Recent Improvements in Lab Testing of Rotating Powertrain Components 952148
Recent achievements in the successful application of “real time test technology” and other process improvements have enhanced Caterpillar's powertrain development capability. Significant improvements in program cost and time as well as quality of test results have been realized with the recent procurement of the new “Lower Powertrain Flexible Test Cell”. A team approach was taken to address the issues of improving timeliness, cost, and quality of powertrain development in the lab. The outstanding support and synergism exhibited by the team resulted in the application of new technology to a new test rig that succeeded in improving the development process of powertrains at Caterpillar. It's extensive use of computer controlled servo-hydraulics gives it the ability to reproduce the exact loads and speeds measured on working vehicles. With the aid of regenerative hydraulics, the facility has a maximum capacity of 250,000 Nm, yet it is flexible enough to span a multitude of various powertrain configurations. The test rig consists of three separate hydraulic power modules that may be used all together (for axles), in pairs (for transfer boxes), or independently (for brakes). Past lab development programs focused more on individual component testing. However, with the increased flexibility of the new rig, more components are tested simultaneously and consequently system interactions can be evaluated and developed as well. The test rig is one of a few and certainly one of the largest in the world for rotating powertrain components. It is truly a world class, best practices, lab test facility as evidenced by benchmarking trips to other facilities around the world. This paper describes the technical attributes of the new lab facility along with recent application experience. This new facility and associated technology has significantly improved the lab development process of lower powertrains at Caterpillar Inc.