Automation system for engine test rooms

A fully automated engine test cell requires an automation system able to manage not only the operation of the engine and the braking system, but also all the systems and devices in the test cell itself.
To meet this need, Control Sistem has developed over the years an automation architecture with a pyramidal structure (RAPTOR). At the top there is a supervision system able to communicate and control all the subsystems that make up the pyramid and to interface with the entire test cell.

Typically, the subsystems in the room consist of plants for conditioning engine fluids (water, oil, intercooler air, fuels), exhaust gas analysis systems (CVS, analysers and other measuring instruments), the braking system and the system for the acquisition of signals from the field. The automation developed by Control Sistem allows you to have a single automation architecture for the engine test cell or individual modular components, based on PLC and characterized by a flexibility that ensures communication with other automation systems on the market.

All of this has been possible thanks to the evolution of the INT9000 development environment in synergy with the best PLCs on the market. INT9000 is a real-time software created internally in Control System, extremely flexible and, obviously, easy to use, on the basis of which all the applications of the RAPTOR system are created.

TeCASeg – Test Cell Automation System engine

TeCASeg is the sovereign mind able to manage, monitor and command all the components of an engine test cell and manage the operation of the engine itself. The application is installed on the PC test cell and the typical INT9000 user-friendly interface allows engineers and operators to easily interact with the engine and its servo systems, to perform the main automatic homologation and non-homologation cycles and to reach manually the engine points. On the main page of the application, a real-time graphic support allows the monitoring of the main dynamic variables of the engine.

The application also allows you to identify and store the engines under test, defining configuration files that the user can compile and recall whenever the engine is installed again in the test cell.

TeCASeg management capacity is also manifested in terms of test cell safety. The application allows the user to set the engine limit values and to associate alarm thresholds with consequent safety actions (soft engine stop, plant stop, etc.), which can also be set by the operator.

TCM – Test Cell Monitoring

TCM is an application inside of TeCASeg, created with the aim of displaying on a single dedicated screen, all the variables or signals coming from the engine test cell: temperatures, pressures, number of revolutions, measurements by test cell measurement instruments, etc.

The hardware of this application consists of a "box" for collecting the test cell signals or, more commonly speaking, a Boom Box: a system for acquiring input and output channels. The Boom Box is equipped with an articulated arm constrained to the wall, allowing the positioning of the Boom Box in the most convenient place, inside the engine test cell.

DBSeg – Dynamic Braking System engine

DBSeg is the automation component managing all the processes related to the dynamo (brake) and the engine:

- Engine start
- Regulation mode
- Safety

The unit consists of a 19” rack mainly composed of the inside control electronics and a front panel pc with touchscreen technology, which allows the operator to comfortably modify the main parameters useful for controlling the braking system, as well as monitoring the main variables of interest (force, speed, etc.).

DBSeg can be interfaced with the higher automation system (regardless of whether it is TeCASeg or another test cell control system) either via digital/analog signals or via Modbus Ethernet protocol.

MDH – Master Device Handler

MDH is an interface dedicated to the management and control of all peripherals and measuring devices present in the engine test cell (analysers, opacimeters, smoke meters, blow-by, fuel meters, particulate meters, CVS, etc). The unit mainly consists of a PLC and a panel PC with touchscreen technology and it is equipped with all the necessary cards to guarantee the connection between the system and the individual instruments, via Ethernet and serial protocols.

Each individual device connected to MDH has a dedicated section, which allows the user to access to the manual use of the instrument, as well as monitor its status and acquire detailed information on any alarms and operating anomalies.

Like all the components that make up RAPTOR automation, MDH is able to communicate with any supervision system, including, of course, TeCASeg. In the latter case, it is possible to use the main commands of the instruments in communication with MDH, directly from TeCASeg, which can also control them automatically during the execution of a cycle.

MDH is also an expandable system : it is possible to implement the existing structure with any instrument drivers not yet present within the application.

ETCS – Engine Test Cell System

ETCS is a platform dedicated to the management of the processes related to the main engine conditioning plants:

- Engine fluids (coolant, oil, intercooler air)
- Engine exhaust
- Intake air
- Test cell conditioning and ventilation
- Altitude simulation (EACS) if present
- Generally, all the engine test cell plants

ETCS allows to realize a precise and automatic regulation of the test cell circuits, guaranteeing the necessary reliability to the test set points and very short response times.

ETCS mainly consists of a PLC and a panel pc with touchscreen technology and it allows to interface with any higher automation system, as well as the other devices of RAPTOR system.

For each system and, in general, for each system of an engine test cell, Control Sistem can fully implement both its design and construction, in order to marry the best match between hardware and software.

TeCASeg – Test Cell Automation System engine

  • Complete management of the engine test cell
  • Control and monitoring of test cell plants and equipment
  • Identification of the engine under test by means of its parameters
  • Setting of limit values of the engine
  • Automatic execution of the main homologation cycles
  • Manual execution of engine points
  • Real-time graphic visualization of the main monitoring variables
  • Choice of the braking system regulation mode (torque/speed, alfa/speed, etc.)

TCM – Test Cell Monitoring

  • Monitoring of all the test cell signals
  • Control and monitoring of the test cell equipment
  • Possibility to add new signals
  • Simple and intuitive test cells signal calibration

DBSeg – Dynamic Braking System engine

  • Complete control and monitoring of the braking system
  • Interfacing with all commercial dynamos
  • Possibility to control the accelerator actuators
  • Interfacing with any supervisor system:
    - Analog/digital signals
    - Modbus Ethernet protocol
  • Local or Remote control mode
  • Choice of the braking system regulation mode (torque/speed, alfa/speed, etc.)
  • Main bench parameters setting up
  • Management of the braking system safety (alarms, alarm limits, safety actions, etc.)

MDH – Master Device Handler

  • Possibility to access to any test cell peripherals
  • Test cell instruments use in Local or Remote mode
  • Test cell instrument usable with complete functionality
  • Scanning with the maximum level of detail for error messages and instruments status
  • Possibility to implement the drivers of new measurement instruments
  • Interfacing with any supervisor system

ETCS – Engine Test Cell System

  • Precise and automatic regulation of the test cell circuits
  • Very short response time
  • Perfect adaptability to any fluidic plants with different power
  • Local or Remote control mode