SKF, a long serving technical partner to Scuderia Ferrari, has announced details of its latest solution that allows engineers at the Italian race team to monitor and track the performance of its powerunits, in individual test chambers, in real time.
The solution is based on SKF’s modular IMx platform, which has been re-engineered to meet the specific demands of the race team. The system operates on SKF’s ‘@ptitude Observer’ software, which provides condition monitoring, asset protection, preventive maintenance, and an increased speed of development.
The standard version of the SKF IMx platform was actually developed for applications such as wind power plants. The condition monitoring in these applications requires far lower data quantities, far fewer channels and lower computer speeds than those required by Scuderia Ferrari for its high-performance test equipment.
Scuderia Ferrari envisaged an integrated, wireless system, which was able to monitor individual elements of the test object during high frequency vibration tests. In order to adapt the IMx platform to the volume and speed of data flow that was involved, SKF designed an extended solution. This included additional hardware, which was to be integrated into the existing infrastructure. The experts had to ensure that the entire newly developed hardware package could be controlled using the same interface.
It was very important for the Scuderia Ferrari test engineers that measurements could be started or results displayed, for example, without constantly having to switch between a range of applications or devices. The team also wanted an extendable system with regular updates, up to 30 additional sensors and the option of carrying out routine calculations in short cycles.
The revised platform allows Scuderia Ferrari to process up to 100,000 observations per second. It can perform complex analyses and send the results to the telemetry system so that development engineers are able to check the status of the test object online. In view of the huge quantities of data, the software collates the observations ten to twenty times per second to provide manageable results.
The Italian squad first started planning the modernisation of its test chambers in 2011. At that time not all test chambers were equipped with special systems for the continuous monitoring of the vibration behaviour of drive components.
“We had to go to each individual test chamber in order to see exactly what was going on inside,” explains Mario Kuluridis, team leader for test facilities, mechanical and hydraulic development, Scuderia Ferrari. “An online check of high frequency data in real time was simply impossible. This meant that troubleshooting was really slow. It also made it impossible to create forecasts for the service life of components based on trend values.”