Test Equipment Nederland BV

From 2021 the particle counter will be introduced in different countries. The soot emissions of Euro 5 and 6 diesel vehicles must then be measured with this new tester. What is involved? We are happy to explain it to you!

Test Equipment Nederland BV (TEN) has been developing and producing exhaust gas emission equipment since 1985. We do this with a group of enthusiastic colleagues in Baambrugge, located in the area of Amsterdam. Every year we produce between 5,000 and 6,000 emission testers, which are largely exported. TEN has an international dealer network that is responsible for local sales and aftersales of TEN workshop equipment.

Why a particle counter?

Soot particles are produced during combustion in the diesel engine of a car. These soot particles are emitted into the air through the exhaust pipe. Soot particles have a negative effect on people's health because they end up in the human body through the lungs. To reduce the emission of soot particles from engines, modern diesel cars are equipped with a soot filter. Soot filters are very effective: a properly functioning filter reduces the emission of soot from diesel passenger cars by 95 to 99%.

However, a DPF filter can become clogged up or broken. The filter must then be cleaned or replaced. In particular, replacing a DPF filter can be a costly affair. Car owners choose sometimes to remove the filter. The removal of a DPF filter is also offered as part of chip tuning of vehicles.

In the current MOT, modern diesel vehicles with a soot filter are checked for emissions by reading the On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) system. A soot measurement must be carried out on older diesel vehicles. With this soot measurement, which has been carried out for decades, only cars with very high emissions are rejected.

When physically removing the DPF filter, the filter is also programmed "away” in the car's software. As a result, a removed filter is not noticed in the OBD check. As a result, it is not possible to determine in the current MOT that a DPF filter has been removed.

Because DPF filters reduce the particle emissions of diesel vehicles by a factor of 20 to 50, the removal of DPF filters has a strong negative effect on air quality. It is therefore important to ensure that particulate filters remain installed during the life of the vehicle and that they continue to function properly.

Checking for removed soot filters in the MOT is only possible if the requirements become stricter and a new, more accurate test method is introduced.

What is a particle counter?

Opacity meters have become more accurate over the years, but in particular with modern diesel vehicles where soot emissions are very low, the smoke meter is insufficient.

The emission of a properly functioning Euro 6 diesel engine is, partly due to the soot filter, very low. The soot particles that are emitted are very small, on average around 80 nm. They are not perceptible with the eye. A particle counter (or PN meter) can detect these particles and thus indicate that the diesel vehicle still meets the regulations.

This particle counter is very advanced and has state-of-the-art techniques that are capable of detecting the small nanoparticles. The particles are indicated in # / cm3 (particles per cubic cm). A diesel engine with a properly functioning DPF filter emits fewer than 20,000 particles. A diesel engine with a defective filter can emit millions of particles!

How does a particle counter work?

The current soot measurement as we know it in the MOT is performed with a free acceleration. The accelerator pedal must be depressed to the maximum and this is how the maximum smoke emission is measured. Certainly in the early years of soot measurement, this caused many annoyances and problems.

With the new particle counter, this free acceleration is a thing of the past. A particle counter measures at idle speed and will therefore be friendlier to use. The engine will of course have to be at operating temperature before the measurement, in order to guarantee correct operation of the soot filter. A separate speed measurement will not be necessary.

When will the TEN particle counter be available?

This depends on various factors. First of all, there must be legislation! A guideline will also be written in which the technical requirements of a particle counter are described. Consider the accuracy of such a tester. Various working groups, governments and other authorities have been working on these aspects for quite some time.

 As soon as everything is set, the manufacturers can complete their development and a type test can be requested.

The expectation is that we will be able to offer our particle counter to the NMi early 2020. A type approval usually takes a few months. The devices can then be produced in our modern production department.