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GasShow 2012 - lifeline of the trade
This year's number of exhibitors was so great that hall area, outside the main exhibition floor of the Expo XXI fair and conference centre had to be used. As a result, there were over 150 stands and booths, spread over 4600 square metres of space. Unlike previous editions, the 2012 GasShow was held on weekdays instead of weekend and even though there were certain turnout fears, visitors did not fail. It is estimated that the exposition was seen by no less than 5000 people, most of them coming on the first day.
Robert Lapinski, organiser of the event, commented on GasShow's popularity by saying: "The fair has been on the rise since its very inception. New companies from all over the globe join us every year, which just goes to show how powerful Polish market is and how much potential remains in it. We are very glad to see the exhibitors' enthusiastic approach towards the event. With each edition, their offers and expositions become broader and more interesting”.
As for 2012, the GasShow was held paralelly with the Autosevice Expo – a garage equipment fair. This new partnership seems like an interesting idea, since autogas systems installers are a large group among visitors of the GasShow.
As usual, numerous new products were brought and premiered at the event, among them ECU's, injectors and other autogas system components.
AC had a number of debuts on their stand, among them the most important one – the STAG-4 Q-Box electronic controller, built on an entirely new hardware platform, with an efficient 32-bit processor. Future ECU's from AC will all be based on it, too. The STAG-4 Q-Box is the entry-level model of the new family, more advanced versions will follow suit. The Q-Box line will exist along the regular STAG controllers for a time, until the latter are phased out and replaced by the newcomers.
Auto-Gaz Centrum presented the Zenit Pro – a new generation ECU in the company's range. The controller supports EOBD communication, allows partial petrol injection when necessary and provides full system diagnostics. All data relays have been eliminated and replaced with semiconductor elements. This translates to higher precision of the controller and entire system, as well as allows to control petrol injectors very precisely for additional petrol injections, required by some engines under certain conditions.
Also App Studio had a new ECU to present. The Agis P12 differs from the Agis OBD CAN version in that it supports more OBD bus protocols.
Auto Gaz Holandia brought some premiere products, which are the effect of GFI Control Systems by MTM, the owner of the BRC brand and trademark. EZ Start and EZ Pro are both meant to be cheaper couterparts of models available before. The EZ Start has been designed to convert engines with no more than 4 cylinders, while the EZ Pro supports even 8-cylinder motors and uses EOBD corrections.
KME in turn debuted a whole new Nevo family, comprising three controllers. The basic model is sufficient for 4-cylinder engines, the mid-range Nevo Plus supports 4-, 6- and 8-cylinder motors, while the top-of-the-line Nevo Pro has a built-in OBD adapter, rendering additional, separate adapters needless. All Nevos are meant to be easy to configure, quick to fit and support the new cabin switch, which displays much more information than just the type of fuel currently in use and level of LPG left. It is also able to inform the driver of the autogas system maintenance coming. All Nevo controllers have a limited access option – a password can be set up to prevent unauthorised changes to the software.
Landi Renzo introduced two new ECU's under the long-absent Landi brand name. Both of them – called One and Prime – have been design for conversions of 3- and 4-cylinder engines. The unexpected debut is meant to probe the market, but if Landi returns, it will be positioned between the high-end Landi Renzo and the entry-level Lovato brands.
The company Tamona from Lithuania presented their entire family of electronic controllers for sequential autogas systems. None of them is EOBD-compatible, but the top-of-the-range models (Progas-6, Tgstream-4 and Tgstream-6) are equipped with an automatic fuel mixture composition correction system. It works on the basis of data collected by the so called Double Independent Correction (DIC) map, which the producer says is a much better solution than EOBD compatibility as it works much faster. The DIC operates in real time on a working engine, adjusting the autogas system parameters to the petrol fuel system settings.
Auto Gaz Slask – the Polish branch of Tartarini – brought a simplified version of the Evo01 ECU that debuted during the 2011 edition of the GasShow. The Evo01 Young, as it has been dubbed, has been stripped of EOBD compatibility, which makes it cheaper.
