Testing and Validation

PWR is well equipped to undertake a broad range of in-house testing to satisfy stringent customer requirements whilst maintaining the shortest production turnaround time possible. Rigorous testing procedures follow the entire production cycle through every step, from the acquisition of raw materials to the design and manufacturing of final products ready for delivery. PWR have acquired a substantial library of test equipment over the years. From handheld test gauges, to Computation Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software, to the largest Wind Tunnel and industrial size Computed Tomography (CT) scanner in the Southern Hemisphere. Due to the uniqueness of products and processes, PWR also continuously evolve their own array of internally designed bespoke test equipment to support and fulfill rigid requirements of their customers.

To ensure utmost quality and shortest lead-times are maintained consistently across all products, PWR’s supply chain together with their own strict manufacturing processes, are constantly being assessed at every step of the production cycle. PWR Trained Quality Inspectors and Engineers utilize various test equipment such as XRF scanner to verify the composition of raw materials; surface roughness gauge to confirm surface finish of machined parts; Rockwell hardness tester to validate heat treatment processes; and surface coating thickness gauge to verify and validate passivated and anodised parts and assemblies.

PWR manufactured subcomponents are tested inhouse prior to assembly. This helps reduce downtime, waste, and reworking. For example, PWR manufacture their own air-fin and internal tube turbulators from raw aluminium coil material, ranging in thicknesses from 0.06mm to over 1.0mm. It is imperative to verify the formed component prior to assembly and brazing. PWR have designed and built their own dedicated turbulator test rig to help measure and maintain consistency across all repeated production runs. From prototyping to final production, consistency in pressure drop and thermal performance can be guaranteed.

Where PWR’s testing capabilities really accel and what differentiates PWR amongst its competitors, is the ability to test and verify final product performance, not only for internal research and development programs, but also for customers and end-users alike. Whether designed and manufactured by PWR, or competitor parts for benchmarking, PWR have the ability to test and measure a range of coolers against a series of performance criteria all under one roof. Data obtained from PWR’s Wind Tunnel for example (heat rejection vs pressure drop) has proven to be invaluable for customers in the motorsport (Formula1, Nascar, DTM, WRC, MotoGP, etc) and aerospace arena, assisting them with the development of their own products and predictive models as well as keeping PWR ahead of the field. Coolers may be tested against a number of boundary conditions using standard fluids in PWR’s inventory, or customers’ own supplied specialty fluids. Temperatures and pressures ranging up to 300°C and 550 kPa(G) are commonly seen in the Wind Tunnel while testing Formula1 charge-air coolers for example. Durability (cyclic) testing is another service offered by PWR to prove product quality and expected service life.

Whilst traditional coolers (water-air, oil-air & air-air) are still the most common types of coolers tested at PWR, recent trends in global electrification have led to PWR extending their manufacturing and testing capabilities in the area of non-traditional coolers such as cold plates. Used extensively in the cooling of electrical power storage, power conversion and power generation modules, cold plates are in increasing demand. PWR’s bespoke cold plate test rig enables the designer to verify prototype performance prior to commissioning a full production run. The test rig is designed to measure surface temperatures of heat input modules and cold plate assemblies for various loads (constant heat flux) and various cooling fluid flow rates.

Weighing approximately 32 tonne, PWR’s largest investment to date in a single piece of test equipment occurred with the purchase of one Yxlon FF85 CT scanner. With an inspection envelope of 1000mm height x 850mm diameter, parts as big as 2000mm height x 1500mm diameter may be interrogated layer by layer with full 360° rotation. Having up to 450 kV electrical potential, 320 W of tube power and with a focal spot size of less than 6µm, this instrument gives PWR full insight into weld penetration, inclusions, and porosity, braze quality, internal product features and geometry that would otherwise be unknown without destruction. Used primarily for research & development and quality assurance, this CT scanner opens-up a multitude of potential for further product development and non-destructive testing at PWR and for external partners and research institutions.

Other testing capabilities at PWR include pressure testing of individual cores prior to tanking and of final assemblies post welding; leak-down testing of final assemblies (with air or helium) and hydraulic burst testing up to 7000 kPa(G), including automated hydraulic cyclic testing. PWR have also recently increased their capacity to flow test up to 10 radiators (in parallel) in response to the ever-increasing demand and production requirements.

Being able to perform all these tests in-house, means customers can expect the shortest lead-time between prototyping and final product delivery whilst maintaining the highest quality PWR are known for.