New laboratory guarantees the safe operation of electric battery packs in vehicles by analysing

The Applus+ IDIADA facilities at their headquarters and main technical centre located near Barcelona, Spain are considered the most comprehensive in Europe and have the resources required to carry out a broad range of tests on any type of vehicle. Applus+ IDIADA is one of HBK Spain’s most important customers, and relies on a wide range of HBK equipment and solutions. Over the years, both companies have built up a very close relationship based on trust.

Currently, the automotive sector is going through a series of significant changes caused by an increase of electric vehicles and thus a different scope of R&D based testing focussing. One of the challenges include the need for, testing of high-performance battery backs in all engineering domains (mechanical, electrical and thermal).

As OEMs are investing heavilyinto new designs of modern vehilcles, the demand for testing electrified powertrains with including high-performance batteries electric drives and power inverters is increasing accordingly and will continue to do so. And it is precisely here where a supplier such as HBK can help Applus+ IDIADA. HBK equipment plays a very important role in the new lab, bench and mobile testing facilities. In fact, HBK provides many of the data acquisition systems and data analytics necessary in their labs testing high-performance battery packs.

The aim of Applus+ IDIADA was to create a new laboratory for testing and approval of high-performance batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles focussing on all levels – cell, module and battery pack relying on very precise measurement of voltages, current and temperatures during performance and thermal testing.

Problem

Applus+ IDIADA, a specialist in complete engineering and testing services for all types of vehicles, was building a new laboratory for testing and approving batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles. To equip it, two fundamental requirements were addressed – the first, given that the performance and reliability of batteries had to be certified, test benches required 150-channel data acquisition systems for the measurement of 5 V voltages and thermocouples. Secondly, the integration of the EtherCAT™ fieldbus was essential, so that the measurement data could be integrated in parallel and real time to automatic test bench and its software.

Solution

HBK’s comprehensive pre-sales and technical support was a key factor for establishing a long-term relationship of trust. After analysing the needs of the new laboratory, HBK supplied 36 MX809B QuantumX modules,  guaranteeing safety up to voltage peaks of 2400 V. This module not only meets the safety requirements and regulations relating to battery testing and is also capable of acquiring any type of physical quantity.

Results

The Applus+ IDIADA laboratory is now fully equipped testing call, module and overall battery packs any type measuring voltages, currentand temperatures verifying and certifying performance, efficiency andreliability. The EtherCAT™real-time integration in such a way that measurement data can be directly supplied to the automatic test bench and the software makes it an overall integrated solution. Furthermore, the versatility of the installed MX809B modules and the QuantumX and SomatXR data acquisition family allows the system to be readily expanded. The solution is easy to operate and can be used with any number of inputs and any type of physical quantities.

HBK was asked to equip two test benches with two 150-channel data acquisition systems each measuring cell voltages up to 5 V, overall voltage and current and many temperature measurement spots based on very responsive thermocouples. An intrinsically safe system had to be guaranteed protecting the people from a possible total battery voltage level up to by now  800 VDC.

Next to active sensor data anayltics the second priority was to integrate all measurement signals in parallel via EtherCAT™ and in real-time, so that to the test automation system.

Moreover, Applus+ IDIADA needed the system to be easily expandable on a daily base, suitable for any number and type of inputs and physical magnitudes, such as temperature (RTD like PT100/PT1000), accelerometers, strain gauges, pressure sensors and even optical sensing based on Fiber-Bragg-Gratings (FBG), that allows all kind of testing from electrical performance, misuse, thermal analysis and structural integrity testing.

HBK goes into action

To respond to the needs of the new Applus+ IDIADA laboratory, HBK supplied 36 MX809B QuantumX modules. Each module provides eight channels allowing highly accurate and fast measurement of temperatures based on any type of thermocouple and cell voltages with highest impedance at a potential of up to 1500 V DC – fully isolated and with double-insulated sense lines. Safety is guaranteed even with voltage peaks of up to 2400 V. The MX809B QuantumX, therefore, fully meets and exceeds the safety requirements requested for protecting operators and equipment in this hazardous  environment dealing with high voltage levels, certified by VDE in Germany. 

The engineers at Applus+ IDIADA have checked that, in contrast to products from other suppliers, the MX809B QuantumX is the perfect fit for this type of application and fully meets all the requirements, not only safety related, but also regarding regulations integral to battery testing and, of course, with the recognized quality and measurement precision provided by HBK equipment.

The catman software to quickly set up all channels, live display, data acquisition and online or post-process analysis of data and, in parallel, the integration of all data in real-time into the test bench via EtherCAT or XCP-on-Ethernet into MCD tools like CANape, INCA or PUMA Open were also weighty arguments

The QuantumX modules can be used for all the battery pack testing, measurement and analysis jobs foreseen and are capable of acquiring any type of physical quantity. The versatility was another reason why HBK was chosen for this project.

About Applus+ IDIADA

Applus+ IDIADA is a company with more than 30 years’ experience in the provision of design, engineering, testing and approval services for the international automotive and commercial vehicle industry. The company employs more than 2500 professionals and has an international network of subsidiaries and branches in 22 countries.

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