The 14th annual Advanced Engine Technology Conference (AETC) saw a return to the Antlers Adam’s Mark, in downtown Colorado Springs, CO, Jan. 8-11. The return to this facility, though higher priced than those used in the recent past, was requested by a poll of last year’s attendees because of the higher quality of the hotel itself and its close proximity to the nightlife available in the downtown area. Consequently, attendance at this year’s event was up almost 40 percent from last year.
For those of you in the engine performance business who have never attended one of these conferences, you owe it to yourself – and your business – to do so. Not only are the presentations informative and entertaining, the access to key people in this industry, both to answer questions and for networking, is quite remarkable.
Each day is scheduled with both morning and noon meals and a 30-minute break after each presentation, all of which are structured to encourage participants to take advantage of the networking opportunities. Not only can you corner one of the presentation speakers with your questions, but the list of non-speaker, industry leaders that you can interrogate is quite lengthy as well.
Evening activities offer additional networking opportunities, as groups congregate throughout the downtown area. In addition to these “in person” opportunities, as part of the registration package, you also get an attendance list with everyone’s name and phone number, so if you come across a question you would like to ask after the conference is over, just “let your fingers do the walking.”
Registration day activities always include product demonstrations at SuperFlow, and the company holds some of its own seminars at the hotel. SuperFlow’s WinDyn Software was discussed from 1 pm to 2 pm, the use of flow benches from 2:30 to 3:30, and dynamometer testing from 4 pm to 5 pm Thusday. From 5:30 to 6:30, a panel discussion on failure analysis was convened, and the day ended with an evening reception hosted by Popular Hot Rodding magazine.
Breakfast was served each day at 7 am, and Friday’s first seminar was on new developments in wet flow technology presented jointly by Darin Morgan of Reher-Morrison and Joe Mondello of Mondello Technical School. Morgan and Mondello illustrated how using a fluorescent dye in a fluid, combined with a black light and slow motion photography, produced very graphic displays of good and bad wet flow characteristics in a cylinder head. Darin said that he was able to gain over 20 additional horsepower in his company’s Pro Stock effort by improvements made in wet flow.
After the intermission, Larry Atherton of ProRacing Sim Software gave us a brief history of “paper engine” simulation techniques, and demonstrated his next generation software for computer simulation of four-cycle engines. DynoSim, which is a follow-up development of Desk Top Dyno (1995) and PC Dyno Simulator (1998), is now one of a trio of simulation software products offered by Atherton, which also include DragSim drag strip simulation, and FastLapSim road race simulation. These new generation products feature improved graphic layouts, improved accuracy, and easier to use screens. Future offerings from ProRacing Sim Software include a sport compact DynoSim, VETC modeling, forced induction modeling, a Windows based Dynomation (currently DOS based), valve train dynamics and others.
After lunch and some more networking, Tim Meara of Sunnen Products Company kicked off the afternoon session. Recognized as one of the industry’s foremost experts in engine cylinder honing, Meara discussed the latest methodology surrounding cylinder bore preparation, including hot honing.
To give you some idea of the level of perfection being obtained with this technique, Meara cited an SB2 NASCAR block that was hot honed. Measured at 220