Never Stop the Flow

The growing number and increasing complexity of driving functions are demanding development tools that simplify the calibrator’s workload and make tried and proven processes available throughout the company. This was the reason for developing the “INCA-FLOW” tool. It delivers shorter development times, lower costs as well as a higher and reproducible quality of calibration. IAV and ETAS have been cooperating for ten years on advancing and selling the tool, which is continuously being upgraded with new features.

Given the increasing number of algorithms as well as the growing variety of vehicle models and derivatives, the complexity of calibration projects has risen dramatically in recent years. Purely manual calibration is no longer an option today. After all, more than 60,000 parameters need to be calibrated in a modern control unit. This is why IAV started developing INCA-FLOW back in 2006 which is now being used by around 100 OEMs and component suppliers across the globe.

Using the tool, calibration engineers can quickly describe calibration sequences in graphic form and run them on the connected infrastructure. Even team newcomers can work productively after a short time because bestpractice examples are automatically documented and available to every member of staff. By standardizing processes, valuable expert knowledge is kept in the company. “Compared to manual calibration, INCA-FLOW boosts efficiency by 30 to 80 percent,” says IAV Product Manager Sven Meyer.


Compared to manual calibration, INCA-FLOW boosts efficiency by 30 to 80 percent.

Sven Meyer — IAV Product Manager

IAV and ETAS have been working together on selling and enhancing the tool since 2009. ETAS is responsible for marketing, sales, firstlevel support and joint requirements management whereas IAV mainly takes care of implementing changes and developing new features. Cooperating in this way, both partners can deploy their respective strong points to the full: IAV its calibration expertise, ETAS its worldwide sales network and high market penetration.

Objective assessment of drivability

Two further new INCA FLOW add-ons provide an objective assessment of engine or transmission drivability. “Previously, for example, gearshift jerking was subjectively assessed by the driver on a scale of one to ten,” Meyer explains. “The add-ons, in contrast, use an acceleration sensor to obtain reproducible and objective data. The additional information immediately appears on the familiar INCA-FLOW interface, making it possible to assess and enhance drivability in real time. For example, the calibration engineer can continue changing calibration on an iterative basis until the powertrain reaches optimum ride comfort.

“In a study, we examined the extent to which objective assessments correlate with the subjective perception of test persons, and found that there was a good match,” Meyer says. The responses from the market are also gratifying: “The product has been very well received by our customers”. Probably, this is also because of the ease of installation: the acceleration sensor only takes around 30 minutes to install, and configuration is completed quickly, too.

Cost-efficient connection to test benches

The engine test bench and chassis dynamometer connection also received good marks from customers. Regardless of manufacturer, test benches can be connected to INCA and INCA-FLOW via CAN or ASAP3. “Many of our customers don’t have any sophisticated test bench control system,” explains Rajesh Reddy, Product Manager at ETAS for INCA-FLOW. “They are glad to see that our addon makes connection so cost-efficient for them. Any script once created can be used on any of their test benches, and dynamic online DoE approaches also reduce the number of tests required. There is high demand for such a solution, as demonstrated by the many customer inquiries and positive feedback.

Real-time information on RDE test drives

The new INCA-RDE software tool also contributes to the partnership‘s success. It checks in real time whether a test drive is RDE-compliant. “Normally, the measurements are recorded and only evaluated later on, for example in relation to the share of urban, rural and motorway driving, ambient temperatures or speed and acceleration ranges,” explains Reddy,who is also Product Manager for INCA-RDE.

It assists the driver in real time with informati on on the setup, implementation of RDE requirements and the current measured values. This approach allows an optimum use of the RDE drives.

Rajesh Reddy — Product Manager at ETAS for INCA-FLOW and INCA-RDE

Because the EU is well ahead in introducing RDE, European legislation is currently implemented in the product. Soon, additional modules will be available for other regions, such as China, India and the USA.

As INCA-RDE combines both the control unit parameters as well as the PEMS data, users can view all values in the same environment and save them in a shared data file for analysis. In future, the product is even to be capable of identifying possible causes of emission peaks, making it possible to adjust calibration for exhaust gas recirculation or injection during vehicle driving.

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INCA-FLOW is distributed by IAV’s-Partner ETAS.

“We can look back on a very successful partnership,” says Reddy, summarizing the first decade of the cooperation arrangement. “IAV and ETAS have given the market an innovative solution that has become increasingly sophisticated over the years and is very well embraced by customers.” He sees great potential for the future – for example through further add-ons – and wants to establish INCA-FLOW as a calibration standard. “It is moving in this direction, as can be seen from the large number of customers who use it.” For Meyer, many new functions are also conceivable, including an add-on for calibration in simulation and other forms of modelling calibration sequences: “I still see a huge market for INCA-FLOW.”

The article was published in automotion 02/2019, the automotive engineering magazine of IAV. Here you can order the autmotion free of charge.