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Superbikes on the test bench

Article in MOTORRAD 08/2021 on the BMW M 1000 RR and the high (test) requirements for superbikes

‘Superbikes’ are near-production, fully enclosed high-performance racing machines with a maximum displacement of 1,000 cm³ that are based on freely available road bikes of the same model. Among others, they are used in the World Superbike Championship. To ensure that the superbikes remain close to series production, the technical freedoms are limited by the regulations. While entire subassemblies of chassis parts, brakes, tanks, and wheels can be replaced by racing parts, the degree of freedom for engines is strictly regulated. In the World Superbike Championship, for example, only camshafts, cylinder head ducts, and gear ratios may be changed. Everything else remains the same as for the production counterpart.

Due to the intensive forces acting on them, high-performance engines for racing have to meet much higher requirements than conventional machines. Higher speed mean more power and thus higher demands on load-bearing capacity. Friction losses and tolerances must be minimized. The challenge here is to build base engines that are as equivalent as possible to reduce series dispersion. As written in the article ‘Auf Hochtouren’ in MOTORRAD, issue 8/2021 (only available in German), around 100 racing engines are produced annually at the BMW plant in Berlin, which are then used by Superbike and Endurance factory teams. The production time and thus the testing of the high-performance engines are far more elaborate than for conventional motorcycles.

Testing is a linchpin in the design of racing machines

Accordingly, completely different requirements are placed on the testing and inspection of the components. Endurance runs, performance tests, meticulous analysis and evaluation of test data are a linchpin in the design of racing machines, and not just because of the strict regulations. This article provides a practical insight into the challenges involved in developing superbikes (link to PDF). To test the superbike engines, BMW uses, among other things, a PAtools TX controlled engine test bench that automatically runs through and evaluates the various test cycles. PAtools TX from KRATZER AUTOMATION is a state-of-the-art, scalable user interface that offers maximum user-friendliness and adaptability.

For more than 40 years, KRATZER AUTOMATION's highly flexible and technically mature test systems have accompanied the development and test departments of the automotive industry worldwide in their innovative new developments and specific test requirements. As the world market leader for exhaust gas turbocharger test benches and a long-standing turnkey solution provider in the field of test and development test benches, KRATZER AUTOMATION has a wealth of experience, a feel for the trends in the various industries, and the demands of customers on the market. Already since 2004, we have put a special focus on test systems for energy-saving and environmentally friendly drive concepts such as hybrid or electric drives, battery and fuel cell technology, in addition to conventional technology.

With PAtools TX, KRATZER AUTOMATION delivers a solution that meets the global industry standard for test bench automation systems for the validation of conventional and electrified powertrains. The open automation system is easily expandable to meet modern test methods both quickly and flexibly and ensures a consistent and transparent configuration of your test bench.

PAtools TX offers an ideal solution for controlling test processes for a wide range of drive concepts. Crucial attributes such as performance, stability and flexibility are continuously supplemented by new requirements such as worldwide networking, scalability, user-centricity, and cross-platform module exchange. PAtools TX can be extended with effective tools and has open interfaces with common components available on the market. Via the exclusively available EtherCat Hot-Config concept, measurement or control channels can be integrated and configured in seconds without risking a shutdown of your test bench. You get maximum flexibility!

In combination with the web-based test data and test field management system testXplorer, all individual processes in the test field are digitized and efficiently managed: from the requirement request for an initial test idea to scheduling on the test stand to evaluation and internal billing. In addition, everything is fully integrated into the customer-specific IT infrastructure!

KRATZER AUTOMATION offers you coordinated test bench solutions with sophisticated coordination between hardware and software tailored to your test requirements.