Blowing hot and cold - A spotlight on Lauda

Louise Smyth
The drive to alternative power presents OEMs with climate testing challenges. Robert Horn picks a few useful models from the current Lauda line-up that could help speed R&D.
 
The progressive development and ever greater acceptance of new solutions and drives with the aid of electricity or hydrogen pose new challenges for automobile manufacturers. An important factor in dealing with electromobility is suppliers that support established car manufacturers with their know-how. These companies provide their customers with test benches or climatic chambers to, for example, test high-voltage batteries from the module level through hybrid batteries to batteries for purely electric vehicles. In climate simulations, the components are exposed to a wide variety of conditions or accelerated ageing.

Lauda is one of these suppliers. Operating since 1956, it supplies several useful items for OEMs.

Integral T Process Thermostats

For example, the new Integral T process thermostats ensure efficient control of external temperature control processes in the temperature range from -30 to 150°C. The devices have an adjustable heating and cooling capacity and small internal volume that enables rapid temperature changes. Thanks to the open hydraulic system, the device aerates quickly and without loss of function. This makes it ideal for temperature control processes with frequent changes in user or test object.

Integral XT Process Thermostats

The extremely dynamic, high-performance Integral XT process thermostats operate with a cold oil blanket according to the flow principle and make it possible to use just one temperature control medium across the expanded temperature range from -90 to 320°C. Thanks to an electronically controlled, magnetically coupled, eight-level Lauda Vario pump, the flow rate can be optimally thermally set for the requirements of pressure-sensitive consumers, as well as applications with high hydraulic resistance. An internal bypass, another new standard feature of the XT models, also increases flexibility.

Integral thermostats offer flexible integration

To achieve a high level of quality, validated test processes in this field use a defined flow rate that must be complied with. The devices feature interfaces such as Ethernet, USB and Pt 100 as standard. Further interfaces and communication protocols can easily be added. This allows Integral thermostats to be flexibly integrated into different communication scenarios.

Process cooling units

Large-scale tests often need larger-scale temperature control. Process cooling units, often used for these tests, can cool down to -100°C and heat to 150°C. To meet the demand for future-proof refrigeration systems Lauda uses a water/glycol mixture as the temperature control medium and a single-stage schema cooling circuit. By dispensing with a cascade refrigeration system, the company can guarantee the future-proofing of the design with regard to the European F-Gas Regulation, since a refrigerant with a high GWP value is not required for the second stage.

The system must have enough power reserves to be able to guarantee precise control even at limit temperatures down to -40°C. Each individual process cooling unit must be precisely tailored, since water/glycol mixtures begin to freeze at temperatures around -45°C (depending on the concentration). Process cooling units such as these can also be equipped to automatically fill and drain the test specimen to facilitate the processes of the customer.

Automatic filling and drainage

Additionally, the unit has also been designed to automatically fill and drain the entire system. This supports companies that deal with a wide range of customer-specific temperature control media for the test procedures without cumbersome manual filling and draining - a massive time saving for the service provider.

Robert Horn is with Lauda