It’s been a steep learning curve for Graeme Weston since he took the helm at transmission experts Eaton. Last year, Graeme Weston took up the role as the Eaton Vehicle Group Australia Leader and PowerTorque sat down with him to see how he is enjoying the role.
“It’s been very good, very exciting, just a lot of, the common phrase is ‘a steep learning curve’,” says Graeme.”I have learnt a heck of a lot about a lot of stuff, to depths that I didn’t think I need ed to learn about. It’s been a good ride so far.
“To begin with there were so many things coming from different directions, it was like drinking from a firehose. Now it has become more settled.”
Graeme began his career with Eaton in 1993 as an Intern after completing a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering at Swinburne University of Technology. He has held Sales, Key Account Management and Region Management roles including managing the operations in Southeast Asia from 1997 through to 2001.
Then there was a period in the US as the Kenworth account manager in Seattle. On his return to Australia in 2006 he took up an engineering management role, which also included working with a team in China developing products in that market.
Graeme’s career has been in the sales, account management and management area. He has been working in the interface between the technical side of the Eaton business and its relationship with the industry.
“It’s been a long time at Eaton, but every four or five years there’s been a big enough change for me, and it has been like working for a different company,”says Graeme.
“All of the automated transmissions are coming out of the Eaton Cummins joint venture. But looking at the next ten years, diesel engines or diesel hybrid are still going to be the main power source. We are really concentrating on the changes up until 2030 with the model changes and our local customer developing the aftermarket side of the business.
“The overall truck market is going to be relatively static over that period. We don’t our OEM business to double, or anything like that. We’ve got a solid plan to grow the aftermarket business.”
The next stage of the development of transmissions for Eaton is the introduction of the Endurant XD transmission. This is looking like the biggest model change from the company in over twenty years. Even developments like the Ultrashift were still based on the Roadranger gearbox, with automation added.
Endurant is a completely clean sheet design, both in terms of hardware and software perspective. Eaton here in Australia have been working with the 12 speed transmission here in Australia, where it is already being sold in the Kenworth range as the Paccar AMT. The XD is the next evolution from the current offering to a heavier transmission with more speeds to take its capabilities up into the heaviest tasks in Australia.
“There’s a lot more flexibility in the design and we are really looking forward to what we can do with the Endurant XD and how we can localise the product,” say Graeme. “We are aligned with the US on production release, so it’s going to be released in the second half of 2022. We’ve got our first prototype units in Australia.
“We haven’t got any on the road yet, but that will start to happen in the second half of this year. We will identify vocations and identify fleets. Being the first time for our market, we really need to get it into some evaluation trucks, get some weight on it and run it around in our normal operating environment.
“From our testing, we have got really good experience of where we can push the transmission to its limits and see how it goes. We can look for areas of improvement and then that will be the baseline for improving the calibration for our local requirements.”