LaunchPoint Technologies (LaunchPoint) recently completed testing a new version of its variable valve timing (VVT) electromechanical valve actuator (EVA) for internal combustion engines. The new design reduces power consumption by more than 50% compared to the previous design and has, thus far, exceeded 1 million cycles of endurance testing. Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of a recently completed SBIR Phase II grant. Additional funding was provided by the United States Marine Corps (USMC) as part of an SBIR Phase I grant.
VVT EVA systems can provide improvements in engine fuel-efficiency, torque and emissions; however, they are not widely used because until now the technology has been too expensive and has not met automaker’s performance targets. LaunchPoint’s electromechanical VVT system incorporates a novel energy storage mechanism that enables a reliable high performance and cost-effective actuator. With the use of a microcontroller, the system is able to continuously and independently vary the valve duration and phase based on any operating conditions available to the controller such as engine speed and load.
Two prototype actuators were designed and built for the NSF Phase II grant.