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Clutch Friction Curve Tester

Objective: To develop a new LabVIEW-based interface for a machine used to test the friction surface of automotive clutches.

Challenge: The software's complexity as well as the high data-acquisition rates required made this project very demanding. The run test module included a complex test sequence builder, which allowed for operators to specify parameters for 20 different types of tests, then build complex sequences with repetition and "looping." During execution, the software would track the current test and send appropriate parameters to an Allen-Bradley PLC performing some of the control for the machine. All of this required millisecond timing and was carried out simultaneously with the processing of 150K samples per second of speed, torque, pressure, temperature, and flow.

Solution: The software incorporated several advanced features. An auto-verification procedure confirmed that each transducer in the machine was reading accurately at the beginning and end of every test, ensuring that test data was valid. Another module enhanced the software's basic functionality to include full user-level security, a file management utility, a calculation utility, and an advanced calibration/verification utility.

Result: The Friction Curve Test Machine is now in use, providing invaluable data to the clutch design engineers.



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