Torquemeters Designs Test Rig For University of Nottingham Aerospace Research

Innovative variable-speed turnkey test rig with a wide performance envelope and integrated data acquisition & control system.

The University of Nottingham had a requirement for the design and manufacture of a test-bed with 4-quadrant loading capability for research and development testing of high speed aerospace starter-generators. The test system was rated to a minimum of 150kW at 35,000rpm and had to deliver performance over several operating points to provide optimum flexibility.

Torquemeters designed, manufactured, installed and commissioned a 150kW full 4-quadrant test-rig for accurately testing a variety of different starter / generator test-articles for research in the aerospace industry. The key system elements comprised a Variable Frequency Drive (VFD), an AC induction motor to act as both a driver and absorber, a multiple-output parallel-shaft gearbox, lubrication system, an in-line phase-shift ET1303 Torquemeter, high-speed low-mass couplings and a rig health monitoring system which included control of the motor. All components, bar the VFD and lubrication system, were mounted on a base frame designed by Torquemeters.

One of the key components of the installed test-rig was the Torquemeters-designed multiple output gearbox. The gearbox has three output shafts; two speed-increasing outputs and a third straight-through output (to match the speed of the AC Dyno). The multiple outputs deliver three performance envelopes giving maximum flexibility for testing and characterising of the test-article. All outputs are rated at 150kW with maximum output speeds of 5,700, 17,700 and 35,000rpm.

As a high-level of accuracy was required our own ET1303 Torquemeter (max. speed 36,000rpm / max. torque 300Nm) was selected. This model has an absolute measurement accuracy of 0.1% full-scale, as do all ET Torquemeters.

On the two high-speed gearbox outputs Torquemeters own Tordisc diaphragm couplings were used. These are extremely lightweight, low-overhung mass couplings to maximise the bearing life of the machines that they are installed between.

The test-bed mounting frame had a high-precision mounting system to allow for both repeatable and accurate mounting of various test-articles and a traverse system to switch quickly and accurately between the three gearbox outputs.

Key features of the installations include;

  • Complete test-rig system
  • In-Line Torque measurement device
  • Multiple torsion shafts for optimum accuracy at different application ratings
  • Multiple output gearbox
  • Very light-weight low mass overhang Tordisc Couplings
  • Multi-purpose flexible test-cell
  • Easy, repeatable installation and alignment of the test-article
  • Accurate torque measurement
  • Numerous performance envelopes

Coronavirus Update - 1st July 2021

Torquemeters Ltd is committed to maintaining its usual high level of service and support whilst operating a safe and socially-distanced environment for all our staff & customers. We appreciate your understanding that, in following UK Government advice on Covid-19, we may be restricted from undertaking certain service activities but we will in these cases try to assist in so far as we are able. Our staff are available via the usual email or telephone contacts and your account manager can be contacted in the first instance for anything that you need support with.Geoff Robinson | Director | Torquemeters Ltd