Automation system for transmission test rooms

The best technology and automation for automotive testing

A fully automated transmission test room requires an automation system capable of managing not only the operation of the engines (primary and secondary), but also all the systems and devices in the room. To meet this need, over the years Control Sistem has developed an automation architecture with a pyramid structure (TRICEX), at the top of which is placed a supervision system capable of communicating with and therefore controlling all the subsystems that make up the pyramid and, more generally, of interfacing with the entire test room. Typically, the room subsystems consist of an electric motor control box, the DREAMS automatic gear shifting system, the field signal acquisition system and an interface with the room instrumentation. The automation developed by Control Sistem allows you to employ a single automation architecture for the transmission test room or individual modular components, based on PLC and characterised by a flexibility that guarantees communication with other automation systems on the market. This was made possible mainly by the evolution of the INT9000 development environment in synergy with the best PLCs on the market. INT9000 is a real-time software created in-house by Control Sistem, which is extremely flexible, ductile and of course easy to use and that form the basis on which all TRICEX system applications are implemented.

TeCAStr – Test Cell Automation System transmission

TeCAStr is the pyramid vertex able to manage, monitor and command all the components of a transmission test cell. The application is installed on the cell’s PC and the typical INT9000 user-friendly interface allows engineers and operators to easily monitor the transmission unit, to perform the main automatic cycles of homologation and not and to manually reach the working points of the tests. On the application main page, a real-time graphic support allows the monitoring of the transmission main dynamic variables.
The application also allows you to identify and memorize the transmission systems under test, defining configuration files that the user can compile and recall whenever the transmission is re-installed in the room.
TeCAStr's management capacity is also shown in terms of cell safety. The application, in fact, allows the user to set limit values for many quantities involved and to associate alarm thresholds with consequent safety actions (gradual stop of the system, plant stop, etc.), also settable by the operator.

TCM – Test Cell Monitoring

TCM is an application intrinsic to TeCAStr, created with the aim of displaying on a single dedicated screen, all the variables or signals coming from the transmission test room: temperatures, pressures, rpm, measurements by room measurement instruments, etc.
The application hardware consists of a "box" for collecting 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, capable of allowing the positioning of the signal collection box in the most convenient point, inside the transmission test room.

DBStr – Dynamic Braking System transmission

DBStr is the automation unit that is in charge of the three-phase asynchronous electric motors complete management:
- engine start
- regulation modes
- safety

The unit is made of a 19” rack consisting mainly of the control electronics, present inside it, and a front panel pc with touchscreen technology, which allows the operator to conveniently modify the main parameters useful for controlling the three electric motors, as well as monitoring the main variables of interest (torque, speed, etc.).
DBStr can be interfaced with the upper automation system (regardless of whether it is TeCAStr or another cell control system) either via digital / analog signals or via Modbus Ethernet protocol.

DREAMS – Driving Robot EAsy Movable System

The DREAMS autopilot for transmission test cells is a gear changing automatic system for the transmission units under test. It is mainly composed of an anthropomorphic robot that deals with the movement of the gear lever and an electromechanical actuator suitable for moving the clutch system. Everything is governed by an automation system, built in the INT9000 development environment, through which it is possible to configure the system according to the transmission being tested and to control the movement of the gear lever.

MDH – Master Device Handler

MDH is an interface dedicated to the management and control of all peripherals and measuring devices inside the transmission test room.
The unit consists mainly of a PLC and a panel PC with touchscreen technology and 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 available, which allows the user to access manual use of the individual instrument, as well as monitor its status and acquire detailed information on any alarms and operating anomalies.
Like all the components that make up the TRICEX automation, MDH is able to communicate with any superior supervision system, including, of course, TeCAStr. In the latter case, it is possible to use the main commands of the instruments in communication with MDH, directly from TeCAStr, 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 all instrument drivers not yet present within the application.