On January 7, 2016 the Total MS Engine Testing Centre in Solaize near Lyon has been inaugurated. At this event Philippe Montantemme, Vice President of Research, Marketing and Strategy and Jean Parizot, R & D Director of Total MS, were present together with Dr. Albert Haas, Director of FEV Software and Testing Solutions and responsible for the integration of D2T inside the FEV group. D2T was chosen by Total to design and create an engine test centre that would be a point of reference in the field of fuels and lubricants research, both in terms of its technical capabilities but also in the aesthetics – a key element in the marketing of high performance products for technically demanding clients.
The inauguration by Mr Montantemme, Mr Parizot and Mr Haas was the final step in a complete renovation of the testing centre. The testing centre has a variety of engine test cells for passenger and commercial vehicle engines and also marine engines along with chassis dynamometers. All test cells are equipped with the automation system MORPHEE and in many cases with D2T asynchronous dynamometers. They are managed using a common database connected to MORPHEE, for centrally managing the test centre. A second engine test centre at a Total Research and Development site in Gonfreville in the Normandy region is also equipped with D2T equipment and coordinated by MORPHEE.
The testing centre operates 24/7 and plays a key and often time critical role in Total’s R&D activity, therefore a key criteria was to minimize the impact of the renovations on Total’s R&D projects. The renovation project has been completed in numerous stages since 2008, with disruption minimized by working on only one or two test cells at a time, minimizing the duration of each intervention, starting and finishing each project on-time and ensuring no negative impact on the remaining test cells. The ability to reliably meet its commitments was one of the main reasons for choosing D2T, a responsibility which was consistently met throughout this 8 year project. The final step, a complete aesthetic redesign, symbolizes perfectly the success of this renovation program.
Another particularly important criterion for Total was the reliability of the test cells and in particular that of the automation system: few if any bugs that must be quick and easy to resolve with zero tolerance of critical bugs. This was the reason for selecting MORPHEE software which has proved its reliability across a very broad range of operating conditions and applications.
Future-Proof Management of Test Cells
In any renovation an important aspect is the ability to interface with existing and future equipment regardless of its supplier or manufacturer; in the long lifespan of a test cell the variety of equipment, interfaces and technologies can become very significant, but this should not prevent a single interface, such as MORPHEE, from coordinating all test cell activity thereby improving ease of use and efficiency for the test cell operators. It is therefore a necessity to have test cell coordination and management software that can work in any environment regardless of the equipment it must manage. Sometimes with software that must be highly flexible – managing the equipment from a high level or general perspective – it can be difficult to simultaneously manage the detail and specific needs of a diverse range of hardware. Not so with MORPHEE: the so-called “Parent” components manage the generic part allowing for inter-changeability between test cells whilst the “Child” components, which are connected to the parents, manage the specific needs of the installed equipment. The FEV group can provide a large range of these components thanks to the experience gained working with the highly diverse range of configurations encountered and the 3,000 MORPHEE installations that can be found all over the world.
Collaboration between both companies is not limited to the engine test cells. Indeed, the recognized expertise of the FEV group in the field of engines, fuels and lubricants, and the presence of efficient and modern test centers in France and in Germany, has led to the initiation of a range of projects with Total across a broad range of subjects covering the full spectrum of the transport industry. A collaboration that will no doubt continue for many years thanks to the variety of potential subjects of cooperation already identified.