HBK Case Study: GreenMot Develops Custom Systems for Engine Testing

HBK Case Study: GreenMot Develops Custom Systems for Engine Testing

HBK - Hottinger Brüel & Kjaer (France) - When GreenMot started its activities in October 2010, it chose neither a “comfortable” market nor a simple path. The market for the testing of engines has a large number of actors with well-established leaders. At the time, this market had experienced several crises, particularly in the automotive sector. And GreenMot didn’t take the easy way in order to break into this market; it decided to start from scratch, without taking over an existing company, and hence having to develop its complete client portfolio. But its founder and president, Stéphane Londos, has vast experience and he chose an approach that would quickly enable the company to hold its own: he focused on precision tests, and if the necessary sensor did not exist, he developed a custom sensor in order to adapt it to the structure to be tested, and not vice versa.

That is how GreenMot uses its in-situ sensor directly integrated into the engine to measure the torque of the tested engine. This sensor has been specifically developed in order to be adapted to the mechanical and environmental stress of the engine. HBK is at the heart of this strategy. As a technological partner from the very beginning, HBK supplies the complete instrumentation chain, for the majority of GreenMot’s applications. Both companies benefit from this privileged partnership: GreenMot is able to distinguish itself from its competitors while HBK consolidates its know-how in engine applications and uses its experience and knowledge to develop new products. 


GreenMot started from scratch as a new company in the market for the testing of engines in 2010. This market has a large number of actors with well-established leaders and – at the time – had experienced several crises. Without taking over an existing company, GreenMot had to develop its complete client portfolio.


GreenMot focused on precision tests, and if the necessary sensor did not exist, developed a custom sensor for measuring the torque of the engine to be tested in order to adapt it to the structure to be tested, and not vice versa. As a GreenMot partner from the very beginning, HBM supplies the complete instrumentation chain for the majority of the applications.


With a focus on precision and repeatability, GreenMot helps its customers to further improve the performance of their products. The benefits to be gained are sometimes marginal – but still essential in a very competitive environment. Thanks to this strategy, GreenMot has enjoyed rapid growth.

Tests in all forms:

GreenMot’s strategy paid off, the company is growing rapidly. Today, 8 years after the company’s foundation, 37 engineers and technicians are working together to offer customized solutions to their clients. Over the years, the company has gradually expanded its geographic coverage and now export to Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland (and indirectly everywhere in the world). Due to the space limitations of its original facilities, the company moved into a 3500 m2 premises in Villefranche-sur-Saône, close to Lyon, in 2014. This geographic positioning also distinguishes GreenMot from its competitors most of which are located around Paris. GreenMot’s mission hasn’t changed since the beginning: testing of propulsion systems (thermal and electrical) and energy systems, in particular for automotive, heavy-duty vehicles, railways and industrial equipment (cooling systems, power generation systems, etc.). Over the years, this strategy has been proved correct, extending the boundaries and powers of the analyzed equipment. That is why GreenMot has acquired a high-power testing cell for applications far beyond the automotive sector (military vehicles, bus, heavy goods vehicles, agricultural equipment, construction machinery, etc.).

"This test equipment is unique in Europe", comments Sébastien Ferragne, an engineer specialized in test engineering, sensors, instrumentation and methodology, as it combines climatic test equipment (from -46°C to +55°C) and high-power mechanical equipment (600 kW). 

The company’s strategy has evolved accordingly over the years. That is why there are now two distinct fields of activity: testing based on the clients’ specifications on the one hand, and the construction of testing equipment on the other. GreenMot offers turnkey tests for its testing operations. This approach starts with the specification of the sensors, followed by the planning of the test campaign and post-treatment according to the client’s needs. Test duration can range from one day to several months, starting from the validation of the conditioning, adjustment of the pollutant system, through the complete vehicle benchmark analysis. Tests are generally performed at GreenMot facilities, but in some cases, they can be provided on the client’s site. The second field of activity involves the development and supply of testing machines and allows GreenMot to use its experience gained in the first field to offer testing machines of a higher quality. These machines are specifically developed based on customer specifications, the R&D department works directly with them. The common denominator of these two activities remains the specific measurement, but the convergence goes much further, says Sébastien Ferragne: “There are very strong synergies between these two activities. Testing operations help us design new testing equipment, just as the development of testing machines helps us to carry out the tests. These synergies give us high dynamics and enable us to create an added value compared with our major competitors who do not have this double activity of testing and testing machines production.”

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