Specialty & Driveline Fluid Evaluations
The Specialty and Driveline Fluid Evaluations Section in the Fuels and Lubricants Research Division at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) conducts standardized and specialized test programs on specialty fluids (gear oils, transmission fluid, tractor hydraulic fluids, and industrial hydraulic fluids). Test programs are also conducted on the components that use these fluids.
The Specialty and Driveline Fluid Evaluations Section conducts key tests in the following lubricant performance specifications or OEM fluid requirements. Gear oils: GL-4, GL-5, MT-1, and SAE J2360. Tractor hydraulic fluids: John Deere and New Holland. Industrial hydraulic fluids: Eaton, Denison, Komatsu, Vickers, and Rexroth.
Matt Jackson, Manager
In addition to conducting standardized tests for lubricant performance specification, the section also offers specialized test programs to evaluate fluids or lubricated components. Examples of this type of testing include a hydraulic test rig capable of performing fluid and hardware efficiency evaluations. The stand is driven by a 200-hp variable speed electric motor and can measure main loop flow and drive torque to a high degree of accuracy using high precision sensors.
Standardized evaluations, specialized evaluations, and qualification tests on automatic transmission fluids, heavy-duty automatic transmission fluids, and drivetrain fluids are also conducted. Specifications include General Motors DEXRON-VI®, Ford Motor Company MERCON V®, Allison Transmission TES 228 (C-4), Allison TES 295, Allison TES 389, and Caterpillar TO-4.
An example of the Specialty and Driveline Fluid Evaluations Section’s tractor testing capability is the universal tractor axle dynamometer. This dynamometer was designed for testing agricultural or industrial tractors under controlled conditions. The dynamometer easily adjusts to accommodate different makes and models of tractors. The maximum torque load that can be applied is in excess of 66,656 lbs-ft (90,379 Nm). The torque is controlled independently for each wheel by a microprocessor-based process controller. Data acquisition is also available. This equipment has been used successfully to perform drive train endurance and clutch life tests.
SwRI has an axle efficiency test stand that measures overall axle efficiency according to industry-recognized test procedures. A typical efficiency test will measure efficiency at different oil temperatures, loads, and vehicle speeds. The test is useful for studying the effect of improved gear lubricants and of improved axle designs.
Specialized test stands have been developed to support development and product qualification testing of on and off-highway equipment. Typical test set-ups are designed to evaluate transmissions, hydraulic system components, clutches, and final drives. Depending on the complexity and scope of the project, test stands can be completed in weeks or even days.
When client needs dictate, the laboratory is staffed 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week by trained technicians who monitor test conditions and record critical parameters hourly. SwRI technician also diagnose and repair the items under test, if the client so desires.
For tests conducted on and off site, the section offers component rating services to assist clients in quantifying the durability, dependability, and longevity of their products. Raters trained in CRC rating methodology can provide a rapid response to client needs for rating services, even when travel to remote locations is needed. Some of the rating services available are on cars, trucks, buses, tractors, earth-moving equipment, snowmobiles, boats, ships, locomotives, large machinery, industrial service equipment, lawn and garden equipment, and specialized mechanical applications.
Specialty & Driveline Fluid Evaluations Technical Strengths
- Gear oil, hydraulic fluids, and automotive
- Automatic transmission fluids, cycling,
friction, wear, and oxidation performance
- Tractor hydraulic fluids and tractor testing
- Specialized test programs
- Specialized evaluations