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Ducati Production Line Tools

Since 1998 every Ducati engine has had the timing belt tension set with CLAVIS equipment.  Recently we have designed and engineered a production line tool to tension the rear belt drive using the same principal.  These tools are used throughout the Ducati factory at Bologna for the setting of belt tension on all of their 2, 3, and 4 valve engines during manufacture.

An electromechanical hammer forces the belt into oscillation.  The vibration of the belt is converted into an electrical signal by the optical module in the sensor head and the conversion circuitry on the main PCB.  The optical module consists of an infrared LED and photodiode.  The conversion circuitry applies a 20 KHz square wave drive signal to the LED.  The light reflected from the belt is detected by the photodiode and subsequently amplified and filtered.  A technique called synchronous demodulation is then employed to remove noise from the signal (such as that produced by background lighting).  The frequency of oscillation of the belt is then determined.  The CLAVIS system compares the measured tension with a target range stored in EEPROM memory and indicates the tension state of the belt on the LCD display.

Ducati Belt Tension
Ducati Belt Tension
Ducati Final Belt Drive Tension
Ducati Final Belt Drive Tension

The tools have 2 optical sensor heads and hammer assemblies for the horizontal and vertical cylinders, as well as the rear belt drive.  Each tool can be used on a number of different engine variants and the appropriate belt specification is simply selected by the operator.

Internal rechargeable batteries permit use for a whole week before they need to be recharged on purpose designed charging stations.


Triumph Thunderbird

The new Triumph Thunderbird is a large 'Cruiser' type motorcycle.  Part of the exceptional smoothness is derived from using a belt drive which replaces the conventional chain.  It's essential that the belt is tensioned correctly.  Triumph came to CLAVIS for equipment to both tension the belt automatically and to align the wheel spindle perfectly during the same operation.

Triumph Belt Tension
Triumph Belt Tension
Triumph Belt Tension

This was achieved by having a 4 part system.  A measurement unit with an optical sensor measures the belt tension. Two units located in either side of the wheel spindle, measure wheel spindle position to 0.01mm!  All three of these units are battery powered and communicate with the control cabinet by a UHF telemetry link.  The fourth unit is the motor drive system which rotate the wheel spindle adjustment nuts.

Bar code scanning of the bike VIN number, data logging and the printing of the operation pass certificate ticket are other features of the system.

Twin motors are controlled independently to ensure that the wheel spindle is perfectly aligned whilst the belt tension is set to very tight tolerances.

The wheel spindle measurement tools are battery powered and measure wheel spindle position to 0.01mm.  When not in use the tools are located in bases which provide battery charging.



The CLAVIS SABRE is a very advanced universal belt tension measuring tool for use on production lines.  The tool features an optical sensor and an electromechanical hammer to provide belt excitation.

The SABRE is only a little larger than the CLAVIS Type 14 meter.  It can be used as a standalone optical tension meter with an integral hammer or in a complete system for setting and recording belt tensions on automotive engine production lines.

Belt Tension Bluetooth Tool
  1. The engine enters the setting station and the VIN number is scanned by the operator using a wireless bar code scanner.
  2. The VIN number shows on the operator display panel the belt layout, the point at which the tension should be measured with the Sabre, the target range, the actual frequency and a GO/NO-GO indicator.
  3. When the tension is set correctly the operator then presses the 'RECORD' button on the SABRE, which enters the set value into a database.  The database may be uploaded at any time either by a wired link or by USB memory stick.



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