Two new vaporisers, designed to convert engines with 150 and 250 HP respectively, were presented at the AC stand. Both are characterised by outstanding thermal efficiency and pressure stability. Interestingly, the reducers have no integrated gas electrovalves. This is due to maintenance – reducers are often fitted in places that are not easily accessible, which makes liquid stage LPG filters replacement difficult. With these reducers, the electrovalve may be located in a convenient place or integrated into the reducer with a rigid connector, as needed.
Elpigaz, of Gdansk, had a very interesting vaporiser to show. The Drago, as it is called, is based on the already known Fiore Forte model. It was the only reducer at the GasShow whose aluminium body – a forging with plastic covers – is formed in the process of plastic working. Forging leads to significant densification of material, which in turn enhances sealing and heat exchange. Moreover, plastic working largely eliminates the costly and time-consuming mechanical working. The Drago supports engines with up to 160 HP.
Another reducer worth noticing was the G-1 from Slovenia. It features no membranes – output gas pressure is electronically controlled (thus stable) and the patented heat exchange system allows the vaporiser to support engines with up to 354 HP. The G-1 has an integrated gas electrovalve and a built-in MAP sensor.
The GasShow was also the arena for the debut of the Pitec reducer. It has two versions available: Imola (capable of converting engines with up to 270 HP) and Nardo (for up to 400 HP motors). The Nardo variant is equipped with a compensation system providing for injector rail gas pressure, which means it is insensitive to pressure fluctuations resulting e. g. from gaseous stage LPG filter contamination.
There were several important and interesting premieres in this field, too. One of them was the Barracuda single injector, developed by Alex and undoubtedly inspired by the legendary (in terms of durability) Keihin and Hana injectors. The Polish injector has been built from materials ensuring the best endurance figures and the manufacturer estimates its longevity at 500 million work cycles (equal to 100 thousand km of mileage). Rubber mixture composition for seals and resilient elements (fenders) proved to be the most challenging factor in the design and test process. Apart from resistance to fuel, rubber mixtures used for injector applications need to prove their resistance to extreme (high and low) temperatures. The Barracuda's moving parts are very lightweight, which makes the injector very fast (opening time is just 1,9 ms).
Nowy wtryskiwacz zaprezentowano także na stoisku App Studio. W wykonanej z tworzywa sztucznego obudowie mieści się lekki element zamykający i otwierający przepływ odparowanego gazu. Budowa wtryskiwacza uwzględnia warunki atmosferyczne panujące w naszym kraju. Przeprowadzone przez producenta testy potwierdziły bardzo dobre zachowanie się wtryskiwaczy w okresie zimowym.
App Studio also had a new injector to show off. It has plastic housing and a lightweight moving element inside, regulating the flow of vaporised autogas. The injector's design provides for specific weather conditions in Poland and the manufacturer's tests confirmed the injector's efficient performance in the winter.
The company Biuro Doradcze Plus (Plus Consulting) presented their own injector, dubbed the WGs. It is very compact, which means it can be fitted directly at the nozzle in the intake manifold, with no need for connecting tubes. Low moving part mass and lack of springs (the injector closes under LPG pressure) allow very short opening times – 0,92 to 1,32 ms, depending on efficiency (20 to more than 35 HP per cylinder).
LPGTECH brought Dragon injectors, which are also very fast (1,5-1,8 ms opening time, 0,8 ms closing time) and durable. The manufacturer warrants infallible operation across 2 years or 100 thousand km of mileage. Dragons are made in the form of rails comprising 2, 3 or 4 injectors.
The latest structural changes within STAKO, which has been acquired by Worthington Industries, means new possibilities and business opportunities for the Slupsk-headquartered company and, in particular, access to new markets. STAKO will be able to speed up its composite CNG tank technology, especially that its new parent company did not – until now – have CNG-3 type of tanks. As of this moment, composite tanks are being certified for the American and Canadian markets. The new partnership with Worthington is also going to allow STAKO to access North American markets with the Polish company's LPG tanks range, especially since Worthington did not offer them before.
The well established Irene brand disappeared from the market among some turmoil, but its entire assets have been acquired by a new company – Stener. Using Irene's technology, machinery, infrastructure and certifications, Stener keeps manufacturing automotive LPG tanks, which are already sold in Thailand, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, Greece, Czech and Slovakia, while certification for the Japanese market is in progress.
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