Modern combustion engines deliver higher performance despite increasing compact dimensions, thus posing new challenges for cylinder pressure measurement. While it is practically impossible to visualise processes in the combustion chamber, as it works at high temperatures, combustion anaylsers can offer precise analyses of combustion processes to optimise engine designs and meet growing requirements of cost-effectiveness and zero-emissions.
In a recent interaction with Auto Tech Review, Anil Anand, Country Director, Kistler Instruments India Pvt Ltd (KIIL), spoke on several new developments in the instruments sector that promises to make measurements convenient and more accurate for the industry.
COMPLYING WITH EMISSION NORMS
A wholly-owned subsidiary of Switzerland-based Kistler Group, KIIL has supplied combustion analysers to both ARAI and ICAT and has also been working with other companies involved in engine development, including Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki. On the vehicle testing side, KIIL has supplied crash boards and dummies to both testing agencies involved in the crash testing of vehicles.
Kistler has also developed the M8 high-precision cylinder pressure sensor that can be mounted in any position in high performance engine development and offer thermodynamic precision, temperature stability and low linearity deviation. Anand said the measuring element in M8 sensor is decoupled from the sensor body to ensure stability under high loads, making the sensor rugged and insensitive to its mounting position, and making it a versatile solution from concept validation through to final calibration for engine development applications. M8 provides engine developers more accurate measurement values combined with minimal cycle-to-cycle deviations, especially when it is mounted directly with an extended pressure range of up to 300 bars, he added.
The implementation of BS VI and CAFE norms are pushing the auto industry towards cleaner emissions from vehicles. Adoption of electric vehicles, meanwhile, will require various motors operating in tandem along with the battery system. Anand said the acquisition of China-based mechanical engineering specialist LIK will be leveraged to strengthen Kistler‘s position in developing automated assembly lines for vehicle components such as automotive seats, braking and safety systems as well as test stands for electric motors.
The company has also developed sensors to measure torque of different sizes of motors. The company also makes test stands, where one can mount the prototypes of electric motors and subsequently measure torque. KIIL has recently supplied test stands to NFTDC, Hyderabad that has got the mandate from the Ministry of Heavy Industries to check and develop various motors for EVs. The company is currently sourcing solutions out of its facilities in Switzerland, Europe and US to ensure similar quality products across the world.
BEING FUTURE READY
Even as autonomous vehicles gradually pave their way into the automotive industry, their safe operations in the real world scenario is still a matter of concern as it requires evaluation of huge quantities of data, complemented by extensive and informative tests during the development phase. The key components of the value chain will be shifting towards software and that makes it important to develop appropriate resources at an early stage, he noted.
The Kistler Group’s acquisition of Chemnitz-based software specialist, AMS Gesellschaft für angewandte Mess- and Systemtechnik mbh (AMS) that specialises in analysing, processing and visualising large volumes of measurement data that support vehicle development from sensors to data evaluation, is one such move.
Kistler also introduced its new KiDAQ data acquisition system in June 2018 that brings in data transparency and knowhow across the entire measuring chain. KiDAQ is modularly designed to offer freedom of selecting components customers need for their measuring tasks from the hardware, software and sensors portfolios and thus obtain the data acquisition system that is optimally adjusted to their specific application. Anand said KiDAQ will play a crucial role while setting-up complex test benches and demonstrators for Industry 4.0, as it simplifies data acquisition and lets users explore new grounds in the design of complex measuring chains commonly found in the field of R&D.
With over six decades of experience in developing sensors & systems to measure pressure, force, acceleration and torque used for engine development & monitoring, vehicle technology, plastics processing and metal machining as well as assembly and testing technology, the company seems to be making the right moves to cater to all future requirements of the industry.
The Kistler Group operates under three verticals – ART (Automotive Research and Test), IPC (Industrial Process Control) and ST (Sensor Technology) to meet the increasingly specific requirements of various customer segments more effectively and spends around eight per cent every year on R&D operations.
Following the acquisition of IOS GmbH last May, Kistler is striving to emerge as a single-stop-shop from sensors to manufacturing execution systems (MES), including hardware and software as well as all accompanying services. The company is also opening a competence centre for production control and management systems at its Aachen facility that will focus on the digitisation of plastics processing, among other industrial processes.
As far as India is concerned, Anand said Kistler is also working with an automotive company based out of western India for weld force management of metal fabrication. Spot welding of metal under sensor controlled processes ensures better efficiency and avoids weakening of metal that may arise due to mismanaged force application, he noted.
TEXT: Anirudh Raheja