12 December 2023

Helical Technology’s New 2MW Gas Engine Test Bench

Helical Technology proudly introduces its state-of-the-art 2MW gas engine test bench, operational since October 2022. This advanced facility focuses on developing CNG-powered genset engines.

Helical Technical Centre 2MW Gas Engine Test Bench

Warton Technical Centre: A Hub of Innovation

Helical’s Warton Technical Centre was originally built in the late 1990s as an R&D test centre for passenger car exhaust system design and development. Helical who supply components to major OEMs in passenger car, commercial, off-road, rail and marine sectors, acquired the site in 2012. This provided support for growing its valve rotator, actuator and exhaust valve divisions. The Technical Centre not only meets Helical’s core business testing demands but also provides facilities to support external customers’ testing requirements.

2MW Gas Engine Test Bench

In just two years Helical transformed an empty plot to an operational 2MW gas engine test bench. This demonstrates Helical’s ability to rapidly respond to opportunities and deliver high-quality test facilities to meet our customers’ exacting standards.

The new facility includes a CNG storage and pressure reduction station to supply natural gas to the test cell at adjustable temperature and pressure.  Recently this capacity has been expanded by 40% and a new heating system was installed to improve our capabilities.  

At Helical we pride ourselves on building good customer relationships and collaborate closely from design to commissioning to meet the specific demands of the client.

Advanced Test Facilities

Our test work required a wide range of instrumentation. This included expandable modules for 64 temperature and 40 pressure channels, 9 flowmeters and the most recent addition of a Horiba Mexa emissions analyser.

Working closely with testing and emissions specialist Horiba, we set up the STARS test bed automation system, Schenck D2100 water brake dynamometer and SPARC dyno controller. This allowed us to provide effective control to meet the customer’s requirements for the test cell. CAN communication between the test bed and engine control system was also used to further expand the data acquisition capability.

Helical’s test facility operations now range from small displacement single-cylinder engines to the 2MW bench. The site also houses:

  • 12 engine test cells
  • 2 semi-anechoic chambers
  • vehicle semi-anechoic chamber with 2WD chassis dyno
  • shaker vibrator systems with various types of climatic test chambers
  • natural gas burner test stands
  • drive-by noise test track. 

Helical will continue the develop Warton Technical Centre next year by adding a further high flow natural gas burner test stand. This will provide testing capacity to Helical Technology’s Exhaust Flap Valve division that supplies exhaust flap valves to high performance OEM vehicles. The burner test stand will also be available for external customers to hire.

Future Testing Capabilities

Helical’s Technical Centre has been supporting the development and build of Helical’s fully electric supercar based on Helical’s TR Speed 12 Turbo. A traditional ICE test cell will be modified to accommodate the electric drive unit providing a test facility to aid development.  The battery cells, module and pack for the electric supercar are also in development using the Technical Centre’s facilities and expertise.