Organizing Your Dyno Shop

Dec 2, 2009

Walking into a dynamometer facility is an exciting time for your customers. Knowing they’ll be receiving accurate test results on the power of their engines is only the beginning-the high-tech machinery and personalized attention of the process also make them feel like an insider in the world of speed and performance.

Capturing that excitement is an important part of offering dyno services to you clients. Providing a clean, professional environment helps maximize the impact a dynamometer can have on your business, and makes for a memorable experience for you and the customer.

Cleanliness is No Accident

Just stepping into the Land & Sea DYNOmite Dynamometer lobby is enough to get any engine enthusiast excited. The whole place screams horsepower technology.

For example, the visitor area has soundproof observation windows into more than a half-dozen dynamometer test cells and control rooms. And almost everywhere on the plant’s floor there are either dyno components in production or complex systems undergoing assembly and testing.

What’s immediately apparent is the facility’s cleanliness-from the factory floor to the weld shop. Bob Bergeron, Land & Sea’s president, believes that’s something performance shops should carry with them to their own dyno facilities.

“Everything matters,” he says. “We treat our products’ engineering, manufacturing process and even the building itself like racing-so, yesterday’s best is just the new minimum for today.”

Customers will expect the same level of professionalism when visiting your facility, he explains. Car owners love to watch their cars on the dyno-which means your housekeeping will be on display for all to see.

Keeping things neat and organized will create a positive, professional image. And as the DYNOmite facility shows, attention to detail-such as a common color scheme throughout the building or a common control button and enunciator light system for every dyno cell-can lend an air of continuity and planning, making customers more comfortable as you work on their pride-and-joy.

At the Land & Sea facility, all the cells are well-lit and their solid concrete-filled sound-block walls painted in bright-white epoxy paint. The control room, by comparison, uses perforated sound-absorbent walls, ceiling tiles and carpet flooring designed to provide an almost “library quiet” feel. Quad-glazed windows and 500-pound sound doors keep it that way even during wide-open-throttle testing.

The more customers hang around your shop, the more you’ll want to ensure the air they breathe is clean, (not to mention for you and your employees!). Bergeron explains his company’s rooms are ventilated via huge inlet and outlet ducts fed from variable-speed 10-hp AC drives and roof-mounted blowers.

Either the operator or dynamometer software can adjust the room’s airflow rate up to 40,000 cfm to meet the exhaust and cooling requirements of any test in progress. There’s no need to run the big fans full-bore during cool-down periods or light load testing, and water flow is also electrically controlled and pressure regulated.

Good for Business

As the DYNOmite facility illustrates, an organized work area isn’t just important for the image you portray to your customers. It can also have a positive impact on your workflow.

Little things can make a big difference when it comes to making sure each dyno test runs smoothly.

For instance, each Land & Sea cell has diamond-plate pegboard and rolling tool cabinets, with just the tools and hardware needed for mounting an engine or vehicle on the dyno close at hand. Fire suppression systems, wireless radio headphones and CO monitoring are also evident in each chassis bay. And pipes color-coded to industry standards help identify feed, control, sprinkler and drain lines.

Another example is a wall-mounted gang of highly visible, color-coded indicator lamps above the control room’s exit door that can serve to remind operators if ventilation blowers, coolant water, dyno drive power or other systems are still on when they finish testing. This helps avoid leaving expensive equipment running overnight.

At Land & Sea, each dyno operator also has a personal software “environment” icon that instantly reconfigures all the console and test settings to their personal preferences without interfering with those of their coworkers. Eliminating tedious pre-test software setup and report formatting means dyno shops can effortlessly provide personalized and detailed reports.

All of it goes back to showing that, if you do your job better, then your clients will benefit.

“Too many customers leave the dyno with nothing more than some peak numbers or generic graph. Give them more information and they will notice,” Bergeron notes. “What racer expects only hand-written ET or lap-time slips at the track anymore? Go the one extra yard and score a touchdown-if you don’t, your competition eventually will.”

All this attention to detail offers a side benefit as well, he explains-the visual proof that your shop takes pride in its work, and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest performance technology, thereby reassuring your customers they made the right choice by coming to you.

“Without constant monitoring and maintenance, everything deteriorates,” Bergeron says. “This includes a company’s infrastructure as well as its processes and service.”

In his racing analogy, shops can apply the habits of running successful dynamometer testing to their general business plan, thereby improving overall performance.

“Shop owners intuitively know how unsuccessful they would be running an unmaintained, unimproved, three-year old car against aggressive competitors. Yet many sit back with their business model and building outwardly showing each year’s wear-and-tear,” he concludes. “Instead, each year should be used as an opportunity to examine as many small components of the business as possible for potential improvements. The changes can be tiny, but the point is that they must be ever-ongoing. Like those hundreds shaved off race-times, they all add up-very few can be left on the table for the competition to exploit.”