ENGINE CONTROL

engine control unit

 

Pi Innovo’s customer engagements range from serving as a key member of large OEM’s production implementation teams to independently supplying all aspects of an engine management system. This combination of large OEM production experience and the ability to act as a nimble partner for niche applications has engrained an adaptive approach in everything we do making Pi Innovo an ideal partner for a broad range of customers. Pi Innovo’s experienced engineering team understands internal combustion (IC) engine control requires deep knowledge of the engine hardware, thermodynamic principles, sensors, and actuators. This understanding has been incorporated in our CRD, PFI, and GDI engine control strategies. These strategies can be used when developing a new engine control unit or when there is a need to modify engine control characteristics and there is no access to a production development controller.

Pi’s heritage began with common rail diesel engine control unit. Starting with the DDEC III for Detroit Diesel Corporation and continuing through six generations of heavy truck engines, Pi supported all aspects of diesel engine control development. From initial requirements definition to architecture selection to algorithm / controls / production software development, Pi worked in partnership with DDC and Motorola (hardware) to develop a world class system.

Well over 500,000 units of the first, highly successful DDEC III product have shipped since it was launched in 1994 on the DDC Series 60 (class 8) truck engines. This ECU and successive generations have proven flexible enough to be used on heavy-duty trucks, stationary engines, locomotives, off-highway vehicles and marine applications, with a proven one million mile durability capability.

Following the initial DDC engagement, in parallel with ongoing DDC support activities, Pi provided systems and software engineering resources to serve as an integrated part of the team developing the controls and software for Ford’s Puma production passenger car diesel engine. The expertise provided by Pi included:

  • Designing engine control unit strategies including the diesel pump communications interface and coolant temperature management
  • Developing diagnostic monitors for all I/O comprehensive components to meet E-OBD requirements
  • Emissions functions such as EGR control
  • Support of software and system DVP activities including the use of S.A.S.D. (Structured Analysis Structured Design)
  • High level functional testing of the software on engine simulator and Hardware-in-loop (HiL) test benches.
  • Many of the OBD features, including misfire detection, EGR flow tests, injector/pump fault detection and other I/O monitors
  • Various adaptive learning features for the fuel pump and pilot injections

Pi Innovo performed the full development of the 5 cylinder engine variant, including novel algorithms, to manage the fuel quantity delivered in the face of fuel pressure variations in the common fuel rail.

  • Developed initial architecture concepts
  • Wrote prototype code to evaluate and test
  • Developed to meet production requirements
  • Coded the final version into production system.

Much of the learning and experience gained by working on these and other high volume production and prototype programs has been leveraged in the creation of Pi Innovo’s CRD Engine Control Strategies. These strategies are an invaluable tool in the development process for a wide range of vehicle systems and components. Almost any type of engine can be rapidly equipped with a control ECU that gives unprecedented modification access to all the advanced control system algorithms. This capability is essential when developing new engine management systems and also when evaluating changes to engine and emissions components.

Pi Innovo is currently using these strategies and our OpenECU platform to support customers interested in developing their own engine management capability. The combination of Pi Innovo engineering, OpenECU HW and SW, engine control strategies and custom electronics design / development capability makes Pi an ideal partner for an OEM looking to grow internal capability. We will structure an engagement so that the customer will own the intellectual property and control the ability for future developments.

When it came time to select a controller to perform advanced GDI engine control research, the highly experienced engineers at the US EPA choose Pi Innovo’s M670 OpenECU and use our GDI Engine Control Strategies.
The GDI strategies are an extension of the OpenECU Gasoline strategy, with the following notable differences:

  • Fuel pressure controls, for the electronically-variable mechanical high pressure GDI fuel pump.
  • Facility for multiple injections per firing.

The GDI fuel pump is unique compared to port-fuel-injected gasoline, because it is driven by a set of lobes on the camshaft, and its flow control valve must be actuated synchronously with the camshaft position. This results in fast response of the pump to achieve the target fuel pressure, allowing the user to vary the fuel pressure widely over the different engine operating conditions (typically from 25 to 150 bar fuel pressure). With GDI, fuel pressure therefore becomes an additional tool that calibrators can use to achieve conflicting performance goals, such as light-load fuel dose accuracy, or peak output fuel dose quantity.

These strategies are an invaluable tool in the development process for a wide range of vehicle systems and components. Almost any type of GDI engine can be rapidly equipped with an engine control unit that gives unprecedented modification access to all the advanced control system algorithms. This capability is essential when developing new engine management systems, and when evaluating changes to engine and emissions components.

Pi Innovo is currently using these strategies with our OpenECU platform to support customers interested in developing their own engine management capability. The combination of Pi Innovo engineering, OpenECU HW and SW, engine control strategies and custom electronics design / development capability makes Pi an ideal partner for any OEM looking to grow internal capability. Pi will structure an engagement so that the customer will own the intellectual property and control the ability for future developments.

