Delivering a High-Performance Vehicle Engine Testing Facility

Delivering a High-Performance Vehicle Engine Testing Facility


(hum of racecars) Race Announcer: All around the world, they’ll stand up and cheer as Damon Hill comes home,
within sight of victory at the Belgian Grand Prix. Martin: What we’re delivering here is a world-class test facility for the highest level of testing. (crowd cheering) Hiro Toyoda: Winning is the driving force
of our passion for motor sports. One more horsepower determines who’s going to win the next race. Martin Hird: All of the behind-the-scenes
activity build up to this one moment. And it’s when turn the engine on and does it work? Narrator: Silver Stone. Since 1950, this legendaryrace track has served as the epicenter for
Formula 1 racing development in Britain’s motor sports valley and around the world.
Eight out of eleven F1 teams build their sleek race cars within this region. Nearby in Milton
Keynes, Honda technical partner Mugen is focused on radically pushing the limits of high-performance
racing engines. Enabled by Sierra’s test facility development skills, Mugen’s new test cells
are capable of precision tuning a wide variety of Honda racing engines, from world touring
car, to Le Mans, to Formula 1. Hiro Toyoda: The Mugen company itself was
founded by son of Mr. Honda, Hirotoshi Honda, in 1973. The word Mugen means, in Japanese,
it is unlimited. If you see the badge like this, Mugen Power, it means unlimited power. Race Announcer: Oh God! Michael Schumacher hits David Coulthard and is out. It could all be coming true for the Silver Stone team. If you haven’t got your heart in your mouth,
you jolly-well should have. He is yards away from the finish followed by his teammate, Ralf Schumacher. Mugen Honda engine first. Mugen Honda engine second. And Damon Hill
wins it. Well done! Narrator: In 2012, Mugen moved to Milton Keynes,
where they could build a state-of-the-art engine testing facility. Based on their depth
of experience, Sierra was hired to design, build, and outfit Mugen’s test cells and Martin
Hird, managing director of Sierra’s automotive test division was brought in to shepherd the
project. Martin Hird: The thing that they liked about
us was what they called an “I can do” attitude. The fact that we were able to look at a challenge
and say, we haven’t done it that way before, but if we did it this way… We gave them
options to consider and I think that dialogue was very welcome. So we’re starting to look
at building a long-term relationship with our clients to understand where they want
to get to. What their road map is. Matthew Olin: It’s that deep understanding
of costumer needs that creates the DNA for the facility that we’re going to design and
engineer as a team. Narrator: CAD drawings were developed by Sierra
to pre-visualize the test cells. The simple portal frame of the Mugen facility wasn’t
initially intended for test cell operations. So significant construction modifications
were required. Martin Hird: Biggest challenge was the schedule
for the project. We actually broke ground on June the tenth and we actually delivered
a working test cell at the end of October. So that is a very aggressive time schedule.
Hiro Toyoda: It’s quite enough for the dyno operator. I think that’s good.
Martin Hird: When you undertake a project of this type, particularly when you’re dealing
with Formula 1 engines, you’ve got to consider the particular challenges that they bring.
They tend to be very noisy engines. And we’re talking around 138 db of noise. Where typically,
majority of petrol cars will be around 110 to 112. We used block work regimes, double-skimmed,
which gave us a high level of acoustic barrier. Hiro Toyoda: As we are living in the motor
sports world, the quality is everything, first of all. Then secondary, flexibility.
Martin Hird: No two facilities are the same size. Test cells are different size. Facilities
are different size. So it’s not just about the test cell itself. It’s about how you house
all the infrastructure that’s required to support the testing of such applications that
we’re talking about today. We’ve gone from sort of a steady state type application to
a test facility now that can do track simulation. It can re-create the conditions of track circuits
around the world. Not just in terms of circuit, but also in terms of ambient conditions because
we’ve employed a car that gives us pressure, temperature, and humidity control, to very
close tolerance. Narrator: While Sierra’s combustion air handling
unit was positioned outside of the test cell, Sierra precision fuel-metering hardware was
mounted on the inside wall of the new test cell. Martin Hird: The important part of the testing process is removing the variability. And a
key element of that is conditioning the fuel that the engine sees. You’ve got the exhaust
tube, and then you’ve just got a shroud on the outside. So we’ve created a range of fuel
conditioning or fuel metering products that actually eliminate that and provide the client
with very precise condition of temperature for the fuel.
Hiro Toyoda: Now the main focus is direct injection system, which is spraying the fuel
into the cylinder direct. Maximize the efficiency and grab out the energy from the fuel. That
is what we are challenging. Narrator: But long before one of Mugen’s high-performance engines is ready for the test cell, it must clear hundreds of hurdles and development,
beginning with computer modeling of the engine parts at the design stage, followed by precision,
prototype machining. Hiro Toyoda: We have 200 or 300 different
components put together in one piece. The important thing is the clearance of each components working in the right way in right temperature. So, everything in the engine we build is carefully
monitored and clearanced in one micrometer, which is 1/1000 of one millimeter.
Narrator: Test cell completed, Sierra transient Dyno and remaining testing hardware installed,
Mugen’s precision built engine is delivered to the test bed, where critical engine data
will be gathered through Sierra’s innovative plug-and-play H-frame, surrounding the back
of the engine. Matthew Olin: With motor sports, it’s such
a competitive field. Every team out there has a great engine. Every team out there is
looking for that little extra bit of horsepower. Every team out there is looking to do a simulation
in their test cell that’s better than the other’s. What we focus on is precision measurement
control of that test facility so that when that engine gets out to the race track, it
wins. Narrator: Sierra’s CADET V14 test automation
software controls all systems in and out of the test cell and provides crucial feedback.
Hiro Toyoda: The benefit from equipment like that is the accuracy of the data we get, which
simulate exactly how the engine behave in the car. Hiro Toyoda: Let’s go down to 200 rpm then we start motor run right now. Martin Hird: And of course the biggest buzz of all is when we stand with the costumer watching their engine simulate one of the great racetracks around
the world as if you were there and you just can’t help but smile.
Hiro Toyoda: First of all, you’ve got to have a personal bonding, then you succeed in your
project. Without Sierra, I don’t think we could achieve anything like you’ve seen in
our test cell. Matthew Olin: Listening, above all, to what
costumers are asking you to do and then working with them to develop something that’s beautiful
is at the heart of great innovation.

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