With emissions regulations set to ratchet up a notch in China, Europe and North America, manufacturers are hard-pressed to optimize every engine component and function to cost effectively meet the new demands.

Although engines that are under development have always been tested to ensure they meet the most stringent quality requirements in terms of materials, emissions and efficiency, there’s a renewed focus on detailed development to unlock performance that may have previously been overlooked.

In order to do this, every time an engine is run on a test bench all the variables influencing emissions and performance have to be monitored and measured to understand their individual performance as well as how they function as part of the overall system.

This requires highly dependable, precise measuring equipment that delivers accurate readings under the extreme conditions encountered in and around the engine. Sensors of this quality and accuracy are manufactured by only a handful of suppliers around the world, which are standing out for the ability to customize quality pressure sensors to the customer’s requirements.

Pressure sensors are key to eliminating inefficiencies

STS have developed pressure sensors that meet OEM, first tier and specialist engine designers’ requirements in engine development. Using these sensors customers carry out development and design work that focuses primarily on reducing exhaust emissions and achieving a high power density, low fuel consumption, long service life and maximum reliability.

Because an engine’s efficiency depends largely on airflow and charge density into the combustion chamber and how the exhaust gases are either used to enhance the engine’s torque, by way of a turbocharger, or are able to be discharged efficiently, accurately mapping key pressure regions is critical. These pressures are often of the order of millibars, requiring extremely accurate and highly dynamic measurement.

Furthermore to obtain a reliable analysis of pressure distribution within the inlet manifold, it is important to take inlet pressure measurements as close as possible to each inlet valve. This is to accommodate the varying geometry of the manifold which often results in each cylinder being supplied with a different amount of air, which negatively impacts both performance and emissions.

When determining the performance of the exhaust system, pressure measurement becomes quite complex, as not only does the performance of the exhaust rely on pressure but also the interaction of the exhaust-gas pulses due to the engine’s firing order. STS pressure sensors are capable of measuring these processes on both the inlet and outlet sides with a high level of accuracy.

Robust sensors must remain accurate in a hostile environment

In the test environment the sensors must be resistant to the chemicals and oils associated with engines, and be able to accurately measure pressures in extreme temperatures. Moreover, the sensors need to operate reliably and not be affected by vibration or voltage fluctuations.

STS’ range of sensors also allows customers to take measurements in critical systems such as oil, fuel and water pumps, injector lines, intercoolers, and heat exchangers. All of which are vital in optimizing engine efficiency.

So although customers and regulators are increasing the demands for cleaner and better performing engines, OEMs and suppliers are well equipped to stretch the envelope and even exceed expectations.

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