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Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT) can be designed on the basis of a number of different principles. Chain-driven transmissions have shown themselves to be suitable for use in cars. In the past they were primarily used for light, economy vehicles in the lower performance range. The first high-performance chain drive CVT is made possible by LuK components (pulleys, link-plate chain and hydraulics) and can be used on engines up to 300 ft lbs. The transmission ratio between the engine and the drive wheels changes continuously thanks to a special wedge-shaped pulley. An infinite number of drive ratios allow the engine to always run at optimum efficiency.
The LuK pulley construction with a fully variable torque sensor allows the maximum possible levels of performance and torque with a CVT. The torque sensor is a hydro-mechanical device that controls the clamp pressure applied to the chain. The system has proven to be exceptionally responsive and robust.
The function of the CVT chain is to transmit power from one pulley set to the other. The chain consists of several links which are connected by rocker joints. This relatively simple yet well optimized design is one reason for the advantage in torque capacity and efficiency.
What began at LuK with one type of chain has evolved into a whole family. Because of its modular design, the LuK CVT chain technology can handle the complete torque range from small cars (80 ft lbs) up to upper middle class cars (300 ft lbs) without compromising performance and space.