Les Hill

Les Hill

In this interview, Matthew Beecham talked with Les Hill, Automotive Test Systems Product Planning Department of Horiba Ltd. The Horiba Group of worldwide companies provides an array of instruments and systems for applications ranging from automotive R&D, process and environmental monitoring, in-vitro medical diagnostics, semiconductor manufacturing and metrology, to scientific R&D and QC measurements.

As supplier of automotive test systems in general, what range do you cover in terms of engine testing?

Horiba provides a number of test systems for engine testing to cover the wide range of applications needed for different industries, not just automotive. The Horiba TITAN product family enables steady-state, transient, and dynamic engine testing for very small engines used for auxiliary purposes or small motor cycles, through the light duty range to heavy duty engines. Additionally, the TITAN E-drive extends this portfolio with regard to testing of hybrid and electric powertrains.

What are the special challenges / issues posed by testing hybrid and electric vehicles?

Test systems especially for hybrid and E-motor tests have to be capable of testing the high speeds and starting torques of E-motors. Therefore, Horiba’s TITAN E-Drive series comes with the DYNAS3 HS 180 asynchronous machine as major element of the powerful test stands. In conjunction with a special virtual battery system, this provides a powerful tool for pre-series alternative powertrain development. In addition to the completely equipped test stands, integration into existing site installations is possible, thus enhancing the capabilities of existing test stands.

Let’s have a look at emissions. What are current changes regarding emission standards?

With the introduction of Euro 6 in 2014, there are two major changes regarding emission standards. Firstly, a solid Particle Number standard (PN) for gasoline vehicles (PI – positive ignition) will be introduced. For diesel vehicles, the particle number standard has already been introduced in 2011 with Euro 5 Phase 2. Secondly, the NOX standard for compression ignition (CI) vehicles will be reduced from 0.18 g/km in Euro 5 to 0.08 g/km for Euro 6.

Resulting out of these changes, what are the challenges in emissions testing and how does Horiba handle them?

With regard to increasingly stringent emission standards, Horiba develops analyzers supporting precise measurement of exhaust gas components. The introduction of PM (particle matter) and PN (particle number) standards for direct injection gasoline fuelled vehicles means that chassis dynamometer test cell systems have to be upgraded for their measurement by installation of dilution tunnels, PM samplers and PN counting systems. Horiba developed the first production level solid particle number counting system, the MEXA-1000SPCS, to meet the initial draft specifications and procedures introduced by the PMP (Particle Measurement Programme).

The extension of the PN standard means this parameter will be very critical for the development and calibration of powertrains in the engine test cell stage. Accordingly, Horiba has recently introduced a new model (MEXA-2100SPCS) which is designed to measure the PN from the raw, undiluted exhaust gas without the need of the CVS and dilution tunnel equipment necessary for the chassis dynamometer based certification.

What is the MEXA-140QL-NX? How does the system work and which measurements are possible?

The reduction of NOX emissions will require improved instrumentation for the measurement of nitrogen compounds. In addition to the well-proven FTIR (Fourier Transform Infra-Red) analyzer, Horiba engineers developed the MEXA-1400QL-NX, a new type of analyzer that uses a mid infra-red energy source called the Quantum Cascade Laser. It measures the NO, NO2, NH3 and N2O concentrations from the engine exhaust with a lower limit of detection and wider dynamic range than other infra-red based instruments.

Why is the new system so significant?

The QL-NX is important for exhaust emissions certification of gaseous compounds, such as N2O and NH3, that are required for some regulations. Its performance is also very important in the research and development of engine combustion as well as in the research and development of a number of exhaust after-treatment devices such as CRTs (Continuous Regenerating Traps), LNTs (Lean NOX Traps) and SCRs (Selective Catalytic Reducers) that are expected to be used for CI light duty vehicles to meet Euro 6 and beyond.