coolant valve testing

Efficient Temperature Cycling for Fluid Components

Electric coolant pump for automotive application.

Electric coolant pump for automotive application.

Increasing electrification of traditionally mechanically-driven components in the automotive industry has been visible in many segments of the vehicle subsystems, such as lubrication circuits and cooling circuits. Some of the components include electric oil pumps, electric water pumps, electric coolant valves, etc. As the parts evolve from purely mechanical components to a combination of mechanical and electronic hardware, the methods used to validate the components have also evolved. 

To test these components, the equipment needs to be able to simulate both environmental (air) temperature and humidity, as well as the fluid temperature. In pressurized coolant circuits, temperatures as high as +135°C are required, whereas in lubrication systems oil temperatures as high as +150°C need to be achieved. On the low end, temperatures as low as -40°C are required for both. Rates of change vary depending on the required tests, but can be anywhere between 1-15°C/min average.

Many of the test standards used today for validating the durability of the electrified automotive components originated from the electronics industry. In the electronics industry, the traditional approach has been the use of thermal chambers to create the desired ambient conditions for temperature and humidity. To a large extent, the industry so far has adopted the use of this equipment as well and tried to leverage its performance capabilities in the standard form. 

Ensure™     designed and built as a global tool, can be powered by 380-460VAC 50/60Hz power.

Ensure™ designed and built as a global tool, can be powered by 380-460VAC 50/60Hz power.

One of the challenges with transferring this test approach to automotive components is the fact that these parts make use of fluids as well. This means that in addition to validating the device under test, supporting systems are needed to recreate the conditions that these parts would see in the field (system pressure, circuit resistance, etc). As thermal chambers are designed to be able to regulate the temperature of air inside a specific volume, the introduction of any additional hardware adds two main layers of complexity: the added thermal inertia that has to be heated/cooled, and the low heat exchange power due to air acting as a heat transfer medium. 

Horai™     Technology conditioning oil to -40°C

Horai™ Technology conditioning oil to -40°C

The first challenge affects the chamber’s ability to meet the advertised rates of change. The second challenge affects the ability to control the fluid temperature at a rate that is comparable to the air temperature. 

The second challenge has resulted in the use of low-temperature mechanical refrigeration chillers. These devices are used in tandem with thermal chambers, but are used specifically for being able to control the temperature of the fluid. This equipment usually carries a very high capital cost, as well as a long lead time. 

Control and data acquisition systems are needed to control these units, as well as interfacing with the device under test, which increases the complexity. There is no guarantee that when all these components are put together that they will operate properly as a system.

 
Test systems with         Horai   ™    technology frees up floor space, with its reduced footprint.

Test systems with Horai technology frees up floor space, with its reduced footprint.

 

ATA Horai technology was developed to solve these challenges, by optimizing the subsystems required to deliver the test results. Ensure™ is designed to meet the test standards for components in the most efficient way possible.

Horai’s technology is built into our Ensure test systems. The centralized control eliminates the need for interfaces with each individual piece of equipment, and their dedicated controllers. This reduces control software effort and complexity. It eliminates redundancy and additional overhead of multiple electrical panels, frame structures, protective enclosures, etc. 

Fluid+conditioning+module.jpeg

Horai™ is a technology that enables automotive Tier-1 suppliers and OEMs to efficiently validate and verify new electrification components for lubrication or thermal management without the costs, delays and misses that come from a custom engineered or home-brewed test system. It is a dedicated solution, rather than a combination of generic tools.

As a result, ATA’s solution has yielded the following benefits: 

  • More effective fluid temperature ramp rate, enabling faster testing

  • More devices-under-test in the machine, enabling more throughput

  • Reduced footprint with the integrated solution, allows for better use of test facility floorspace

  • Service and support is centralized, as there is no need to reach out to multiple manufacturers based on which part of the system is not behaving as expected.

  • Same system for heating and cooling; no risk to damaging mechanical refrigeration hardware when heating.

Importance of Support Contracts

Importance of Support Contracts

Many people question the value of contracts but only consider support when things go wrong. In this blog post we discuss how you can save money if things go wrong, save time when help is needed and make money by increasing efficiency.

Coolant Valve Testing - What You NEED to Know

Coolant Valve Testing - What You NEED to Know

As with any other automotive powertrain component, the Design Verification (DV) and Production Validation (PV) program includes checking the performance and durability characteristics of these valves. The detailed procedures may have certain aspects that are specific to the OEM, but at a high level there is a set of tests which are fundamental to being able to properly characterize the coolant valve characteristics.

Consider Leasing/Renting Test Equipment

Consider Leasing/Renting Test Equipment

Chiller systems operating below freezing usually come with a significant initial investment, but may only be used during thermal cycling durability testing of new R&D projects. Purchasing a large system like this could tie up a capital budget that could be used for other investments to help win more business.

Safety Functions your Test System NEEDS to Have

Safety Functions your Test System NEEDS to Have

As we know, testing is imperative to ensuring that powertrain components perform to the expectations of the end consumer. That said, this is not always a safe process.

Machines used to verify component performance are quite powerful and can present safety risks along with them. As a manager, you don’t want to see any members of your team hurt. As an operator, you want to make it home every night as healthy as you were when you left. This is why we are highlighting the most important safety functions to have built into your testing equipment.

In-house vs Custom vs Modular Test Stands

In-house vs Custom vs Modular Test Stands

In a world where development cycles are moving faster than ever before, OEMs are simultaneously pushing some of the biggest engineering initiatives automotive has ever seen. This is why having the right testing solution is so important. The first question arises: whether or not to build internally, custom engineer or order a turn-key test system.