When Scania says it’s presenting a new vehicle or engine, the word ‘new’ is used with some qualification. Products must undergo a long and arduous journey through computer calculations, component testing and field tests within Scania Research and Development before finally arriving on the market.
By the time Scania’s new generation V8 engines make their public debut they will have undergone thousands of hours of testing, and vehicles equipped with the engines will have covered millions of kilometres. The road to public release is a long one.
The above figures however only apply to components that are unique to the V8 engine, such as the crankshaft and engine block. Thanks to Scania’s modular system, its V8 engines share components with many of the company’s other engine platforms, and these parts have already undergone extensive testing.
Every single component in the V8 engine starts out as a model on a computer. And with the help of advanced computational models, the development team is able to quickly produce a limited number of alternatives that it believes should be tested in real life.
Carrying out calculations with computers saves time. A lot of time. With physical testing it’s possible to conduct two or three different design iterations per year. Through the use of computer-based testing, a similar number of iterations can be tested in a week.
ENTERING THE REAL WORLD
Once a component leaves the virtual world and is produced in physical form, it is subjected to load in a controlled manner until it breaks or loses its function in some other manner.
When a component breaks, the team investigates exactly what happened and transfers this knowledge across to the computer-based model. In this way, the accuracy of the model is verified and the understanding of why something doesn’t work increases.
Once a component meets the design brief, it’s time for it to be tested together with other components. One way to do this is in so-called test cells, where over the course of 1,000 hours engines are exposed to stresses and changes corresponding to those they would experience throughout their working life in trucks.
This process is called accelerated testing. This means, among other things, that the engine is subjected to higher power and significantly higher cylinder pressure than it’s built for. This allows for quickly identifying potential weak spots.
TESTING THE COMPLETE VEHICLE
Once an engine survives testing in the test cells, it is put through strenuous endurance testing in a vehicle. The endurance tests involve assessing how wear and tear affects the whole design, while function testing is used to check the fuel consumption, emission levels and drivability and that the engine delivers the intended performance.
Finally there’s customer testing, in which a cross section of customers has the opportunity to contribute their view during field tests.