• Condition Monitoring Applications - Automotive

Biofuel Industry News

Condition Monitoring Applications - Automotive

Dec 29 2021

Condition monitoring has roots in the automotive and transport sector, with the field pioneered by railway maintenance technicians in the 1850s. Today, monitoring mechanical parameters has become a fundamental part of preventative maintenance strategies in the automotive sector.

Below, we take a look at some of the automotive applications for condition monitoring.

Maintaining wind tunnels

From best-selling models like the Ford Fiesta and Mini Cooper to luxury vehicles manufactured by Ferrari and Lamborghini, wind tunnels play a key role in automotive testing. Data is used to improve on-road performance and maximise fuel efficiency. As well as passenger vehicles, wind tunnels are used to design trucks, motorcycles and buses.

The industry relies on several different types of wind tunnels, including aerodynamic wind tunnels to create sleeker and more streamlined vehicles. Climatic wind tunnels are used to simulate different environmental conditions and aeroacoustic wind tunnels are used to test cabin noise when travelling at high speeds. This type of testing helps to improve the overall performance of the vehicle and enhance the passenger experience.

Air handling units

The heavy-duty equipment used in automotive manufacturing means factories and workshops can heat up fast. Air Handling Units (AHU) are used to extract hot air and replace it with cooler air from outside. This external air of often cleaned, filtered and humidified before being channelled back into the building.

Air Handling Units help to regulate mechanical temperatures, minimise the risk of overheating and keep the environment safe and comfortable for employees. When AHU systems fail, unplanned downtime is inevitable. Condition monitoring is used to track the performance of AHU systems in real-time and detect irregularities before they escalate.

Paint shop pumps

From recreational vehicles to industrial tractors, most automobiles enjoy a lick of paint before hitting the retail market. Paint shop pumps are used to create a smooth and seamless finish, though they are vulnerable to mechanical failure if not properly maintained. Condition monitoring helps keep paint pumps operating at full capacity.

Choosing the right CM solutions for the job

With so many different techniques to choose from, selecting the right CM solutions for the job is an important part of any preventative maintenance strategy. Decisions are often made based on the cost of unplanned downtime and the criticality of the asset, as well as the factors like expected fault progression rate and total cost of replacement.

For non-critical assets, portable and low-cost systems are generally preferable. For expensive and indispensable assets, permanent condition monitoring solutions such as built-in sensors to monitor vibrations and infrared cameras to track temperature are more reliable.

Making the switch to EVs

In the face of climate change, the electric vehicle (EV) market has blossomed. Over the past few years this has pushed industry leading manufacturers such as Nissan, Hyundai and BMW to funnel more resources into EV research and development. Experts from Koehler Instrument Company introduce the instruments used to monitor EV lubricants and greases in ‘Using the bench scale four ball test technology to evaluate fluids for electric vehicles.’

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