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Mercedes-Benz unveils its revamped G-Class


The all-new G-Class makes its public debut at the Detroit auto show in G550 form. Completely redeveloped and fitted with a 4.0-liter V8 biturbo gasoline engine offering 427ps and 450 lb-ft of torque at 2,000rpm to 4,750rpm, despite near-identical looks to its predecessor plenty has changed for the Mercedes-Benz SUV.

Ford’s F150 pickup gets its first diesel motor


Developed by the powertrain team behind the 6.7-liter Power Stroke engine for super duty trucks, the all-new 3.0-liter V6 Power Stroke unit promises 250ps, 440 lb-ft of torque, and an anticipated 5175kg of towing capacity.

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In light of Fisker's solid-state battery breakthrough and claims of a one minute charge time, will this electric vehicle technology development kick-start mass BEV uptake? 


ABD launches new Plato system

Left: Work-cycle vibration map for four-cylinder, four-stroke diesel engine

Designed for use in a wide range of environments from end-of-line, off-line audit, R&D and durability testing to in-vehicle and pass-by noise measurement and analysis, Plato can provide important NVH data on a host of different product types.

The wide range of test environments for Plato has been further extended in Version 5.75, with an expansion of the Nuren add-on for engine fault-finding using work-cycle noise/vibration mapping, that allows the system to be used for hot engine testing and higher speed cold testing.

The Nuren add-on for Plato was originally designed for relatively low crank speeds (typical of ‘cold’ cranking tests). At crank speeds of a few hundred rpm, the system was able to utilize ‘super-impulse’ time-weighting to deliver sufficient angular (within work-cycle) resolution. The new instantaneous 1/3-octave spectrum mode now allows the system to be applied to crank speeds of a few thousand rpm as is typical for ‘hot’ (fired) engine testing and higher speed cold-testing where turbochargers are required to be blown at near operational speeds. The new mode also allows the system to be applied to two-stroke engine cycles with half the work-cycle durations of equivalent four-stroke engines.

Plato V5.75 also offers improved damaged sensor detection as all data capture actions now include real-time checking for unusually low dynamic range results. This development, coupled with the existing ADC-underload and ADC-overload checks helps ensure that the dynamic signals being measured are within expected range and have an expected character.

The DyBal add-on software option for integrated single-plane dynamic balancing in Plato V5.75 allows users to seamlessly carry out balance tests and fast cycle NVH tests on the same machine instead of separate systems, a very attractive cost-saving feature particularly for axle manufacturers. The one pulse/revolution ‘marker’ signal used by the DyBal add-on is paramount to the generation of accurate balance results. Version 5.75 provides extended integrity checking of this key signal prior to computing the imbalance vector.

ABD has found some weaknesses in the way some operating systems handle folders with very large numbers of files in them. To overcome this, and also to simplify access to result data, options have been provided in Plato V5.75 to store results in folders relating to specific years, months, weeks and days.

Irrespective of whether a user prefers Gage R&R or ISO-plot techniques to assess the repeatability/reproducibility of their NVH test system, these techniques still depend on the repeatability of key order-tracks. In Plato V5.75, the new order-track repeatability view allows the user to select a group of compatible result files and automatically display the spread of order-tracks from repeat runs as a pre-cursor to a more structured repeatability checking technique.

The Focus add-on in Plato for automatic fault-classification and reporting has always had an internal ‘notepad’ area in which users could record Root Cause Analysis notes. This capability has now been extended in Plato V5.75 to allow users to link to external files, such as documents, spreadsheets etc. allowing much greater detail to be associated with each particular fault type. Plato has always made it easy to create dated back-ups, but the new Reinstate Dated Backup Utility available for V5.75 allows the user to restoring these back-ups just as easily.

When a production test cycle has just finished (and the Test Report is up on the screen), the user can use the Selective Printing of Test Reports function in the expanded Control Menu in V5.75 to request a print-out of the report at any time before product details are received for the next test.

21 September 2009


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