Pi Innovo has been involved in a variety of gasoline engine control production and prototype development activities.  In 2005, Pi was awarded the opportunity to provide the ECU and engine control software for the South African Volkswagen Citi-Golf. This was one of our first high volume production programs and replaced the existing production Bosch ECU.  The system had to meet Euro-II emissions while accommodating South African variations in fuel quality.  Driveability and performance needed to meet the high standards of a VW passenger car, covering  three different engine power outputs.  Software functionality from OpenECU engine control was ported to the Citi-Golf ECU and calibrated in conjunction with VW engineers.

gasoline engine control unit

New features include:

  • Closed loop fuel
  • HEGO heater control
  • Adaptive fuel canister purge
  • Catalyst heating and protection

Particular attention was given to the knock control system due to the fuel variations. The software included an adaptive knock algorithm that successfully mitigated the variation in fuel quality.

Ongoing long-running programs include high performance V8 and V12 gasoline engines for Aston Martin.  Pi Innovo personnel function as an integral part of the Aston Martin powertrain development team.

High Performance Engine Management

For over 10 years Pi Innovo has been the chosen partner of Aston Martin for high performance engine management systems (EMS), working closely with their powertrain and calibration team on the EMS hardware specification and system control strategy requirements for the 4.3 liter V8 and 6.0 liter V12 engines.

The expertise provided by Pi included:

  • Electronic Throttle Control/Accel/Pedal-demand
  • Spark Knock Control
  • Shift by Wire
  • Neutral Net Misfire Monitor
  • Torque Control
  • Diagnostic Module Tank Leakage (EVAP)
  • Electronic Throttle Internal Plausibility Control
  • Inlet Air Temperature Rationality Test
  • MY2010 OBD
    • New PCM support
    • Permanent DTCs
    • Engine Off Timer
    • Thermostat Monitor
    • Revised EGO Monitor
    • VCT Mode 6

Pi Innovo‘s control strategies pioneered the introduction of drive-by-wire and On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) technologies. The partnership has continued along a path of continuous improvement that has maintained the superior performance for which Aston Martin are justly famous.

case-study-aston-martin

Much of the learning and experience gained by working on these and other high volume production and prototype programs has been leveraged in the creation of Pi Innovo’s Gasoline Engine Control Strategies. These strategies are an invaluable tool in the development process for a wide range of vehicle systems and components. Almost any type of gasoline engine can be rapidly equipped with a control ECU that gives exceptional modification access to all the advanced control system algorithms. This capability is essential when developing new engine management systems and when evaluating changes to engine and emissions components.

Pi Innovo is currently using these strategies with our OpenECU platform to support customers wishing to  develop their own engine management capability.  The combination of Pi Innovo engineering, OpenECU HW and SW, engine control strategies and custom electronics design / development capability makes Pi an ideal partner for an OEM looking to grow internal capability.  We will structure an engagement where the customer will own the intellectual property and control the ability for future developments.

Large Stationary Engine Controls Development

Pi Innovo was engaged by Waukesha Engine Dresser (WED) to design and develop engine control hardware and software for a large stationary natural-gas powered engine used in the oil and gas industry. This engine is used in harsh environments and must run round-the-clock, making durability and reliability essential features of the engine control system. Pi Innovo designed a custom ECU and created the control software, including diagnostics and data acquisition and reporting features to enable remote monitoring of engine performance and operational health. Due to the size of the engine, the ECU was also required to double as a step for workers to use when tending to the engines.

Waukeshaw

Throughout many engine and aftertreatment control programs, Pi Innovo has had to support the ever more stringent OBD requirements driven by governmental regulations. While our engineering team is experienced in supporting customers with application specific monitor development, we use our OBD Infrastructure software product to guide ECU developers through the complex process of implementing on-board diagnostics, particularly where compliance with CARB, EPA and European emissions legislation is required. OBD legislation precisely defines how the fault and associated information should be stored and reported using defined constructs and communication protocols. Systems engineers can now focus on their area of expertise by defining specific tests and fault detection criteria. The OBD Infrastructure software will take care of the complexities of managing fault handling on any system and meeting mandatory specifications when required.

Lycoming Engines needed to add cost-effective electronic controls to their engines to continue their market leadership position and proactively prepare for future environmental legislation.

The rarity of electronic controls in the general aviation engine market provided an opportunity for Lycoming to stay ahead of competition. Knowing they needed a specialist electronic controller but not having sufficient in-house experience, Lycoming engaged in an ongoing collaboration with Pi Innovo that now exceeds 10 years. Through activities including embedded software development, system safety analysis, engine testing and system design review, Pi Innovo has collaborated with Lycoming to refine their requirements and control strategies to support development and certification of their production aviation engine controller.

Lycoming engine

Internal combustion engines (ICE) used in hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) typically have different control requirements than conventional applications. One of the main advantages of HEVs is flexibility in the choice of engine operating points, which allow the engine to be run in its high efficiency region. It is also possible to downsize the ICE to obtain a higher average efficiency. These benefits, coupled with the fact that the engine can be turned off when the vehicle is stopped (e.g., at traffic lights) or the power request is very low (reduction of the idle losses), can result in significantly reduced fuel consumption. Actual benefits are contingent on drive cycles with start / stop conditions, typically resulting in the greatest benefit.

The OpenECU platform is ideal for developing hybrid vehicle engine controls. The same proven hardware can be used in low to intermediate volume production. The MATLAB®/Simulink® compatible software development toolchain coupled with Pi Innovo’s engine control strategies enable efficient controls development. For high volume applications, when proof of concept has been achieved, the open reusable technology enables us to rapidly develop a custom ECU from a standard prototype platform and take it to production.