hydraulic machinery, hydraulic fluid such as mineral and synthetic oils are commonly used as the medium to convey or transfer power. Apart from being a power driver, hydraulic oils also act as a lubricant in order to protect hydraulic machine components, reduce wear and corrosion.
Hydraulic power is transmitted from a pump to actuators using a range of control valves. Using directional, flow and pressure control valves, the speed of a motor or cylinder and the force that can be generated is infinitely controllable.
One of the main advantages of hydraulic systems is its ability to transmit large amounts of power from a remote power source (electric motor or internal combustion engine) to a compact actuator.
On top of that, hydraulic pumps, motors and cylinders are power dense. The amount of power they can absorb and transmit from a compact envelope means that they are able to deliver 100 kw of power in the most efficient way possible.
Lastly, hydraulic motors are also the most robust compared to diesel and electric ones and are suitable for hazardous work conditions such as in mines or areas that have water and dust ingress and especially for agriculture.
Part of the success of a hydraulic system is the use of hydraulic oils. Hydraulic oils are non-compressible fluids that contain specific additives to enhance its ability to stand up to high pressure, withstand extreme temperatures and other operational conditions they are subjected to.
Another important function of hydraulic oils is to deliver contaminants to a fine filter where they can be trapped and removed from the system.
Filters will continue to protect the system rather than allow contaminants to be held in suspension and to be circulated through motors, pumps, and valves causing accelerated wear and the resulting poor performance.
Low-pressure high volume water pumps vs. high-pressure low volume water pumps
Before we discuss the advantages of a PTO hydraulic pump, it is important to know the difference between low pressure high volume water pumps and high pressure low volume water pumps.
This is because choosing the correct PTO comes from a fundamental understanding of the purpose or application of a water pump.
Low-pressure high volume water pumps such as a centrifugal pool filtration pump is not required to generate high pressures required to pump water to high levels or to shoot out far out onto a field of on to a burning building (as a fire pump has to do), but the pool pump does require a relatively high flow rate to do its job.
It uses a 1.5 HorsePower electric motor to rotate a centrifugal impeller to pump water through a filter at a relatively high flow rate of 250 liters per minute at low pressures (around 25 to 40 PSI).
On the other hand, high-pressure low volume water pumps such as the typical triple piston pumps used in water blasting, drain clearing and excavation applications produce much high pressures at relatively low flow rates of 20 to 60 Lt/Min this is so that the water can be accelerated to very high velocities created by special nozzles.
As water pumps are essentially made to move water from one point to another, the metric to measure water pumps is the flow rate and the head.
Flow rate in the US is typically measured in gallons per minute (GPM), or gallons per hour (GPH) for lower flow rate pumps. For high-pressure water pumps, the smaller the exit hose or nozzle which the water must flow, the more pressure it creates when it is forced through at the same GPM or GPH.
The most powerful PTO water pump is able to pump more than 30,000 gallons per hour(GPH). As PTO water pumps are high-output pumps, their biggest advantage is the ability to tap into the massive power of a gas-powered tractor engine to move huge quantities of water quickly.
Moreover, PTO water pumps do not use their own engines, which is why they are extremely low-maintenance. PTO water pumps are also usually solidly built, which includes a powder-coated steel frame that will give you years of reliable service.
The advantages of a hydraulic-powered tractor PTO
So, what makes hydraulic power more advantageous compared to mechanical power when it comes to operating a tractor PTO?
There are plenty of advantages when it comes to PTO hydraulic pumps, one of them being its convenience. It is very easy to set up and use a tractor PTO hydraulic pump, as you basically back your tractor up to the pump, hook it up and you’re ready to go.
Although these PTO pumps are large in size and have high performance capabilities, they do not require many tools for setting up and tearing down.
Compared to electricity, hydraulic PTO pumps consume less power than electric motors and gearboxes. This is especially true in applications with a lot of back-and-forth motion, rugged work conditions faced by mining, construction and agricultural equipment, or anything involving moving or holding heavy loads.
Our PTO gearbox and pump assemblies also offer you a great alternative to installing hydraulic circuits to your equipment. You can easily use the gearbox to connect hydraulic pumps to your tractor power take off.
With this gearbox and pump assembly, it also offers direct or remote mounted options to the tractor PTO to provide independent hydraulic service.
Why you need a Tractor PTO speed increaser gearbox pump
The maximum standardized tractor PTO output is 540 or 1000 rpm, so if you would like a faster output, our tractor PTO speed increase gearbox and hydraulic pump is the solution you are looking for.
Keep in mind that this PTO driven speed increaser gearbox can be used for both high and low pressure water pumping applications such as in irrigation and flood control or to generate high hydraulic pressures for specialised farm equipment such as hydraulic augers, mowers, bailers, and hedge trimmers.
Our brand new Italian made PTO speed increaser gearbox and hydraulic gear pump comprises a 1:3 speed increase Gearbox and Hydraulic Gear Pump. It triples the standard PTO output to optimum operating speeds for the hydraulic pumps, so if your PTO is spinning at 540 RPM, it will step up the speed to 1620 RPM.
On top of that, this gearbox and pump also offers either direct or remote mounted options to the tractor PTO to provide independent hydraulic service.
With this hydraulic-independent PTO system in place on your tractor, you do not need to stop or completely switch off your tractor to change the position of an on-off selector used in a mechanical-independent PTO.
Ready to try a hydraulic PTO on your tractor?
You can choose from our PTOs and gearboxes here at Hydraulic.online.
Alternatively, if you need help deciding and choosing the best PTO pump for your needs, please call or send us a question for different pump configurations and costing.