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Intertek enhances test capabilties

Intertek has opened what it claims to be the UK’s highest capacity electric and hybrid vehicle driveline test facility at its Milton Keynes laboratory


From initial planning to final commissioning, this new facility took less than 12 months to install and is the final phase of the initial investment in the Tickford powertrain business since its acquisition by Intertek in 2013.

The new facility is approximately 50m² and houses a custom-designed e-motor dynamometer rig (below) capable of testing motors up to 300kW and 750Nm of torque at speeds up to 18,000rpm. The rig includes a high speed data acquisition system including electrical and mechanical power analysis for machine efficiency calculation.

It’s supported by two mobile 1,000V 150kW battery simulators supplied by D&V Electronics. “This is the highest specification test rig of its kind made by D&V globally,” noted Tony Braddon (above right), UK MD of Intertek Transportation Technologies Milton Keynes.

The cell can also accommodate a number of smaller bespoke test rigs. The e-machine dyno weighs in excess of 12 tons and each battery simulator module weighs more than 0.5 tons each. According to Braddon, the battery simulator modules are some of the most power-dense systems currently available on the market.

The rig is designed for easy upgrades in the future, added Intertek’s UK MD for Transportation Technologies: “The battery simulators have been specified for additional modules to be easily linked in parallel to provide up to 600kW of DC power. The transmission system in the rig can be re-configured to test lower speed motors at higher torque or conversely test higher speed motors at lower torque.

“This degree of flexibility was something D&V Electronics had not been asked for before. Intertek also pushed D&V to reduce the footprint of the DC battery simulators to ensure mobility and minimum disruption to often crowded test cells.

“As this rig has the highest speed rating of any rig D&V has built to date, the spindle bearings and lubrication systems had to be rather special. This led to some initial headaches during commissioning, but D&V to their credit resolved these quickly and efficiently.”

With tight timescales, D&V had to design the rig to be suitable for air freighting. This limited the size of the system components. The tight space constraints of Intertek’s facility meant that 3D CAD models had to be created of the entire route from truck to final destination in the test cell to ensure the rig could be moved into place.

“This proved invaluable as the rig made it to its final location with just a few millimeters to spare in some instances,” explained Braddon.

Two test engineers and one senior technician are currently based at the new facility but a further two experts are required in 2016 as the test equipment becomes fully operational.

January 21, 2016


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