Case Study: How to Future-Proof Your Test Systems Beyond the Single Component for Hybrid and Electric Powertrains

The concept of the automobile has evolved rapidly over the past decade. Sales of hybrid and pure electric cars have risen continuously, in parallel with an increasingly widespread use of electric motors in the automotive industry, both combined with conventional internal combustion engines and as stand-alone solutions. To keep up with such fast-paced evolution in technology, there must be an equally rapid progress and development in the analytical methodology used. A growing priority in automotive industry is now to not only optimise the individual components of the drivetrain, but to create more integrated systems of the components themselves.

An active player in this technlogial evolution is the Loccioni group. Based in the Marche region of Italy, Loccioni has been a leader in the development of automated measurement and testing systems since 1968, producing everything from end of line and laboratory test benches to measurement instruments for hybrid and electric powertrains, and offering outsourced testing services for hybrid or pure electric powertrains. Loccioni has specialised in a wide spectrum of areas, catering for clients in - among others - the automotive, biomedical, environmental, electrical appliance and aeronautical sectors. With numerous patents to its name, the group’s research and development division works constantly towards the goal of developing new measurement techniques and instruments that will offer a strategic advantage to businesses, and conducting tests on behalf of clients. The division has two laboratories and six test rooms, three of which dedicated to engine components and ancillaries and the other three specialised in testing both hybrid and electric traction systems (Powertrain test cell; E-Axle test cell and Electric Motor Test room).

Problem

Loccioni has been a leader in the technological evolution the automotive industry is currently facing. The group produces everything from end of line and laboraty test benches to measurement instruments and offers outsorced testing services for hybrid or pure electronic powertrains. Due to the frequently changing testing requirements of the industry they needed a measurement solution with a high amount of expandability and flexibility.

 

Solution

Due to the simplicity of integrating the acquisition system with the flange torsiometers and Hall effect current transducers already used by Loccioni, the eDrive GEN7ta system in combination with GN10B boards and perception software was the logical choice for these development requirements. 

 

Result

Loccioni is now equipped with a future proof test and measurement system thanks to the HBM eDrive system. The expandability and flexibility offered by the 7 slots included in the Gen7ta hardware means that the system can be upgraded when needed in response to current or future measurement requirements, catering for the many different technological solutions developed by automotive companies. On top of this, unlike other electrical power analysers, the eDrive testing solution is also capable of measuring not only during stationary states of the system but also during transient states. During the development of new hybrid and electric systems, the ability to record and save data relative to transient states, to permit post-processing and analysis of impulse and/or random phenomena, is of crucial importance.

HBM eDrive System as the Perfect Fit

Playing a role of extreme importance for this robust and highly specialised group is its partnership with HBM, a leading German multinational in the T&M sector. The Loccioni group has also recently completed new rooms for testing complete ICE, hybrid and electric traction systems.

“The HBM eDrive GEN7ta system, with GN610B boards and Perception software, was the logical choice for these development environments, due to the simplicity of integrating the acquisition system with the flange torsiometers and Hall effect current transducers already used by Loccioni” – says Maurizio Bosi (Loccioni R&D).
“Perception software eliminates the need to modify the characteristics of the acquisition channel each time the acquisition system is interfaced with a new transducer, as its built-in database already contains a wide variety of the sensors currently available on the market”.

On top of this, the expandability and flexibility offered by the 7 slots included in the Gen7ta hardware means that the system can be upgraded when needed in response to current or future measurement requirements, catering for the many different technological solutions developed by automotive companies. These characteristics are of primary importance for a business such as Loccioni, which applies tailor-made technological solutions to develop projects for the leading OEM and tier1 suppliers of the automotive industry.

Unlike other electrical power analysers, the eDrive testing solution is also capable of measuring not only during stationary states of the system but also during transient states. During the development of new hybrid and electric systems, the ability to record and save data relative to transient states, to permit post-processing and analysis of impulse and/or random phenomena (see Figure 1), is of crucial importance.

“As these are complex systems, in order to fully understand the phenomena in play and the behaviour of the object tested, it is not enough to acquire electrical parameters alone, and it is also necessary to acquire, for example, the thermal state of the system and the parameters transmitted via CAN BUS” – continues Bosi. “The ability to save raw data or define real-time formulas is very useful, as this allows the user extreme flexibility in the method used to calculate efficiency, and makes it possible to tailor the measurement for the effective application considered”.

As Loccioni is a Platinum Alliance Partner of National Instruments, Perception software can be integrated easily with the LabVIEW development environment. This is a strategic advantage for the marketability and usability of the product in research and development applications, and of the test benches produced.

Future Developments

“In keeping with the goal of creating ever more efficient and durable powertrains, more integrated solutions, with single sensor and acquisition systems for power analysis and the simultaneous measurement of vibration, acoustic and system function signals (CAN BUS; temperature), are particularly interesting to Loccioni – concludes Maurizio Bosi. “It would also be very useful to be able to process vibration/acoustic signal directly within a single software environment, such as Perception”.

 

About Loccioni

An active player in this technological evolution is the Loccioni group. Based in the Marche region of Italy, Loccioni has been a leader in the development of automated measurement and testing systems since 1968, producing everything from end of line and laboratory test benches to measurement instruments for hybrid and electric powertrains, and offering outsourced testing services for hybrid or pure electric powertrains.

With a workforce of over 450 in its five international sites (USA, Germany, China, Japan and India) and its Italian headquarters, Loccioni has specialised in a wide spectrum of areas, catering for clients in - among others - the automotive, biomedical, environmental, electrical appliance and aeronautical sectors.

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