Revolutionary new test system greatly enhances driveline development

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A new, automated mobile oil expulsion detection system called Vents, developed by Drive System Design (DSD), greatly reduces development time and cost.

The tool monitors oil expulsion through the breather system of a driveline unit, such as an axle or transmission case, during testing. Traditionally this would require continuous engineer observation and can take up to eight weeks; with Vents it now only takes three weeks and requires substantially reduced engineer involvement.

The technology is based on electronically detecting the presence of oil in the breather tube; patent protection is underway. Vents was initially developed for rig use but is sufficiently compact and robust, enabling it to be fitted to prototype vehicles.

Vents frees up engineering resources yet shortens program time by enabling unattended monitoring of tests, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all the while recording the exact conditions under which any oil expulsion occurs.

“OEMs and Tier 1s expend hundreds of hours of engineer and technician time monitoring breather systems for oil carry-over as part of their product validation, yet it may be difficult or impossible for the operator to determine the precise conditions under which oil expulsion has occurred,” explained Rob Oliver, DSD’s chief engineer for testing.

“Vents eliminates the need for human observation yet, should any oil enter the breather, it video records the event and captures the exact time and operating conditions under which it occurred.”

The turnkey system combines the necessary hardware and software, which includes a high resolution video camera, sensors and software configured for plug-and-play connectivity to a data logger. The system provides output through a GUI on the operator’s screen. The parameters reported can include triaxial orientation, shaft speed, oil temperature and more, and the user can configure features such as system sensitivity and recording duration simply by entering new values. Vents self-adjusts automatically for different ambient light levels, meaning tests can be carried out in varying light conditions.

Though currently applied to test rigs, such as rock-and-roll installations to examine the effects of operating under extremes of pitch or roll, VENTS can also be applied to on-vehicle installations by using remote communication to the camera. This will enable the validation of breather systems as a concurrent part of other vehicle test activities, enabling further savings in a customer’s overall development costs.

April 19, 2016

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John joined UKi Media & Events in 2012 and has worked across a range of B2B titles within the company's automotive, marine and entertainment divisions. Currently editor of Automotive Testing Technology International, Crash Test Technology International and Electric & Hybrid Marine Technology International, John co-ordinates the day-the-day operations of each magazine, from commissioning and writing to editing and signing-off, as well managing web content. Aside from the magazines, John also serves as co-chairman of the annual Electric & Hybrid Marine Awards and can be found sniffing out stories throughout the halls of several of UKI's industry-leading expo events.

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