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Engine Fuel Injector Characterization with LabVIEW

Lab Test Software for Injector Characterization

System Components

Summary

DMC was approached by an engine design and development company to create a method of characterizing fuel injectors for research and product development. A critical part of fuel injector performance is accurate timing of the control signals for opening and closing the fuel delivery valve. In this case, injectors are characterized for optimal control timing.

Characterization for research and development is performed on a lab benchtop, and this technique would be ultimately required in full production. Phase One of the characterization was to migrate current controls from disparate benchtop instruments to a singular control and data acquisition system, capable of measuring and viewing critical parameters.  These integrated tools became the basis for a fully automated characterization system. Initially, the client did not have the resources to perform this internally, leading them to engage DMC.

Customer Benefits

  • Shorter product development time
    • More efficient and accurate testing systems
    • More effective design decisions due to identification of critical parameters and specifications
    • Better product characterization with automatic test routines coupled with manual diagnostic tools
    • Testbed can be leveraged for future products
  • Improved end product quality, as variations are caught more thoroughly and information is stored for matching with other components
  • Reduced manufacturing cycle time, as algorithms for characterization run more quickly than previous methods

Technologies

  • NI LabVIEW for Signal Processing
  • Custom Engine Control Module (ECU) Communications
  • High Speed Data Acquisition (using NI PCI, PXI, and USB DAQ modules)
  • TDMS Binary Data Storage for high speed streaming

Solution

The client wanted to leverage a fuel injector design for a new application. This particular application had a higher technical demand than previous products due to an increased RPM and engine capacity. The client’s technical requirement necessitated that each injector be characterized to ensure the performance and product throughout.

DMC’s solution included data collection, manual control interfaces, and data processing. A solution was customized first in a proof of concept for the characterization using PC-based LabVIEW and DAQ. This was expanded to a higher volume laboratory to test robustness. An advanced data viewer was then used to mine data for statistical evaluation of injector performance. These LabVIEW data processing tools are best in class, as the National Instruments hardware platform allows for scalability without changes in programming.

With the help of DMC, the client now has a robust fuel injector laboratory test platform. This platform is being used by their team of technicians to evaluate current and emerging fuel injector products at a level of accuracy and speed that far exceeds previous testing. Ultimately, it enables better engineering and management decisions for product development and product life cycle planning.

Since working with DMC, the client has scaled the solution to five laboratory implementations. They are now able to build these systems completely on their own, allowing them to evaluate three new product designs. Phase two has begun by implementing this strategy into the client's manufacturing testing. Based on these results, a 40% improvement of throughput and quality is expected.

Learn more about DMC's LabVIEW programming, data analysis, data mining, and reporting expertise.

Posted in Automotive, Energy and Utilities, Green Technology, LabVIEW Programming, Manufacturing Automation and Intelligence, Test and Measurement, Test and Measurement Automation

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