Cummins Turbo revolutionises turbocompound engine development 11 February 2013

Cummins Turbo Technologies has developed virtual turbocompound simulation system capable of reducing the complexity of engine turbocompound matching from months to weeks.

The Emulator's creator Dr Kai Zhang explains that it effectively evaluates the interdependencies between the turbocharger, engine, power-turbine and power-turbine drivetrain to optimise performance.

"When using the Emulator, the turbocompound system is effectively replaced by a mathematical algorithm that has been written to behave as the system would – subjecting both the engine and ancillary systems to the same conditions as a conventional real-world test," states Zhang.

"However, whereas engine development currently requires extensive physical testing of prototype hardware [turbocharger, power-turbine and speed reduction gear box etc], the Emulator removes this and enables any alterations to the characteristics of the turbocharger to be made, via a few keystrokes, in minutes rather than weeks."

Dr Zhang, who developed the method during his PhD, worked with an unnamed Cummins Turbo Technologies customer, which supplied both the engine under development and operating range parameters.

The successful matching and integration of a turbocharger and engine is critical and increasingly complex on modern diesel engines.

"Simulating a turbocompound system presents some unique technical challenges. For example, the need to 'capture' power from the exhaust gas and transfer this to the engine's crankshaft via a reduction gear train must all be done 'virtually' – necessitating the development a real-time power turbine algorithm capable of replicating the effect of an exhaust pressure valve," states Zhang.

"Engine testing and development work currently requires months of physical testing and has a correspondingly high cost, due to the iterative process of revising and retesting components," he continues.

"So, whilst further refinement is on-going, now that we have proven the Emulator's potential we will actively be seeking opportunities to utilise it with other turbocharger solutions in order to significantly reduce our customers' lead times."

Brian Tinham

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Cummins Turbo Technologies

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