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Industry: Agriculture, Construction, Off-Road Vehicles
Application:  INERTIA, Control and Data Acquisition


Genuen Challenge - Blue The Challenge

GKN, in Loves Park, Illinois, faced a challenge in updating their legacy four square test rig, which lacked true automation capabilities for testing and simulating real-world conditions on off-highway vehicle drivetrain components.


Genuen Background - Blue Background

GKN is a manufacturer of large, universal joints and driveshafts and uses four square test rigs to test their products (Figure 1).

A four square test cell is used to simulate initial acceleration (where a vehicle experiences high torque and low speed) as well as highway speeds (low tow torque and high speed).  It can also subject a driveshaft under test to jounce, or the movements of the suspension experienced in both smooth and bumpy environments.

Their outdated four square test rig lacked the ability to synchronize speed, torque, and jounce for an automated test sequence that accurately simulated actual usage conditions.  This shortfall hindered GKN's ability to conduct comprehensive testing, leading to potential gaps in understanding drivetrain component performance under different conditions.


Figure 1. The previous controllers for the four square test rigs


Genuen - Solution The Solution


Genuen stepped in with a solution, replacing the outdated controllers with INERTIA test software and real-time NI PXI hardware.


Crafting Precision with INERTIA

Genuen's INERTIA test software, coupled with PXI real-time hardware, proved to be the game-changer for GKN's four square test rig.  The legacy MTS controllers were entirely replaced, ushering in a new paradigm of control, synchronization, and data collection capabilities.

GKN benefited from a streamlined setup, as a single INERTIA system could now control two test station clients, reducing the total space consumed by 66 %.  The INERTIA system provided synchronized control over the three critical test variables – speed, torque, and suspension movement – all on a single platform.


Four Square Test System

Figure 2. GKN Rockford's four square test rig


Automation Unleased

With the newfound ability to automate test sequences, GKN's engineers could precisely specify test specifications that replicated the challenging conditions their drivetrain components would face in real-world scenarios.  The INERTIA system went beyond expectations, not only offering automation but also enhancing data collection and reporting capabilities.

Genuen's intervention extended beyond software and hardware upgrades; they revamped the existing jounce portion of the test stand with a new mechanical design.  This strategic upgrade eliminated limitations caused by torque side loads, expanding the range of the test rig's capabilities.



New Controller

Figure 3. The new INERTIA-based controller for the updated four square test rigs


The Result

By updating the controllers in the existing four square test rigs, Genuen empowered GKN to optimize their test equipment thoroughly.  The result was more comprehensive and accurate testing of drivetrain components, ultimately enhancing reliability and customer satisfaction.

In conclusion, Genuen's solution not only addressed the immediate automation challenge but also brought about a transformative upgrade, demonstrating the power of INERTIA in optimizing testing processes for greater precision and effectiveness.

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