UK-based CPT enhances test capabilities for its 48V hybrid vehicle technology

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Controlled Power Technologies (CPT) has invested US$1.43m (£1m) to further industrialize its CO₂ and NOx reduction capabilities for the global automotive industry. These funds will support seven projects at the company’s new technical center in Coventry and at its headquarters in Laindon, UK. A significant proportion of the funding targets product and manufacturing process maturity by capital expenditure in new durability test cells at Laindon and a low-volume manufacturing facility in Coventry.

“The environmental chambers will primarily test our SpeedStart and SpeedTorq motor-generators for 48V applications,” explained Paul Bloore, product validation and functional safety manager within CPT’s hybrid product group. “But we can also test at 12V for micro-hybrid applications, 24V for truck and bus applications, in fact anything up to 60V, which is considered the upper voltage limit for electrical machines before costly safety measures need to be incrementally implemented.”

Facilities and test manager Joe Curtis, responsible for commissioning the new test cells installed at Laindon, added, “The chambers can operate down to -40°C and up to 125°C. Moreover, they are fast acting in their control of a wide range of temperatures, pressures and humidity, which is ideal for accelerated durability testing.”

Said Bloore, “Seven years ago we defined a challenging durability cycle for a water-cooled electric machine operating in the harsh under-bonnet environment, combining the most damaging events experienced by both a starter motor and an alternator at 12V. In preparation for 48V applications, this cycle has been further developed, which means that our four-month 2,000-hour test program can now fully validate products designed to meet series production requirements, as well as meeting the quality, service and price standards for advanced technology demanded by the automotive industry.

“Consideration of the thermal environment is absolutely critical for both durability and real-world performance of electrical machines. We can already run our switched-reluctance units at more than 12.5kW for 30 seconds, so the test cells’ drive motor rating of 15kW and load bank power dissipation capability of 20kW will help accommodate future development of our SpeedStart and SpeedTorq motor generators.”

The planned investment in production equipment will also enable low-volume manufacturing of CPT’s Cobra electric supercharger, which is currently being applied to a diverse range of heavy-duty internal combustion engines and fuel cells.

Penny Edgar, financial controller, said, “The remainder of the US$1.43m spend includes additional measurement, test and simulation capabilities, further evolution of the already state-of-the-art control electronics and software, as well as training of people at various levels to help implement important emerging ISO standards.

“We had the original meeting in April 2015, developed the details during the following six months, and got the grant offer letter in October. The pace then quickened and we spent the tail end of 2015 installing and commissioning the 48V test cells three months sooner than we initially estimated, and we have also initiated the other projects, so we have hit the ground running for 2016.”

February 17, 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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