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No-compromise electronic desmo valve engine

Camcon digital intelligent valve actuation engine

Imagine taking the Ducati desmodromic valve system and adding electronic control that provides brief bursts of two-stroke power!

The result could be a motorcycle engine that delivers great low-down torque as well as high-end power, without compromise.

British company Camcon Automotive has produced just such an engine.

They claim their electronic Intelligent Valve Actuation (IVA) system provides more power and torque, better fuel economy and lower emissions.

IVA also does away with timing belts and valve springs, so the engine would be lighter and, theoretically, less expensive to service.

While the project is a collaboration with Jaguar Land Rover, IVA has a lot of potential in motorcycles and would help save the internal combustion engine from being shelved by “clean” electric power.

The only drawback is they would make engines slightly more expensive to manufacture.

How Intelligent Valve Actuation worksCamcon digital intelligent valve actuation engine

The system uncouples the valves from the crankshaft and uses electronic motors to operate open and close miniature camshafts on each valve via a desmodromic mechanical system.

They say this gives them unlimited possibilities to open and close the valves in a variety of ways.

Camcon has just introduced a version of the IVA tech that runs in single-cylinder engines, but the system can also be used in any type of multi-cylinder engine.

Camcon digital intelligent valve actuation engine
IVA can be used in any engine configuration

They have so far only used IVA on the inlet valves, but say it is also possible on the exhaust valves.

IVA monitors the position of the crankshaft to perfectly synchronise and control valve timing, lift and duration.

It goes way further than variable valve timing which Honda and Ducati have introduced to their motorcycles.

Camcon COO Mark Gostick says IVA is now possible because of modern electronics is economical, has the necessary processing bandwidth and can reliably tolerate hot conditions.

  1. As with all the technological innovations beginning for me with CDI ignitions, I’m impressed & can’t wait to experience IVA 🙂

  2. Would it eliminate the need to adjust valve clearances? That would save a lot of time and money.

  3. Problem with valves is the obstruction to flow and behavior of compressible gasses as sure is. Over Mach 0.3 it’s loosing energy into compression at valve head, energy needed for turbulent combustion speed enhancement and filling cylinders this is why the torque curve drops off at half local speed of sound. You can in an unobstructed intake system use gas compression/expansion to advantage increasing both filling and Turbulent burning rate and it was developed in Australia, the Bishop rotary valve actually needed less ignition advance as engine speed increased without phasing valve more air entering as it cought up with piston at BDC the higher flow rate filing cylinder as piston went into compressing with higher energy generating greater Turbulent kinetic energy leading to faster combustion.

  4. Still has interference issue with piston near TDC. Hot exhaust valve causing detonation especially as it makes tumble vortices generation difficult and that’s now known to reduce/eliminating Detonation. Complex cooling galleries in head effect flow and pressure drop, difficult to cast ones that don’t.
    Lots of external supporting infrastructure difficult packaging for motorcycle.
    Parasitic power losses would be high. Energy reciprocating Panigale valves at redline huge near 8kw per intake valve.

  5. Hmmm, interesting.
    I suppose Camcon has to tread carefully as there would loads of patents for all manner of weird and wonderful mechanisms to operate valves. Maybe sleeve valves or rotary valves will make a “coming-soon-to-an-engine-near-you” comeback.
    When it comes to reciprocating piston engines, there is not much new under the sun. Ongoing advances in material science and computing make some older ideas more attractive now.
    The Camcon system reminds me of what Lucas was doing in the 1970s although as I recall Lucas used big solenoids to directly operate each valve.
    Lucas’s main problem was that the mass of the valve and the mass of the moving bits of the solenoid limited rpm. As the revs rise, milliseconds make a difference particularly when whatever variable valve timing/lift system you use is also part of the engine throttling system.
    Camcon’s electric motors don’t seem (to me, armchair engineer that I am) to be much better as there is now the rotating mass of the motor armature, the rotating mass of the cam and the reciprocating masses of the desmo fingers to add the reciprocating mass of the valve. Of course the cam and motor armature do not always rotate, they can also be made to rotate back and forth for low lift/duration situations as shown in their video, but that hardly helps.

    On the other hand, I have never seen a perfect valve actuation system and probably never will.

  6. It’s not what I imagined such a system would look like. I was thinking a simple electric solenoid controlling each valve.

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