The SwRI Engine and Vehicle Research Division uses dynamometer test stands to evaluate automatic, manual, and continuously variable transmissions. Other facilities design, analyze, simulate, and prototype transmissions.

Validating CVTs Engineers at Southwest Research Institute have developed one of the leading transmission technology centers in the world focusing on the design, fabrication, testing, and development of manual, automatic, and continuously variable transmissions. Transmission performance and efficiency are of great importance, and, in this regard, SwRI has conducted evaluations of the majority of transmissions produced by domestic and international manufacturers. SwRI is acknowledged as having the largest transmission database of this kind in the world. 

A recent program involved 41 validation tests of passenger car CVTs for a commercial client. Testing was conducted using three double-ended DC dynamometer test stands, one motor driven spin test stand, and four laboratory test benches. Laboratory testing, component evaluations, no load assembly testing, loaded assembly testing, and endurance and environmental testing were performed on 12 transmissions for this program. 

These tests evaluate the transmissions for structural strength, cyclic loading, seal leakage, ultimate strength, belt capacity, efficiency, and deterioration over time. Successful completion of testing provides a comprehensive evaluation to help assure manufacturers that their continuously variable transmission is production-ready and that it will provide the driving public with trouble-free operation for the life of the vehicle. 

Gearing up for CVTs
Summer 2000 Technology Today
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