SEMA 2012: SuperFlow Shows off Advanced Valve-spring Tester

Engine builders looking for absolute consistency across all cylinders will be drawn to the new SuperFlow SF-1600 automated valve-spring tester.

“It’s like a dyno for valve springs,” says Mike Giles, marketing manager for SuperFlow.

The SF-1600 has a cast-iron base for stability and a machined face for accuracy.

The SF-1600 automatically applies and releases load on the spring while measuring the spring height, and a computer program records all the data. Tests can be stored for further analysis, or a large batch of springs can be tested under the same preset limits to sort out the unacceptable springs from those ready for installation.

There is no human error factor with the SF-1600. The heavy-duty pneumatic cylinder drive provides accurate and repeatable motion, unlike a gear-type tester that usually registers a spike each time a tooth or chain come into contact, and certainly more accurate any hand-operated test rig.

“A lot of Pro Stock and NASCAR teams will use this machine,” says Giles. “With the pneumatic action, you don’t get any noisy data. Also, if you’re running stacked springs, you can test the inner and outer springs separately for consistency all the way down the head.”

The SF-1600 features a ductile cast-iron base that is precisely machined to assure squareness for the spring position. Other features include a linear gauge and full-bridge strain gauge load cell. SuperFlow says the SF-1600 is accurate to +/- .001-inch distance and +/- 1-pound of force. Maximum pressure is 1,000 pounds. All aspects of rating a spring can be preset prior to testing for consistency, and the SF-1600 can calculate installed height for desired spring pressure.

“The tests have to be repeatable,” says Giles. “If a dyno isn’t repeatable, then the engine builder isn’t learning anything.”

SuperFlow is looking into future applications for the SF-1600, including testing bump stops to help chassis engineers set up suspensions.

The software allows engine builders to dial in test parameters for culling unwanted springs or to test springs individually and save the results.

 

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About the author

Mike Magda

Mike Magda is a veteran automotive writer with credits in publications such as Racecar Engineering, Hot Rod, Engine Technology International, Motor Trend, Automobile, Automotive Testing Technology and Professional Motorsport World.
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