John Deere ensures engine reliability with global NVH tools


Machinery manufacturer John Deere has improved the design processes of its engines with Pulse Reflex analysis software. The company’s engines are used for many different applications, such as harvesting forests, digging foundations or propelling ships – and as each application places unique stresses on the engine-mounted components, the noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) team must anticipate thousands of variables to meet the demands of the real world.

At John Deere’s Product Engineering Facility in Waterloo, Iowa, USA, designers create new components using CAE programs. Prototype testing is also essential to reduce design risks by checking for any durability issues in the real world of mud, workers and random events.

In one case, John Deere’s European NVH team noticed interesting behavior in a physical prototype during a specific application. “We also noticed this issue in our US-based engine model and we wanted to correlate and see exactly why that was,” said USA senior NVH analysis engineer, Kristie Iverson.

Conducting comparable testing across two continents was challenging, as there are so many variables that people can select, such as software settings and test approaches. By using Pulse Reflex, it was easy for the NVH teams to share and standardize test approaches. The USA’s NVH group created an analysis chain, which included various analysis types and sent it out to other NVH engineers, who could simply drop the analysis chain into their copy of Pulse Reflex.

“After testing, the global NVH people could just stick their data on the internal network and I could run it through my software in no time,” said Kristie. “Then all my displays and all my axes are set up the same. We’re looking at the same thing, so I could be as confident looking at data collected in France as if I had collected the data myself. That’s a very good feeling. Having the confidence that I can tell my manager the very next day that the test done in France is better or worse than the one we tried in the USA is invaluable.”

Information like this is easy for the CAE design group to use. “We have a good relationship,” she said. “What makes Pulse Reflex really nice is that it doesn’t matter where that data came from – test or analysis. I post-process it the same way and we can compare the results because they are the same.”

With tight integration of testing and CAE modelling, John Deere has increased the amount of design iterations that are feasible, so they can test more ideas and – at the same time – analyze more precisely. This ensures its customers get top engine reliability, whatever their specific application or configuration – among thousands of possibilities.

May 6, 2016

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Tom Stone is Editor of the iVT brand – which includes digital and print editions of a quarterly magazine and the Advanced Lift-truck supplement, as well as, which is updated daily. Tom has met and interviewed some of the world's leading industrial vehicle OEM presidents, CEOs and MDs, and takes great pride in cementing iVT's place as the leading forum for debate within the industry, a reputation that his been built up over the brand's 25-year history.

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