The development of new propulsion systems for future vehicle generations is, among other aspects, characterized by:
- stringent legislative requirements,
- increasing system complexity and variety,
- further reductions in development time due to a shortened time-to-market demands,
- an increasingly limited number of test vehicles (prototype test vehicle) and
- increasing cost pressure.
This means that some traditional approaches to vehicle development, such as elaborate summer and winter test drives will no longer be feasible in the future. Instead, development work and testing activities are being transferred, to a larger extent, to appropriately equipped test benches. Bundling of different individual test programs on one test object (e.g. test engine or test vehicle) today is already state-of-the-art. For conception, design, equipping and operational organization of future test facilities, this raises a number of requirements that must be met by an appropriate test field architecture/concept. It is important to define, for each individual case, whether a test field is used for highly specific or more broad-functional purposes and whether the focus is on specialized test and investigation programs or more on highly efficient run-hour accumulation (Fig. 1).
Based on these boundary conditions and, as a result of large investments for building and technical infrastructure and the resulting long depreciation periods, the capability to adapt a test field quickly and easily to changing requirements and test tasks becomes a main requirement. This results in requirements such as functional structures, modular solutions, as well as spare storage space for equipment needed for changing test requirements and an intelligently structured main media and energy supply infrastructure.
Another important aspect is the integration of real-life testing programs as well as the simulation of test object subsystems. If, initially, only subsystems on various test rigs are available, one possible solution is the real-time connection of individual test beds with the different sub-systems in order to represent an overall scope of the system for test programs, (example: Connecting engine and transmission test bench). To efficiently process the ever-growing flood of measurement data, the complete implementation of a networked and seamless tool chain (measure-store-evaluate) is also necessary to provide the test field users with efficient, timely and meaningful data analysis. Based on more than 150 test cells at FEV GmbH, as well as the experience of more than 300 realized test cell installations worldwide, FEV has extensive experience and expertise in the design, planning, construction, and operation of future test centers.