Five ways to ensure an engine test cell provides the maximum value to a company and its customers while delivering a high return on investment
When it comes to testing engines, OEM dealers and distributors want their engine dynamometer and test cell system to deliver the best overall value in order to serve customers’ needs while delivering a good return on investment. Achieving this doesn’t mean having to sacrifice one or the other, rather the two can complement one another.
Here are five ways to make certain an engine test cell provides the maximum value to both you and your customers.
Ensure the system has the latest safety features
Safety should always be a top priority. Your test cell operators are your biggest assets and their health/safety is important. Your ability to keep them safe also has a direct impact on productivity. One way new safety features address this is by taking operators out of the test cell altogether with advanced instrumentation and control systems. Ergonomically, this maximizes productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort.
Another way the latest safety features add value is through intelligent safety. These smart features, also enabled by new instrumentation and control systems, provide monitoring features and automatic fault actions to safeguard against potential harm or damage to your system. With smart features, you mitigate potential harm to your engine dyno and test cell, not to mention potential damage to the engine being tested and potential downtime which would affect service to customers.
Integrate all systems to work together
An engine test cell is a complex system. To get the best value and performance, all that goes into the test cell must be seamlessly integrated within your facility and various systems. Support systems, for one, can affect your system’s reliability when not properly specified or integrated, causing issues associated with heat, air, or other contaminants that affect reliable results.
New common platform technology in instrumentation and control systems also allows for system integration in your test cell from temperature, to lighting, to safety controls and more. This eases training, and setup and operation of various tests, and streamlines them to improve time, costs and resources for the company, and provide more reliable testing for its customers.
It’s also important for your data acquisition system to be able to collect data on your entire test cell environment. A fully integrated system can correct data for the atmospheric conditions, which can mean the difference between the data showing a smoothly-running engine and (falsely) showing one that’s less than optimal. This can help you reliably run diagnostics, and allow your customer to get their engine back to work more quickly.
Offer capabilities to meet today’s needs
Any new technology, industry trend, or regulation that affects customers also affects the capabilities you need to test their engines. One key way to ensure your capabilities serve today’s needs is the ability to interface with modern engines with an electric control module (ECM) which will control all engine functions and operation.
With less than 2% of engines on the road today being serviced without ECMs, lacking the capabilities to service them impedes your ability to maximize your service offering. Another factor that goes hand-in-hand with ECMs is the need to test a greater range of information and do it more reliably. Instrumentation and control systems unable to read the SAE and ISO protocols, or languages of ECM engines, can’t test modern engines.
Keep your engine test cell in shape/upgrade when needed
One of the most important ways to be sure an engine dynamometer test system is maximizing customer value and return on investment is a physical review of the system and operational efficiency. A good way to do so is to ensure the test cell is regularly assessed and tweaked.
When in doubt, the experts in service and repair can help provide guidance on all dynamometer/component rebuilds as well as a variety of accessory overhauls and calibrations, to verify optimal operation of your engine as well as your support, instrumentation and other systems.
Work with the experts to deliver value and protect your bottom line
Ensuring your engine dynamometer test cell hits the mark in these four areas is a good way to ensure you deliver customer satisfaction and in turn, protect your bottom line. Remember, providing your customers with the value they need while achieving a return on investment doesn’t mean having to sacrifice one for the other you can achieve both. As you assess your safety, system integration, capabilities, and the health of your test cell, don’t hesitate to turn to the experts to learn how you can achieve the best value for the company and its customers.
March 22, 2016