New product debuts bring in record levels of attendance
Demonstrating that vehicle manufacturers and component suppliers require ever more advanced time compression development technologies, systems and services that ensure high-quality products, this year’s Automotive Testing Expo Europe played host to 330 technology exhibits and numerous exciting project and investment announcements live on the show floor.
Almost 7,000 attendees were treated to the very latest test, evaluation and quality engineering technologies designed to help with the ultimate aim of eliminating recalls. These included details of mm-lab’s two new projects in Europe for the installation of its Proving Ground Management System (PGMS) and Collision Awareness System (CAVE). Both systems are being implemented at a proving ground in northern Sweden, with full operation scheduled in early November. More than 400 test vehicles on-site will be equipped with onboard units, which will run on a public wireless network.
And at a facility in south Germany the company has received an order for installation of the PGMS and CAVE, for which more than 500 vehicles will be outfitted with onboard units. Of the German facility, Steffan Firchau, project manager, said, “This client would like to use the whole range of functionality, including the safety functionality, booking, invoicing and usage recording, as well as the collision awareness.
“The pilot phase of the project is due to begin in September. It will be introduced in phases due to the fact that much of the infrastructure still needs to be put in place, such as the wireless network; also, the facility is currently in the process of constructing some roads and facilities. Full operation is expected at the end of 2018.”
Elsewhere on the show floor, AICON 3D Systems discussed its commercial agreement with Humanetics, which has seen Humanetics become the exclusive provider of the AICON dummy positioning and pre- and post-crash measurement systems.
Using the dummy positioning system, crash test dummies can be positioned for complete vehicle crashes, sled testing and calibration with less preparation time. All points marked on the crash test dummy (head, H-point, knees) are simultaneously captured, and deviations from the target position are displayed in real time. The handheld ProCam system is used for the pre- and post-crash measurement of crash vehicles to detect interior and exterior deformations.
Werner Boseman, CEO of AICON, said, “Humanetics is the perfect partner to promote these two systems. While AICON will continue to provide its core 3D camera technology for both products, Humanetics has the scale, global network and sector experience to make these two products market leaders in the vehicle safety testing sector.”
Meanwhile, discussions at the Exova stand included details of the company’s recent contract extension with technology group Laird. Extending the agreement for 2017, testing company Exova will conduct product design and production validation testing for automotive company Smart Antennas at Exova’s Warren, Michigan laboratory in the USA, with support from its site at Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
Exova will conduct all environmental testing for Laird’s North American automotive products. This includes simulation testing utilising environmental chambers; water spray/drip testing; corrosion testing; and vibration testing utilising electrodynamic shakers. The testing will initially validate the new design of a product, followed by validation of the production process.
The company has made investments at its Warren laboratory to support the work required for this contract, including the acquisition of several environmental chambers and water spray cabinets, as well as two electrodynamic shaker systems with environmental chambers. Additionally, Exova has increased capabilities in mixed flow gas testing, which will reduce outsource costs and improve turnaround.
More news on the final day of the show came from Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), which used new emissions regulations due to come into place in 2020 as context to promote a suite of new facilities at the Homologation & Technology Centre (HTC) in Chakan near Pune in India.
“There we have a Centre of Excellence for powertrain development, a facility for fatigue and materials testing and a passive safety lab, which has been operational for 18 months now; many OEMs are taking advantage of that facility,” said N B Dhande, senior deputy director, head of business development and corporate planning.
The materials and fatigue lab at HTC, which was established a year ago, is equipped with advanced infrastructure, such as a climatic multi-axis simulation table, climatic MAST facility, a climatic four-post rig for LCVs and passenger cars, universal test benches that operate at 500kN and an HPS system, which operates at 2,600lpm, expandable to 4,000lpm and 210bar.
In the powertrain lab there are climatic vehicle test cells, 4WD chassis dynos supplied by AVL, a climatic soak room that has temperature control from -30°C to 52°C, mileage accumulation test cells and an advance shed facility.
Dhande added, “A new gearbox test facility is also currently being commissioned and is expected to be open in the next six months. In addition, as part of phase two of the expansion plans, a centre of excellence in hybrid and electric vehicle testing is being established at HTC. This facility will house a range of motor testbeds, battery testing and analysis systems and HCV dynos for electric buses in addition to advanced engine testbeds.”
Visitors to the Stuttgart Messe were united in their praise of the diversity of products on display, as well as the networking opportunities that the expo presented. Dario Miotello, ADAS test engineer, AVL, Italy, enthused, “I work in the ADAS testing field so this show has been ideal for meeting companies offering new innovations that help speed up validation, such as AB Dynamics’ soft guided target.”
Klaus Huber, simulation engineer, Deutsche Accumotive,was particularly delighted with the quality and breadth of the presentations given at the Open Technology Forum:“I’ve witnessed some great talks this year. One in particular, given by the University of Turin, on the changes being made to in-vehicle electronic architecture, was fascinating, especially as it relates to what I do.”
Other visitors had their eyes on various technologies to help with their operational and environmental needs: “We produce diesel engines so attending this show is really important in terms of discovering the latest emissions test equipment,” said Dora Karedla, general manager, TVS Motor.
Exhibitors were equally pleased with the quality of the event. Dr Hiroshi Nakamura, president of Horiba Europe, said, “Automotive Testing Expo Europe is one of the most important events in the world for us because European OEMs are always leading the technology, so it’s a great opportunity for us to get our products in front of them and to receive their feedback.”
Tom Elworthy, managing director of New Zealand-based Southern Hemisphere Proving Ground, extended Nakamura’s sentiment, commenting on the importance of his company’s exhibiting at the event in the face of increased competition from Europe-based indoor winter test facilities.
“That’s always been on the table and we knew that when we got involved in the business 12 years ago but there’s an awful lot of cars to be tested. The demand for testing is actually growing; customers that would normally bring five or six cars are bringing 35 cars, with as many as 80-90 people. So, it’s good to be here to touch base with our customers, especially the ones we don’t necessarily see every year. We’re here to remind them that we’re ready to support them in the future.”
Dennis Marcus, commercial manager, Cruden, summed up why his company will be back next year for the 20thanniversary of Automotive Testing Expo Europe, which will take place 5-8 June and will be hosted across two halls for the very first time: “It’s very collaborative between exhibitors and visitors. We’re all working on what’s coming next and nobody knows it all, so we’ve found ourselves grilling people for information, too. I go to a lot of trade shows and this one is really good for collaborative learning.”