High precision components for gearbox test rigs

07 November 2016

French test systems experts BIA rely on multiple motors and drive systems to help achieve accurate results.

For over 30 years, French-based company BIA has designed, developed and manufactured test equipment and systems for the aerospace, industrial and automotive industries. Two of these fields – aerospace and automotive – require very high levels of precision and reliability in order to maintain a high quality level of their components and systems under rigorous test conditions.

Recognising this need, BIA developed a long-standing cooperation with Parker Hannifin to supply high-speed servomotors, inverters, high-performance cooling systems and linear motors for use in its gearbox test rigs for automotive safety, engine & powertrain tests and vehicle dynamics.

Through its collaboration with Parker Hannifin’s team of technicians BIA is now able to combine individual elements and components of its test rigs into completely tailored, integrated systems that it says are more reliable and better performing solutions.

Olivier Carlier, project leader at BIA, who defines the system components needed for the simulation and test systems, said: “We very much benefit from Parker’s product offerings that help us to efficiently source high-quality, reliable components and systems, which contribute to out global success.” 

BIA’s gearbox test rigs have now come to rely on Parker’s high-speed servo motors for the efficiency of their cooling systems and on the positioning accuracy of its linear motors.

Inside the BIA test rig, a wide range of components are utilised, to deliver precise simulations for a variety of tests.

Simulating a combustion engine
Brushless permanent magnet high-speed MGV servomotors simulate a combustion engine in conjunction with a vehicle’s manual gearbox. As a compact design asynchronous direct drive, the Parker MGV delivers a rated power of up to 230 kW with speeds of up to 45,000 revolutions per minute – without the need for mechanical gears or a belt transmission. The motors are water cooled, allowing their dimensions to be kept to a minimum and reducing their operating noise substantially.

The low inertia of the servomotor allows for highly dynamic acceleration and deceleration, and in order to achieve maximum precision, motor speed and torque is controlled in a closed loop, allowing the motor to be used for simulations in both urban traffic and race conditions.

BIA’s inline design for this configuration allows for the gearbox to be tested at maximum power, with the same inertia as a diesel engine.

The MS asynchronous motor, which can deliver 10,000 revolutions per minute at 500 kW, is used for gearbox duration testing, as this requires a constant and medium speed without acceleration. 

For transmission endurance tests, BIA uses Parker’s ETT linear motors to actuate the gear lever and to engage gears. The rectangular rod configuration connected to the cylinders simulates the movement through the standard H-slots of the gear lever. The linear motors have high positioning accuracy of 0.5 mm, as well as repeatability of 0.05 mm.  They comply with ISO 15552 which means a wide range of compatible mounting accessories can be incorporated to create a system environment.

Parker AC890 inverters have been developed to achieve optimal performance with both asynchronous motors and synchronous servomotors, and are able to operate in both motor and generator modes. This functionality can be used during tests. One motor can be connected to the gearbox input just like a diesel engine, whereas two other motors operating in generator mode, can be linked with the output of the gearboxes to simulate rotating wheels. This power generation gives full grid energy recuperation.

For optimal cooling, MGV servomotors are combined with Parker Hiross Hyper Chill Plus cooling systems for applications ranging from simple heat dissipation to active temperature control. The system’s closed refrigeration circuits have been designed for both oil- and water-based low viscosity fluids.

With their flexible and modular configuration options, BIA test benches also allow for the practical simulation and testing of common electric and hybrid systems to accommodate all types of new, environmentally-friendly technologies for the automotive and aerospace industries.

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