The Proventia Test Unit is a one-of-a-kind combustion engine test laboratory, built in a compact, transportable shape and structure. The PTU test cells are optimised according to the engine range in question and the customer needs. When the technical solution more closely matches the use, the costs are lower and the investment is in balance with the test objectives. The Proventia Test Unit is ideal for R&D and durability testing of engines, components, exhaust aftertreatment systems, fuels and lubricants.
The PTU operator has a control room in the main module which allows direct access to the engine test bench and gives the operator the ability to make quick changes with the test configuration. Outside normal office hours, the PTU operator can monitor the test cycles remotely via PC, tablet or smartphone. In case of interruption, the modern test automation system keeps the engine laboratory operator on top of the situation in the test cell by sending text messages.
The modular PTU engine test laboratory serves the needs of automotive engine and component manufacturers, emission technology developers, and research and test service providers. In addition, modern test cells are necessary for educational purposes in the automotive universities and polytechnics that train new engineers for the industry. The pressure to develop better and even more sophisticated solutions in and around the engine simply requires significant testing in the laboratories; the need for trained people and additional test capacity is constantly growing.
The automotive industry has many traditional test cells in operation. The shift to active test bench dynamometers with smart automation systems and measurement instrumentation, allowing numerous test scenarios and possibilities, is still ongoing. The PTU can make this transition easier and faster, thanks to the modular and complete cell design which can be deployed in a matter of days.
Before the delivery, the PTU engine test cells are manufactured, tested and pre-commissioned in Finland. This means shorter lead times, higher quality and better productivity. After the pre-commissioning, the PTU modules are separated from each other for ordinary transport. When the shipment arrives at the final destination, the PTU modules are simply assembled back in place, connected to the facility infrastructure and tested one more time before the customer can start operating the new PTU engine test laboratory.
The modular concept keeps it a straightforward solution which saves valuable time and money. Compared to the conventional way of building new cells, the PTU production does not disturb the customer's daily operations in their engine test laboratories or require support of any kind. In addition, the PTU remains mobile in case the capacity requirements change, operations need to be relocated and the engine test cells are shipped elsewhere.
Combustion engine test laboratories are replacing traditional brakes such as Eddy Currents with active dynamometers that are able to drive the engines as well as serve as brakes. This feature allows the simulation of real-life torque conditions on the road, e.g. uphill and downhill gravitational forces affecting the vehicle. The operational power range of the AC dyno is extremely wide, as is the torque measuring accuracy, allowing the analysis of the engine performance characteristics in great detail. In addition, dynos generate electricity while braking the engine.
Especially in 24/7 durability testing, power generation can be significant thanks to high operating efficiency and advanced drive cabin technology (+90% of dynamometers' braking force). Active engine test dynamometers with modern automation systems allow the largest possible selection of test cycles both steady-state and dynamic including the international, European, US, Japanese and numerous unique test cycles generated by the operators around the world.
The Proventia Test Unit's test automation system controls all operations but concentrates directly on engine and dynamometer control. The automation uses Proventia BMS building management systems to operate all the infrastructural components, such as the main power, integral specimen cooling system, ventilation and air conditioning. The BMS also controls the safety systems, such as doors, emergency switches and the fire suppression system, as well as HC, CO, CO2, NO2, gas and fluid detectors. The BMS alerts the test automation system when further actions are needed. Task partitioning between the test automation system and Proventia BMS simplifies the process of integrating the Proventia Test Unit with various automation systems; this means that, for the automation, any system defined by the customer can be used. A familiar system also enables the cell operators to quickly put the new engine test laboratory into full operational use.
The modular Proventia Test Unit concept offers two significant advantages, optimised test laboratory configurations and operational flexibility, in the long run. Each PTU is an independent test unit and equipped with an optimal combination of key components. These features support operational efficiency and the test practices in question, saving both time and money. The modular PTU concept scales within each cell into different kinds of testing purposes and sizes of test benches, but the concept also expands from a single PTU to large test centres with numerous test labs. Each PTU can be upgraded or renewed without disturbing operations in other cells. Test centre expansions can be made in phases, following the company's growth and capacity demand. Supportive Proventia Facility Units can be utilised as a centralised measurement device unit, supporting several test labs around it. The modularity simply streamlines the creation of new test capacity and increases the ability to respond to rapid technological development.
The amount, capacity and size of Proventia Test Unit modules would be determined according to the customer's space requirements and the dyno & inverter package in question. The PTU transforms into various engine test configurations (gasoline, high performance, hybrid and HD applications with different fuels and natural gases). The space offering of a single main module solution can be easily doubled in size, supporting a wide range of requirements, bigger test benches, drives and measurement instrumentation. Each PTU module and key component can be replaced and the lab features can be improved during the whole operational lifecycle, keeping the valuable asset productive in the long run.
Several test units can be connected through service corridors and buildings into larger test centres. This new kind expandable test centre concept offers cost-efficiency and optimisation to various testing needs in the future as it allows the test centre to grow through phases over several years adapting to changing requirements. Building a Test Centre by using Proventia Test Units does not require heavy investments in facilities. The costs of various test units can be spread over several years as the test centre grows as needed. The Proventia Test Centre can also be deployed quickly, as the single units are always manufactured elsewhere and transported assembly-ready to the site; each unit can also be easily replaced.
Director, Test Solutions
harri [dot] kervinen [at] proventia [dot] com
isto [dot] oinas [at] proventia [dot] com