Land & Sea combined founder Bob Bergeron’s passion for testing with expert manufacturing and personalized customer service to set a worldwide standard in dynamometers.
By Karl Fredrickson
DYNO-MITE WELCOME: Bob Bergeron (LEFT) and Dick Locke in Land & Sea’s expansive lobby, where many engine builders and race teams begin their experience with the company’s dynamometer products.
new digs are impressive. But why would a manufacturer of testing
equipment need any more than a factory to produce equipment that
typically has the aesthetics of a math
answer provides clear insight to Land & Sea’s attitude. Their engine and chassis dynamometer equipment not only provides accurate information, but it does so with great efficiency, and at a level that matches the customer’s understanding.
“If you’re having people in your shop, the dyno has got to look nice and be impressive,” says the company’s Dick Locke.
|BUILDING WITHIN THE BUILDING: All components are built on-site, including the large diameter rolls used in chassis dynamometers. Welding for rolls and dyno frames is done within a purpose-built area of the shop.|
Land & Sea has carried that concept to the construction of their new building, which is designed to host retail customers such as engine builders and teams. There are several fully functional dyno cells on-site so builders can see ways to optimize their own space. “We don’t offer a dyno service,” says company founder Bob Bergeron, “we’ve built these cells so we can show how to build dynos for convenience.”
The reasons go beyond the superficial. “There’s a lot to know, like how to minimize noise and have proper ventilation,” says Bergeron. “Under-ventilation is the most frequent mistake. Aside from causing [health] problems, those fumes can greatly diminish the engine’s performance. You’ve got to move the exhaust away from the intake, not toward it. If a customer can’t come here, we have drawings that we can send.
“We take customers who are complete novices to dyno testing, treat them with respect, and teach them as much as their heads want to hold in a given day, month, or year. Or if the customer is a full-blown engineer, we’ll adjust the complexity level of the conversation to suit. And we listen because we can learn a lot from them, too.”
Land & Sea handles every aspect of dyno construction in house, except for painting. That goes against the current manufacturing trend of looking overseas for inexpensive raw materials and cheap labor—which is exactly what Bergeron had in mind. “To me, this building means that you can manufacture something in the United States and support it by good customer service,” he says. “So many of the manufacturers ran away from customer service and blamed it on imports. We’re going the other way. We’re putting up a manufacturing building and running two shifts out of that building. We’re growing when all of our competitors are either downsizing or merging with non-dyno products, so the actual dyno business has gone down for them.”
Land & Sea builds both inertia and absorber equipped (AC, eddy current, or water brake) type dynos. Water brakes are particularly suitable for race engine power levels and speeds. “Awater brake accelerates the water,” says Bergeron. “The water is pumped into cavities as a spinning rotor throws it to the outer part of the cavity. The cavity is shaped so it turns the water back around so it’s making a loop. It is thrown into a stationary stator cavity that stops the water. The energy that it’s taking to start and stop the water puts heat into it. If it comes in cold, at 60° Fahrenheit and goes out at 120°, that’s a 60° rise in a fraction of a second, which came from absorbing engine horsepower from your engine. The BTU/hr rise of the water flowing from the brake is equal to the horsepower delivered by the engine.
“That’s the [absorbed] horsepower of your engine. You can just look at the BTU rise of the water [and the flow volume], that’s the horsepower of the engine.
“In the old days, a spring scale would have been mechanically linked to the dyno. But you couldn’t capture the data at high speed and in real time because you’d be using a paper and pencil logging it. That’s subject to inconsistencies and the variable is on the bias of the guy doing the data logging.”
Despite the shortcomings, peak torque and horsepower could be determined, but top engine builders and their winning teams have a new focus: the rpm range that the engine spends its time in, not the one speed it touches for an instant. Locke explains: “If an engine is making the most power at say, 6,000 rpm, but if they carry it to 7,000 at the end of the straightaway, they run faster lap times. That’s because you spend time down the straightaway under the area of the curve between 6,000 and 7,000 rpm. So, it’s not just getting to 6,000, it’s also going to 7,000 and spending time under the curve. The cumulative horsepower can be different.”
|CALL CENTER: Land & Sea’s technical and sales office is well staffed by experienced pros who field inquiries from around the world.||ON A ROLL: The rolls feature an exclusive deep straight pattern tread surface designed to avoid horsepower losses due to tire-to-roll slippage (and sidewall deformation from over tightening to overcome slippage). The company says it provides twice the traction at a fraction of the strap-down force.|
|BALANCED OPERATION: Land & Sea dynamically spin-balances rolls— including large diameter, like this 30-inch one—for safe and vibration-free performance.||A DUCT’S VIEW: On-site examples of dynamometer installations provide engine builders tips on installation for ease of use and optimum performance.|
Land & Sea’s software can identify that sweet spot. “You can program into our software how much test time to spend at each rpm to simulate what you do on the track,” says Bergeron. “The dyno will sum up the area under the curve and give that to you. So once you know what area you want to pay attention to, you can have the dyno automatically focus in that area under the curve. You don’t need to do these things for good engine research, but the tools are there if you choose to take advantage of them.”
Overall track performance is the base of a funnel. That result stems from all the variables. You have to identify cause and effect, and you do that through testing. “If you’re buying a set of cylinder heads, you hope they’re using a flow bench to design those ports first, and then a dynamometer after to prove the design and flow really did improve the engine,” says Bergeron.“
A chassis dyno is a closer [simulation] to the track, so some people think that makes it a better tool, but end users should not use a chassis dyno for items that can be checked on an engine dyno. Check the engine on an engine dyno first. The chassis dyno is for checking things that can only be checked on the chassis dyno.”
Many get that backwards. “You want to test with an engine dyno first, maybe on a chassis dyno, to know how the whole combination works, then you take it to the track and perform the final testing,” says Bergeron. “Front-runners have each item checked as close to its roots as possible.” P