Insights from industry

Temperature and Pressure Measurement Solutions for Automotive Applications


In this interview, Steve Houlston and Dieter Bengel from Omega Engineering talk to AZoM about their range of solutions that can solve most automotive needs.

Please tell us a bit about Omega and the work you do?

Omega has a track record of providing state of the art sensors and measurement instrumentation for the automotive industry.

With vast experience and knowledge in industrial applications and high-quality measuring instruments, Omega’s comprehensive range of sensors and measuring instruments are used every day in countless automotive applications around the world.

What technical challenges are faced when measuring temperature at multiple positions in automotive testing? What products can Omega offer to overcome these technical challenges.

Omega’s products are mostly used in test cars and the main challenge with these applications are;

  • operating temperature ranges of -20…+70°C,
  • lack of space
  • high electromagnetic compatibility,
  • high accuracy,
  • fast response time and resistance to vibrations.

It is also a challenge to fix the thermocouples without any mechanical modification of the measured components. With various solutions such as wire thermocouples, self-adhesive thermocouples, compact transition junction thermocouples and surface thermocouples, Omega can help over-come these challenges.

Thermocouples are used to measure temperatures at multiple points such as the engine, cooler, air condition and inside the car. A test cars temperature will be measured at 150 different points.

Thermocouples will be connected via shielded extension cables to the data acquisition system. Omega developed a very thin shielded thermocouple extension cable to ensure that this shielded cable prevents the usually high electromagnetic interference in cars from distorting the measurement results. The small diameter of 2.4 mm dramatically reduces the space that is required for these extension cable bundles.

Formula 1 and other auto sports require high performance brake temperature measurement. Why? What Omega products can help?

The brake disks of auto sport vehicles are made of a composite material reinforced with carbon fibre and the temperature of the brake disks can vary between 400 and 1000 degrees.

The challenge with these carbon brakes is they need a minimum temperature of several hundred degrees to work properly.

In Formula One applications, the heat will transfer to other parts of the brakes so we need to make sure that we do not conduct heat away from the body of the brake.

To prevent this the Pt1000 sensor will be assembled directly into the body of the brake. With its small dimensions, the sensor is small enough to fit and does not conduct the heat away.

Omega has designed specific solutions for brake system components and brake temperature measurement. Omega’s Pt1000 Pipe Plug Sensor can be screwed into the caliper of a car and will measure temperatures extremely accurately.

The Pt1000 Pipe Plug Sensor can endure temperatures of over 680°C where conditions of high shock and vibration are prevalent.

Digital Storm/ShutterStock

What impact can excessive temperatures have on the turbo charger of a car? Which Omega solutions can prevent this?

A challenge within normal cars is making sure you do not over heat the turbo charger otherwise you will destroy it. Temperatures up to 1200°C, an extremely long lifetime and the required fast response time are some of the challenges for temperature measurement.  

To help deal with this, Omega temperature probes are made of XL-N-MO 4.5MM-SLE mineral insulated cable with XL sheath which can measure the temperature in the turbo charger.

The car manufacturer can then protect the turbo charger from high temperatures.

The reduced diameter of the tip makes sure that the temperature probe will react faster than a standard probe and without conducting heat away.

This allows the temperature probe to have a fast response time. The lifetime of the probe is planned for the functional life of the car.

What non-contact solutions does Omega offer for non-contact testing in automotive applications?

Omega offers a range of thermal cameras, infrared transmitters and infrared guns suitable for non-contact measurement.

The OS730K unit has a type K thermocouple input and a temperature range of -50°C to 800°C, it is perfect for temperature monitoring in automotive applications.

The OS540 Infrared Thermometer gun series is a new portable, low cost solution for non-contact temperature measurement.

What are the consequences if the disk brakes were overheated?

It is often difficult to measure the temperature on a polished surface such as a disk brake and it is important that we don’t over heat the disk brakes. It can be very dangerous to overheat the temperature of the disk brakes. The brakes will use up the fluid a lot quicker.

Overheating the brakes can also lead to brake fade, which is caused by the build-up of heat in the braking surfaces. Loss of stopping power, or fade, can be caused by friction fade, mechanical fade, or fluid fade.

Once the temperature rises above the normal operating temperature, you will get brake fade and the brakes will become less efficient and this can be very dangerous for the user of the car.

Can you tell us a bit about the pressure transducers and how they measure fuel injection pressure? What technical challenges does this solve?

About 99.9% of Omega’s pressure products are used in R&D for the automotive industry, from the engines, to measuring coolants, measuring pressure or being used within the car.

With new fuel injection systems, they use one pump, usually quite close to where the fuel tank is, which then pumps the fuel up through to where the engine is.

Then there is another pump at the back end of that which then pumps it back to the fuel tank itself.

Our customers are trying different situations and variations by increasing or decreasing the pump speeds. They then use our pressure transducers to get an insight into what pressure the pumps are generating when they are pumping fuel into the cylinders.

Omega pressure transducers are used for fine tuning and helping the R&D process. When you go into a garage for a diagnostic on the fuel injection system, you will see lots of pressure gauges. We aren’t in that game.

What we provide is pressure transducer with good accuracy, repeatability and a good response time so that the user can get good data as they change the engine speed to make sure the fuel is being used efficiently.

How can you measure automotive oil and water temperature? Why is it important to select the correct sensor?

Automotive companies don’t like to make many modifications to a test car so it is important that you select the correct sensor. When you drill into a car, you need solutions that are extremely easy to assemble the sensors in the car without making too many modifications.

Why should a customer choose Omega’s solutions for their automotive needs?

Omega can adapt their own equipment and products to fit the customer’s needs. We listen to what the customer’s requirements are and help them develop a test to get what they want.

We are flexible. We have wide variety of products and there are other solutions such as strain gauges and humidity readers that are also used in the automotive industry. We carry a broad range of technologies that can fit into the automotive value chain.

Where can our readers go to find out more?

To find out more please visit https://www.omega.co.uk/

About Steve Houlston and Dieter Bengel

Dieter Bengel Dieter has been the managing director of OMEGA Engineering GmbH since April 2004.

Steve Houlsto

Steve Houlston is Senior Sales Engineer at Omega Engineering ltd since June 2006.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited (T/A) AZoNetwork, the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of use of this website.

Mychealla Rice

Written by

Mychealla Rice

Mychealla graduated from Northumbria University in Newcastle with a 2:1 in Journalism with English Literature. Mychealla is a keen traveller, spending time in Australia, Thailand and Italy. Mychealla plans to see more of Europe in the future. Mychealla’s interests include photography and music. In her spare time, she likes to go shopping and visit family and friends back in Ireland.

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