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Client: South West College in collaboration with KMR Kawasaki
Knowledge Provider: South West College
Sector: Advanced Engineering & Advanced Manufacturing and Advanced Materials

South West College in collaboration with KMR Kawasaki

South West College has initiated collaboration with KMR Kawasaki to optimise the operating characteristics of their racing engines. Headed by the international motorcycle racer Ryan Farquhar, KMR compete in international road races such as the “Isle of Mann TT” and “NorthWest 200”.

SWC & KMR SWC & KMR About the case
The team has been working via the Connected programme to analyse the current velocity sacks utilised in the 650-Twin Kawasaki racing engine. KMR identified issues with the current velocity stacks when used in different locations and atmospheric environments. Throttle response and power/fuel use issues were evident. KMR required analysis of the current stack and a range of possible design solutions to suit the specific conditions. The end goal was to improve throttle response and reduce wasted unburned hydrocarbons and manage fuel consumption and power output more efficiently.

About the Knowledge Provider
South West College has enjoyed good industrial relations with many of the local manufacturing companies across Co.Tyrone and on a global stage. Promoting the value of entrepreneurship and business and forging innovative links between industry and the academic work is what we’re all about. All of the lecturing staff within the engineering department has a breadth of industrial experience prior to lecturing from a diverse range of backgrounds. Our diverse experience and skills sets were essential in completing the following case.

The first stage involved modelling of the current stack used in a CAD package. This involved conducting mechanical simulation analysis to determine the strength of the current stack and analyse weak areas in the design. This was utilised to inform the new proposed design solutions. Flow simulation was also conducted to determine the status of airflow in terms of flow trajectory and mass flow rate and gain an appreciation as to what was happening during the intake process of the racing engine. Various areas were identified where unnecessary vortices formed and flow separation occurred from the side wall of the stack. From these analyses, various new concept designs were created and contrasted with the existing models to produce new improved stacks for real-time engine testing. Pressure analysis also enabled new designs to be monitored and compared to an existing base model. This data helped to determine areas that required re-design to obtain best use of air-flow into the throttle body itself and optimise the mixing process.

The new concepts are being made via a rapid-prototyping machine to be testing on KMR’s motorcycle dynamometer with the goal to improve airflow into the engine and reduce wasted energy. The goal in terms of performance is gains in engine efficiency and reduction in aspects such as unburned hydrocarbons leading to reductions in fuel consumption and improved road performance. Another element to the project is to produce a quick-release system whereby the velocity stack can be adjusted to suit differing atmospheric conditions.

This involved a new concept design and modelling in CAD to determine the strength requirements of the application. Designs were created and simulated in CAD to produce a component that can withstand the operating forces in that region. Rapid proto-typing was then utilised to produce a series of velocity components to allow considerable adjustment to optimise efficiency for the varying atmospheric conditions presented at differing race tracks. Continuing analysis is also being performed to understand and analyse high frictional areas within the operating engine. New tribology solutions are being proposed to alter frictional losses and improve output performance and increase reliability accordingly.

The key result was a range of stacks to suit a range of operating conditions such as dry, wet and humid conditions. This has resulted in the throttle response and power output to be optimised for the differing conditions and fuel consumption maximised with regards to power output due to the better airflow response through the throttle body. Further rapid prototyping will be completed to produce end-use velocity stacks from a suitable material such as carbon-fibre.

“Working with the team from South West College has been an excellent experience. The team members were extremely enthusiastic and worked relentlessly to help my company develop new designs and produce working components. This has helped me to optimise the performance of the racing engine and be able to offer such products to customers alike. I will be working with this team again to complete other projects. “

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