HORIBA has several decades of experience in providing solutions for automotive test systems. We have focused on testing components of the vehicle powertrain including the engine, transmission, clutch, torque converter, axles or brakes up to the complete vehicle. In all cases the missing parts of the vehicle and its environment is replaced by a system able to reproduce the load the specimen would see in the real car. These systems consist of actuators, sensors, controller and simulation and automation software.
HORIBA is providing Mechatronics (MCT) products to test individual or groups of components of a vehicle up to the complete vehicle mainly to the R&D test facilities of the automotive industry. The MCT products are used to measure and optimize performance, verify functionality, check quality and durability, calibrate the increasing number and more and more complex incar electronic control units, minimize noise and vibrations or improve drivability. HORIBA MCT business is divided into different product lines to provide focus onto the specific needs and requirements of our customers (Figure 1). In this article, outline of the HORIBA MCT products is summarized.
The engine test has been conducted for various purposes, such as evaluation of engine performance and durability, optimization of emission and fuel consumption, noise testing and environmental testing. The dynamometer applies the load to the specimen and therefore is another key component in automotive engine testing. In the beginning engine testing was limited to steady state torque and speed measurement in absorbing mode only. This application perfectly matched the capabilities of the eddy current and water brake dynamometers. In the 1980's however, increasing exhaust emission regulations required more and more transient testing including motoring. Therefore already in the early 1990's HORIBA started to develop a dynamometer product range based on alternating current (AC) technology called DYNAS (Figure 2). These dynamometers could cover the whole speed range and were also suitable for the high dynamic testing methods. DYNAS series are equipped with digital encoders for speed measurement and torque flanges for torque measurement, because highly accurate speed and torque measurements with minimal delay time are key factors for dynamometer control.
Driveline test means the evaluation of the various powertrain components, e.g. transmission, clutch, torque converter and axle. When testing such powertrain components, the load of the missing parts of a vehicle have to be replicated or simulated. For example when testing a transmission, at the input shaft the load of an engine and at the output shaft the load of the vehicle body has to be applied. At the interface between specimen and test stand, speed and torque has to be measured and fed into a controller which calculates a command signal to the actuator - a dynamometer - which is connected to the specimen by a shaft (Figure 3, Figure 4). Within the last 20 to 30 years the requirements have changed significantly from just applying steady state speed and torque values to fully transient profiles and finally to simulating virtual engines and vehicles. The command signal generation has changed from manual input to fully computer controlled and automated test systems. This allows the testing of transmissions with different types of engines just by changing the engine model in the computer.