MicroNova Uses LabVIEW FPGA for Exact and Comprehensive Engine Simulation

Orazio Ragonesi, MicroNova AG

"This is the first time such a simulation has been possible. Additionally, its compact architecture is perfectly suited for mobile automotive testing. Some of the added benefits we incorporated thanks to LabVIEW include more functions and interfaces in a smaller space, accuracy, and high-performance reserves for future applications."

- Orazio Ragonesi, MicroNova AG

The Challenge:

Developing a compact, high-accuracy board for use in engine hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) test.

The Solution:

Simulating data from engines of up to 12 cylinders using the National Instruments LabVIEW FPGA Module by modeling within a complete HIL testing environment for engines – an engine-HIL simulator.

At NI Gold Alliance Partner MicroNova, we produce turnkey information systems for test-bench automation (HIL simulation) in the automotive industry, including systems for segment body, infotainment, chassis, and powertrain electronic control unit (ECU) testing.

 

 

The World’s First 12-Cylinder, Fuel-Injector Simulator

We recently developed an innovative, flexible, and programmable engine-HIL board, which represents the latest advancement in HIL simulators in the automation and simulation field. Using the NI LabVIEW FPGA Module and the NI PXI-R Series reconfigurable I/O module, we developed this board to simulate a direct fuel injector with up to 12 cylinders. This is the first time such a simulation has been possible. Additionally, its compact architecture is perfectly suited for mobile automotive testing. Some of the added benefits we incorporated thanks to LabVIEW include more functions and interfaces in a smaller space, accuracy, and high-performance reserves for future applications.

 

Developing a Flexible, Versatile Engine Simulator

The engine-HIL board represents the basis of a complete engine-HIL simulator. The sensory capture of fast engine signals is very sophisti­ca­ted, so we needed a board that would be up to this task. After sensory capture, we physically condition the engine data generated through this process for further logic processing. Then we rate a signal directly on the board by using a specially deve­loped software model for each type of engine to ensure that the control and adjust­ment parameters necessary to simulate a particular engine are available.

 

We can trigger the CPUs, as well as other I/O boards in the system, at the same time as the crankshaft angle and synchronize them systemwide via signals on the bus backplane. We also can use these signals to control external instruments (for example, oscilloscopes).

 

Despite the board’s compact archi­tecture (it is the size of a standard European board), it meets all the demands of fast, 12-cylinder engine signals. We are able to provide and remeasure all neces­sary engine signals, and we adjust the board to the number of cylinders solely through configuration. Con­se­quent­ly, it is possible to use different configurations at different times on the same board.

 

Our board generates the crankshaft input signal and up to four independent camshaft input signals with any given characteristics, including variable camshaft control, on the basis of the simulation output “revolution,” and the controller position signal “camshaft adjustment.”

 

The engine-HIL board records all fuel injection times and ignition angles synchronously to the crankshaft angles and makes them available to the HIL CPU as simulation input. The engine-HIL board acquires input signals through analog, digital, and pulse-width modulator (PWM)-based interfaces and also issues output variables over the same number of interface types. The simulation of knock signals occurs via the revolution-based output of a user-defined knock function on up to six independent sensors.

 

Our engine-HIL board excels not only because of its compact architecture, but also its high rate of accuracy.

 

The digital-to-analog converter (DAC) for analog I/O resolves with 16 bits and discretely performs without multiplexers and, consequently, guarantees a high signal quality at best possible separation of channels. Short conversion periods during input and output facilitate a high-performance reserve for future appli­cations.

 

Possible application fields include a large variety of engines with very different magnitudes, such as:

  • 12-cylinder V engines with variable valve actuation and camshaft adjustment for uncurbed operation, two throttle valves for curbed operation, six knock sensors, and direct fuel injection

  • 6-cylinder inline engines with variable valve actuation and variable camshaft adjustment for uncurbed operation, one throttle valve for curbed operation, three knock sensors, and direct fuel injection

  • 4 cylinder, common-rail, diesel inline engines with turbo charger, charge air intercooler, and one throttle valve

  • 2 cylinder V engines with intake pipe injection, two knock sensors, and two throttle valves (motorcycle)

 

This engine-HIL board we developed with LabVIEW features a high level of integration and delivers amazing performance parameters in terms of an engine-HIL simulator engine interface. Through configuration, we capture fast engine signals with utmost gauging accuracy for most types of engines in a flexible manner and without problems. As a result, the quality of engine controller test runs improves as we implement these tests efficiently with the same system.

 

Author Information:

Orazio Ragonesi
MicroNova AG
Unterfelding 17
Vierkirchen
Germany
Tel: 49 8139 9300 0
Fax: 49 8139 9300 80
info@micronova.de

Figure 1. The Engine-HIL Simulator Can Accommodate Several Integrated HIL-Boards