Access to repeatable and accurate test data is a key enabler for Lontra’s development of market leading products. Over a number of years we have developed a world class technology centre with multiple test cells to achieve this.
Working closely with partners including National Instruments and Wiresmith Technology we’ve built a test facility that allows us to simultaneously read over 100 data channels. For example, positions, pressures, and temperatures. This allows us to effectively freeze frame our compressors, running at full speed, every degree.
Therefore analysing everything, from pressure waves within the compressor to thermal expansion. Also mechanical distortion due to rotational or other forces, in real time. The kind of data that engineers historically obtained by estimation or inferred from wear marks or “engineer’s blue” is now available to our technicians while machines are running, massively improving the development process.
A bespoke Labview application, standardised across all of Lontra’s test cells, allows graphical trends and calculated channel data to be viewed and analysed in real time by the Test Engineer. The software also has the facility for viewing and pinpointing data during the 360 degrees in the compression cycle. As the compressor is running, allowing effects such as pressure waves or distortion to be monitored at each test point.
Sensor and channel calibrations are vital to useful results. All Lontra test bed calibrations are UKAS traceable and the software enforces standards. This automatically reminds the operator when re-calibration is due.
In addition to using market leading test equipment from HBM, Kulite and Druck, at Lontra we develop our own solutions to further advance testing and development speed and accuracy.
This ranges from building our own microphones and amplifiers to give a flatter frequency response for acoustic development. Also developing an improved back-pressure control system for simulating customer environments.
The dual valve back pressure test system uses a large/coarse control valve and a smaller/fine valve in parallel. The coarse valve controls the back pressure to within a predetermined percentage range of the required flow. Then the fine valve automatically trims the flow to the precise target. Both managed by an in-house developed Lontra control strategy and algorithms running on a high speed dual output controller.
This arrangement allows for extremely accurate back pressure control across a wide range of pressure and flow conditions. In turn this allows us to measure and test the performance of compressors more accurately than traditional systems, leading to better and more efficient products.