A good part of Mike Looney’s responsibilities as Operations Manager of Perkins Engine Company’s Global Engine Development Center (GDC) is determining how the company’s Tier 4 engines react to real world use. Besides using validation cells to test and validate products, Perkins also added a tilt cell that allows Looney and his team to check performance while simulating the typical and extreme attitudes an engine would experience in customer applications.
“A conventional test cell can tell you many things about an engine,” said Looney. “But it won’t give you any information about how it responds to being tipped up or down, or rolled from side to side, or turned upside down while it’s running.”
Perkins GFED has approximately 50 standard test cells and several specialized cells like the tilt unit to support a variety of complex validation tests including performance and emissions, mechanical development, endurance, and transient development.
The tilt cell has a hydraulically actuated table that can rotate a fully instrumented engine through 180° on the crankshaft axis, and it tilts up or down 45° off horizontal while it’s running. A typical test includes a battery of tilts and rotations that mirror actual conditions the engine is likely to meet in use.
Engineers are most commonly looking for loss of oil pressure as the pump loses suction. To monitor this, they equip the test engines with sensors that read the oil pressure from the “full” and “add” marks on the dipstick gauge while tilting and rotating the engine at various fixed and dynamic throttle settings.
“This kind of test accurately simulates what happens to an engine when it’s going up a steep incline,” noted Looney. “With the 180° rotational capability we can simulate what happens when a boat or a ship lists, or even rolls over with the engine running. Our customers who build land-based vehicles may not want to think about that, but it is really important to the marine industry.”
After testing, Looney and his team often completely tear down the engine and examine all of the moving parts to see how much wear or damage they produced. With that information and the data from the test runs, product engineers can make accurate assessments of engine performance under real world conditions and make more accurate estimates of engine life and overhaul intervals.
Looney added, “The new cells allow us to replicate the way customer machines work, which reduces the amount of time we need to spend testing in the field. We can also operate these cells 24 hours per day and with greater efficiencies, so our customers receive their products quicker knowing that the engines are validated for their specific requirements.”
Perkins Engine Company
Filed Under: Mechanical, Motion control • motor controls