Stuttgart, Germany, May 07, 2010

Development, trials and test bench technology: Endurance test for the new V-engines

- 52,000 hours of test bench trials
- Seven million kilometres of test drives
- 2 million core hours of computer calculation per year

Before the new V6 and V8 engines were allowed onto the roads, they had already absolved a series of torturous trials, for example on the engine test benches of the test facility in Untertürkheim. 24 of the very latest engine test benches are installed on each floor of this imposing three-storey building. These 72 test benches are in operation by day and night, otherwise it is impossible to complete the enormous test programme to which Mercedes-Benz engineers subject all engines.

A wide range of road and load situations can be simulated on the test benches, reflecting every conceivable operating profile such as hot and cold starts, stop-and-go and long-distance driving under very varied conditions. All in all, the new V8 engines from Mercedes-Benz and their ancillary units were required to absolve 52,000 test hours, of which 27,000 were endurance runs.
In parallel with this, extensive practical trials were started in all the climatic zones of the world – in the winter cold of the Arctic and the merciless heat of Death Valley (USA), in desert sands and the thin air of Alpine regions or in tropical jungles. The programme also included fast laps on e.g. the high-speed racetracks in Nardo (Italy) and Papenburg, as well as stop-and-go driving in busy inner-city areas. All in all, the different test vehicles with the new V8 engine covered almost seven million kilometres under very varied conditions. Similar figures apply to the V6 engine.

Naturally the development process began well before these practical trials – namely on the computer screens of the development engineers. This is where the fundamental design calculations were made with the help of modern computers. All the mechanical functions were conceived and alternatives compared here, e.g. the oil and coolant circuits, the various options for intake air ducting, the charging strategy, combustion chamber geometry incl. the intake and exhaust duct, as well as the multiple injection system. All were created and calculated on-screen.

1,800 computer cores provided the necessary computing power for this development process. More than two million core hours were needed to calculate and verify all the engine functions and components for the best possible result.

Without the very latest computers, it would not have been possible to explore technical boundaries and use new processes such as multiple injection. This is because the engineers not only used this enormous computing power for design calculations, but also for the simulation and testing of all engine functions.

Finally the engineers used PCs to establish the best possible configurations for all components, so that they met precisely formulated criteria and could be approved for production of the first prototypes. After this exhaustive verification process, the first engines in the new V-engine generation from Mercedes-Benz immediately ran reliably and met all expectations on the test bench.

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