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Technology - Power Take-Off

A power take-off (PTO) is a device that is usually installed on an farm tractor or Commercial vehicle (truck), that can be used to provide power to an attachment or separate system (Hydraulic or mechanical device). It is designed to be easily connected and disconnected. The power take-off allows to draw energy from the engine (usually through the gearbox).



The PTOs’ can be of several different typologies, mostly related to their installation location on the Vehicle.


Engine Dependent PTO (learn more)

  • Engine mounted
  • Fly-wheel mounted


Clutch dependent PTO (learn more)

  • Gearbox (side or rear mounted)
  • Split-shaft PTO (SSU)

Commercial Vehicles PTO's


Truck transmissions have one or more locations which allow for a PTO to be mounted. The PTO can either factory fitted and purchased jointly with the Truck or bought separately, in this second case is required to match the physical interface of the transmission with a compatible PTO. PTO suppliers will usually require details of the make, model, first gear ratio and even serial number of the transmission to properly identify the gearbox type and model. Care is also needed to ensure that the physical space around the transmission allows for installation of the PTO. The PTO is engaged/disengaged operating the main transmission clutch and also operating a remote control mechanism which physically engage the PTO itself. Typically an air valve (either electrically or manually operated) is used to engage the PTO. On Light Duty truck, being them without air pressure to operate the PTO, an active electric mechanism or a mechanical cable is used to engaged the PTO.



Units will be rated according to the continuous and/or intermittent torque absorbed by each application that can be connected with the PTO. Different PTO models will offer different PTO output rotation and different output ratio to engine RPM.


In the majority of cases, the PTO will connect directly to a hydraulic pump. This allows for transmission of mechanical force through the hydraulic fluid system to any location around the vehicle where a cylinder or an hydraulic motor will convert it back into linear or rotary mechanical force. Typical applications include:

  • Raising and lowering a dump truck bed
  • Running a water pump on a fire engine or water truck
  • Powering a blower system used to move dry materials such as cement
  • Operating the mechanical arm on a bucket truck used by electrical maintenance personnel or Cable TV maintenance crews
  • Operating a winch on a truck
  • Operating the compactor on a garbage truck
  • Operating a Crane

It is also possible to connect something other than a hydraulic pump directly to the PTO.[7]

  • Pumps for loading & unloading  liquids in Tank trucks
  • Compressors for unloading dry bulk
  • or possible but less common Electric generator / dynamo