Mahle - ACL Dynamometer Facilities Relocation Project

Dec 12, 2013


Project Name:  Mahle - ACL Dynamometer Facilities Relocation Project

Project Duration:   2004


The dynamometer facility relocation for Mahle-ACL consisted of the disassembly of the workshop electrical systems, Dynamometer Cell controls, fire systems and associated plant (Chiller & Cooling systems) at the Maidstone facility.

Guidelines from our client requested the reuse of as much of the original equipment from the Maidstone facility to reduce costs while ensuring correct reliable operation.


As there was no detailed specification, the new plant was based solely on client comments.  The design and implementation was based on a client "wish list" brought to fruition by the vast knowledge of ATS and included:-

  • The reinstallation of the dynamometer cells, workshop, fire system, chiller & cooling systems
  • Tthe design, manufacture and installation of a new plant control system
  • Commissioning at the new Mahle-ACL test facility in Laverton.


This was a complex project requiring the integration of many systems.


The Dynamometer is the centre of the whole system as it is used to apply various loads to the engine under test.  The resulting data is recorded and then evaluated to ascertain the reliability and effectiveness of the piston and ancillary parts to ensure QA compliance to the exacting standards of Ford, Holden Mitsubishi and other leading automotive manufacturers.
The Dyn test cells were disconnected and reconnected at the new site with some minor modifications as most of the upgrade of the actual dynamometers had been carried out by ATS on a previous project.


The Ricardo Dyn control systems on cells 1 & 2 are used as a control and monitoring interface to the engine under test.
The new control system has now interfaced safety and functional control between the Plant and the Ricardo system which was not previously possible.



Due to the existing plant controls being outdated they were replaced with a PLC and SCADA combination. The PLC now controls all ancillary equipment:

  • Dynamometer Water Pumps
  • Glycol Chiller
  • Cooling Tower
  • Evaporative  Coolers
  • Extraction Fans
  • Fuel Pumps
  • Cell Alarms
  • Fire & Gas Shut Downs / Fire Dampers / Switchboard  Shunts



The old plant control system which used push buttons as a method of control was replaced with a graphical front end utilising Citect SCADA  and a panel PC with touch screen capabilities. This allows simple direct control, monitoring and alarm annunciation of plant equipment without the need to access the roof area.

Individual control of each test cell is possible from the touch screen, giving instant control over cell cooling, extraction and dyn water supply, and control of the Glycol chiller is also available from the screen. Setpoint adjustment, Start / Stop and control of the external glycol valve are all possible, and fuel pump control and fuel pressure monitoring is at the staff’s figure tips.   This functionality had not be previously possible.


Fire Protection

The existing FM200 gas system was upgraded due to the increased cell size. This included new gas bottles, pipe work, isolation stations and  flame detection.
The fire / gas monitoring alarm panel has also been integrated into the plant controls enabling shut downs according to the alarm status. It has also been linked to the main facility fire system, providing brigade call functionality from the main fire system panel.


Gas Detection

The test facility had to provide for the future testings of engines running LPG and therefore a new gas detection system was installed.   This system has been linked to the plant control system to enable cell DB shunt trip shutdown, the automatic starting of the ventilation system and warning signals.


Glycol Chiller

The Glycol Chiller at the Maidstone site had no remote control functionality. With it now being installed on the roof the staff required operational control from within the test area.

The chiller controls were modified to enable the new system to control and monitor its operation from the touch screen and the Ricardo system.  Setpoint adjustment, Start / Stop and control of the external glycol valve are all possible from the SCADA system.   This includes the future control from cell 1 & 3 Ricardo systems

Dyn Water

The cooling tower is used to cool the water that is pumped through the dynamometers.  The cooling plant control system has been upgraded and is now controlled and monitored via the SCADA system.
Temperature setpoint adjustment, Start / Stop and automatic water cycling for chemical dosing. High and low level alarms on both hot & cold underground tanks.


All 3 cells require the removal of vapours and heat during testing and each cell has an extraction fan and an evaporative cooler.
We can control and monitor their operation including the monitoring of air flow in the extraction system and the opening of fire dampers.

In the event of a fire alarm we shut down the ventilation system and close the dampers to ensure the FM200 Gas system will achieve the correct soak levels to put out the fire.
The system will also open the dampers and start the system when an alarm is generated by the Gas Detection system



A Class 1, Zone 1 area was classified by the client for the fuel pumping area which required replacement of old pressure switches, motors and isolators.   For monitoring and control purposes intrinsically safe pressure transducers and liquid detection (required to sense any leakages) was added to the  petrol pump area.

Additional Works

  • The Disconnection and reconnection of the dyn facilities workshop.
  • The installation of general ventilation equipment at the new site.
  • Major modifications to the new test facilities switchboard to accommodate three load centres with shunt trip functionality.


Overall, the relocation was a great success for all concerned.   The project, without a detailed specification, has exceeded the clients expectations due to the ease of control and monitoring of the facility.

To have taken old, antiquated equipment from the Maidstone site and turned it into a fully functional test facility at Laverton, is a credit to the effort put in by all ATS tradespeople.

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