Products from Powervamp Ltd, one of Britain’s leading specialists in professional automotive jump-starting equipment, aircraft static inverters and portable power supplies, are playing a important role on the production line at Jaguar Land Rover, where they are helping assembly technicians to program and test on-board electronic systems cost-effectively.
“The PS12v-200 product is no bigger than a pair of laptop…”
The specially modified PS12v-200 power supplies (a derivative of the Powervamp PS100 aviation product) are currently being installed as standard equipment alongside the production line. The PS12v-200 product is no bigger than a pair of laptop computers, and is connected to each car by electrical leads while the cars travel down the production line.
These power supplies ensure that demanding electrical loads such as on-board computers and diagnostic systems, on the Range Rover series can be tested during the production process without being reliant on the vehicles own battery.
The units draw their current from a standard single-phase 240-volt mains electrical supply, delivering up to 200 amps. The nominal output is 12 volts, but this can be varied between 10 and 14.2 volts according to the demands of the on-board equipment.
A high degree of intelligence is built into the Powervamp units. If the battery terminals are connected the wrong way round, this will not cause an electrical short, as would happen with normal automotive batteries. The system illuminates a light to inform the operator of the reverse polarity.
The units are also fitted with a “soft-start” feature, meaning they don’t deliver their full output as soon as they are connected, but gradually ramp up the output, preventing sudden surges to the car’s sensitive electrical system.
“The success of these Powervamp products has already given rise to the development of a “spin-off”…”
Because technicians need to listen carefully to the sounds made by some on-board electronic items, it was a requirement that the Powervamp units should incorporate a variable-speed cooling fan, which powers down to run in “silent” mode when the unit is not in use, or is being run under low load.
During the on-board equipment programming cycle, the Powervamp unit is expected to deliver a high current. To assist with constant monitoring of the output, each unit is fitted with a current probe which triggers a flashing green light indicating a potential problem, should the current drop to an abnormally low level.
The success of these Powervamp products has already given rise to the development of a spin-off product, which is used to power the built-in conveyors installed inside some of the specialist truck bodies that deliver car parts to Jaguar Land Rover plants.
Mounted at the loading bay, these PS12v-200 derivatives plug into the conveyor when the truck backs up to the dock, saving the need to run the equipment from the truck’s own battery. They are rated at 24 volts rather than the 12 volts of the line-side units, and do not require some of the more sophisticated features of their line-side counterparts.
The Powervamp power supplies have already been fitted in various Jaguar Land Rover plants, including those at Solihull and Castle Bromwich and are set to be installed in the Halewood production line as well in a new £240 million facility in Brazil.