Au­to­mated test sys­tem pro­vides faster driv­e­line de­vel­op­ment

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - MOTORS & VARIABLE SPEED DRIVES -

A new, au­to­mated mo­bile oil ex­pul­sion de­tec­tion sys­tem that sig­nif­i­cantly re­duces de­vel­op­ment time and cost, called VENTS, has been de­vel­oped by engi­neer­ing con­sul­tancy Drive Sys­tem De­sign (DSD). The sys­tem mon­i­tors oil ex­pul­sion through the breather sys­tem of a driv­e­line unit, such as an axle or trans­mis­sion case dur­ing test­ing. Tra­di­tion­ally this would re­quire con­tin­u­ous en­gi­neer ob­ser­va­tion and can take up to eight weeks, with VENTS it now only takes three weeks and re­quires lit­tle in­volve­ment from engi­neers.

The tech­nol­ogy is based on elec­tron­i­cally de­tect­ing the pres­ence of oil in the breather tube for which patent pro­tec­tion is un­der­way. An­nounced at the re­cent In­ter­na­tional CTI Sym­po­sium in Berlin, VENTS is ini­tially de­vel­oped for rig use but is suf­fi­ciently com­pact and ro­bust to al­low fit­ting to pro­to­type ve­hi­cles.

VENTS frees up engi­neer­ing re­sources yet short­ens pro­gram tim­ing by en­abling unat­tended mon­i­tor­ing of tests, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and record­ing the ex­act con­di­tions un­der which any oil ex­pul­sion oc­curs.

“OEMs and Ti­er1s ex­pend hun­dreds of hours of en­gi­neer and tech­ni­cian time mon­i­tor­ing breather sys­tems for oil carry over as part of their prod­uct val­i­da­tion, yet it may be dif­fi­cult or im­pos­si­ble for the op­er­a­tor to de­ter­mine the pre­cise con­di­tions un­der which oil ex­pul­sion has oc­curred,” ex­plained Rob Oliver DSD’s Chief En­gi­neer – Test. “VENTS elim­i­nates the need for hu­man ob­ser­va­tion yet, should any oil en­ter the breather, it video records the event and cap­tures the ex­act time and op­er­at­ing con­di­tions un­der which it oc­curred.”

VENTS is a turnkey sys­tem of hard­ware and soft­ware that in­cludes a high res­o­lu­tion video cam­era, sen­sors and soft­ware con­fig­ured for ‘plug and play’ con­nec­tiv­ity to a data log­ger. The sys­tem pro­vides out­put through a GUI (graph­i­cal user in­ter­face) on the op­er­a­tor’s screen. The pa­ram­e­ters re­ported can in­clude tri-ax­ial ori­en­ta­tion, shaft speed, oil tem­per­a­ture and more, and the user can con­fig­ure fea­tures such as sys­tem sensitivity and record­ing du­ra­tion sim­ply by en­ter­ing new val­ues. VENTS self-ad­justs au­to­mat­i­cally for dif­fer­ent am­bi­ent light lev­els, mean­ing tests can be car­ried out in vary­ing light con­di­tions.

“This is the first com­mer­cially avail­able, turnkey sys­tem and has been proven to pay for it­self quickly, in tri­als with OEMs,” said Oliver. “It can halve the time taken to val­i­date a breather in­stal­la­tion and frees up vi­tal engi­neer­ing re­sources. No­body wants their engi­neers just ob­serv­ing a test, even if it is nec­es­sary.”

Though cur­rently ap­plied to test rigs such as rock-and-roll in­stal­la­tions, to ex­am­ine the ef­fects of op­er­at­ing un­der ex­tremes of pitch or roll, VENTS can also be ap­plied to ‘on ve­hi­cle’ in­stal­la­tions by us­ing re­mote com­mu­ni­ca­tion to the cam­era. This will en­able the val­i­da­tion of breather sys­tems as a con­cur­rent part of other ve­hi­cle test ac­tiv­i­ties, al­low­ing fur­ther sav­ings in a cus­tomer’s over­all de­vel­op­ment costs.

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