Developing Techniques for Complete Automation of
Engine/Dynamometer Test Stands, 08-9330

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Principal Investigators
Robert P. Gauss Jr.
Jack D. Ballard
William A. Buscher III

Inclusive Dates: 07/01/02 - Current

Background - The Fuels and Lubricants Research Department of the Automotive Products and Emissions Research Division has approximately 140 engine-dynamometer test cells used for evaluating lubricant and fuel additives for Institute clients. The majority of these cells run specific test procedures defined by industry related oversight groups such as American Society for Testing and Materials, Society of Automotive Engineers, Commission of European Communities, and American Petroleum Institute.

Currently, an operator is required for most test procedures, to take oil samples for analysis, perform routine maintenance, check for fluid leaks, take certain measurements not acquired automatically, trouble-shoot and repair mechanical malfunctions and ensure the safe operation of the test cell. If most of these operator dependent tasks can be reliably and safely automated, we can reduce our operational and fixed costs to our clients and improve the quality of our tests through reduced human error.

Approach - The objective of this IR&D project is to design, fabricate, and validate an engine test cell automation system that eliminates the operator dependent tasks of an ASTM Sequence VG test cell.

This system consists of the following subsystems; an automated fire detection and suppression system that will be installed by an outside contractor, an automated oil sampling and leveling system, an automated blow-by measurement system, a fluid leak detection and containment system and a closed circuit video monitoring system. Enhancements will also be made to the existing data acquisition and control system for control and monitoring of the above subsystems.

Accomplishments - Fabrication of the automated Sequence VG test stand is complete. Testing of each of the automated subsystems except the fire suppression and detection system is complete. Testing of the complete system is underway.

A time extension was approved for six months to complete testing.

Automated Sequence VG Test Stand

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