New AMSOIL Mechanical Laboratory Expands Testing Capabilities
AMSOIL recently unveiled its new mechanical testing laboratory, featuring three 480-sq. ft. dyno cells capable of housing a minimum of two dynamometers each. Encompassing 8,500+ square feet of the AMSOIL Center, the new facility expands the company’s abilities to test engine oil performance on-site, allowing quicker and more thorough test results for current products, developing products and competing products in both normal and extreme operating conditions.
The Dyno Cells
Cell 1 houses a state-of-the-art water brake dynamometer capable of absorbing up to 1,500 hp at the crankshaft. Critical engine parameters are measured and stored with the integrated data acquisition software. The cell is currently equipped with a two-cycle engine for the measurement of oil detergency properties. Snowmobile in-chassis testing, hand-held power equipment testing and small gasoline-engine testing will also be conducted on this dyno.
Cell 2 houses an eddy current dynamometer capable of absorbing up to 175 hp at the crankshaft. Using an electromagnetic brake for absorption, it provides precise load control that allows identification of very small differences in engine performance. Critical engine parameters are measured and stored using proprietary software. The GM 3800 Series II 3.8L V6 gasoline engine in this cell provides extremely hot temperatures and allows in-depth testing and measuring of deposits, wear and oil durability.
Cell 3 houses a motorcycle-specific eddy current dynamometer capable of absorbing up to 200 hp at the rear wheel, with critical engine parameters measured and stored with the latest data acquisition software. A variable speed controlled fan simulates air speeds in excess of 65 mph during testing sequences. Designed for in-chassis testing of equipment such as motorcycles and ATVs, it currently holds a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
"The company’s investment in this new state-of-the-art dyno facility will make it easier for us to stay on the cutting edge of lubricant technology and generate marketing materials that demonstrate AMSOIL product performance,” said AMSOIL Executive Vice President and COO Alan Amatuzio. “Having this dyno facility on-site allows faster testing turnaround times, testing flexibility that allows us to modify conditions to measure different oil properties and unique testing not available elsewhere. This all leads to better products and quicker product development.”
“There are very few facilities in North America that have the combination of precision and capabilities available at the AMSOIL mechanical lab,” said AMSOIL Vice President, Technical Development Dan Peterson. “It gives AMSOIL the ability for testing, development and stress tests only available at major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) or additive companies. And because the facilities and equipment are designed specifically for work in our main markets, we have the advantage of solving problems earlier. It allows us to not only do things that no one else is doing, but to do things that others think are impossible.”
Controlled Test Environment
Programmable Logic Control (PLC) automation of the air, water and fuel systems allows precise control of the testing environments within each cell, providing repeatable test results.
PLC integration of intake and exhaust fans allows the setting of intake air pressure, and the combustion air system provides 3,000 cubic feet/minute (cfm) of temperature- and humidity-controlled air directly to the test engines. Intake air volume is adjustable to 20,000 cfm, and in-cell air can turn over 3.8 times per minute, ensuring excellent air quality throughout testing. Carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon sensors are installed in each cell to warn of any air-quality issues.
A 4,000-gallon water supply tank provides ample process water to maintain engine temperatures throughout test sequences. All process water returns to the in-floor sump tank, and once it reaches a set level, it is pumped back to the supply tank. A roof-mounted cooling tower ensures the water returns to the supply tank at a preset temperature.
An outdoor fuel supply tank stores 2,000 gallons of premium unleaded fuel for the dyno cells. All lines are fully welded for safety, and a pressure sensor is installed to detect system pressure loss, allowing shutdown of the fuel supply pump in the event of an unexpected fuel line breach.
Each dyno cell is protected from fire by the FM200 fire suppression system. This waterless system effectively extinguishes combustible, electrical and flammable liquid fires quickly without causing collateral damage to equipment or personnel. The FM200 system includes five in-cell, ceiling-mount heat sensors, as well as manual pull stations inside and outside each cell.
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