What to Know About Power Takeoff Driveshafts

What is power take-off? Power take-off (PTO) is a device that transfers an engine’s mechanical power to another piece of equipment. A PTO allows the hosting energy source to transmit power to additional equipment that does not have its own engine or motor. For example, a PTO can help run a jackhammer using a tractor’s engine.

PTOs are commonly used in farming equipment, trucks and commercial vehicles. The PTO system takes energy that would have been wasted and transfers it to another source.

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This allows it to perform a variety of essential functions. For example, if you tow something without an engine attached, it would not be able to move very far.

What is power take-off used for? Several types of hydraulic, pneumatic and mechanical PTO drivesaft applications include agriculture equipment like wood chippers, harvesters, hay balers, and commercial vehicle tools like carpet-cleaning vacuums, water pumps and mechanical arms. PTO was developed mainly through the ingenuity of farmers. In the past, PTOs used belt drives, drive shaft attachments and pneumatics like bleed air, but a geared transmission is more commonly used today.

Because PTOs are often exposed to the elements, safely handling the mechanical power source is essential. Operators should be aware of how to use PTO accessories cautiously and always power down and remove keys from the ignition before doing any maintenance.

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