Wednesday, 6 June, 2018: The story of the day came from Swedish proving ground Arctic Falls (Hall 8, stand 8616), which shared details of a brand-new year-round winter indoor test facility that it has just finished developing at its Piteå site near Lulea, Sweden.
Due to officially open on 28 June, Indoor Flex will be the only facility of its kind, offering a 10,000m² (107,640ft²) open-plan design that allows for six or more different track layouts and a variety of testing environments tailored for both tire and full vehicle testing, including circle tracks, handling tracks and NVH tests. It also includes 800m² (8,600ft²) of fully equipped workshops, office spaces and mobile cold chambers for the cooling of vehicles down to -35°C (-31°F), as well as infrastructure for electric vehicle charging. Development of the new facility has led Arctic Falls to hire 10 new fixed employees at the site.
According to CEO Jonas Jalar, the new facility took less than one year to develop, and its first customer is already booked in to use it: “The Indoor Flex project actually started last summer, with ground works commencing in August/September, and our first customer will be a major tire manufacturer later this month.
“With this new facility, we can provide winter all year round, which offers greater possibilities for the industry to develop its products,” continued Jalar. “Obviously, OEMs can and do go to the southern hemisphere to perform this kind of testing, but it’s pretty far away and so we think Indoor Flex offers a convenient opportunity for customers to change their development procedures.”
Combined with Arctic Falls’ existing indoor test facility, Indoor Flex, which can be used separately or in combination with the existing indoor facility, represents the latest phase of an overall €15m (US$17.7m) investment in the proving ground. In total, the company can now offer 16,000m2 (172,200ft2) for winter testing all year round and, according to Jalar, there is the potential to expand the Piteå site further. “We can do more but we haven’t decided what to do yet, we still have to evaluate some more ideas first. But the potential is there.”
Another big story came from long-time exhibitor Siemens (Hall 8, stand 8224), which used Automotive Testing Expo Europe to exclusively announce the latest release of its Simcenter Testlab software, a suite of data collection, analytics and modelling software for test-based performance engineering in the fields of noise and vibration, acoustics and durability.
“Simcenter Testlab offers an integrated end-to-end solution for load data acquisition and processing,” said Guillermo Gonzalez, function and durability manager at Nissan Technical Center Europe, Spain. “The solution accelerates the delivery of critical durability insights when preparing for test rig campaigns or reliable simulations. It’s faster, easier to use and robust.”
Formerly known as LMS Test.Lab software, Simcenter Testlab is designed specifically to offer test teams a complete set of capabilities to help innovate smart products under tight schedules. Developed to answer challenges in test-based engineering, such as shorter testing cycles, conflicting performance requirements, growing product complexity and overall cost reduction, the latest release offers a new user interface with Simcenter Testlab Neo. This next-generation platform sets higher standards in critical focus areas including greater productivity, increased confidence, improved insight and easier collaboration.
Elsewhere on the show floor, Moog’s engineering manager for test systems, Craig Lukomski, revealed that the designer, manufacturer and integrator of precision control components and systems has sold several of its new Test Controllers, several of which are being displayed on stand 1752 in Hall 10.
Designed for automotive test lab managers to improve the quality of test data, speed up tests and reduce the time it takes labs to complete tests, the new 1-32 channel, modular test controller can control both simple and complex hydraulic and electric test systems for component fatigue tests and highly integrated full-vehicle road vibration tests.
“The Moog Test Controller took around three years to develop and six or seven units have already been sold across the world, particularly in Asia to customers in China and India,” said Lukomski. “We’ve sold it to a mix of OEMs, tier suppliers and test houses.”
With the new Test Controller, Moog has eliminated the need for an external programme generator to manually change command signals during a test, ensuring quicker setup so the designated test can start more quickly. “This latest solution offers customers the performance and ease-of-use that will solve everyday test challenges,” added Lukomski.
More news announced on the second day of the show came from Seattle Safety (Hall 8, stand 8004), which is showcasing its new ServoSled 1000 catapult sled system and revealed it has sold one unit to CATARC in China and another to the National University of La Plata in Argentina. The former was set to be installed in July, but due to delays this has now been pushed back, while the latter is scheduled for installation in September. Both sleds are expected to be operational by the end of 2018.
Jon Deex, general manager at Seattle Safety, said, “The original ServoSled is designed for full lock and bodyweight testing, but we realised that there’s a whole market out there that doesn’t need a large-scale sled. The new system is designed for testing smaller payloads, such as child seats and seatbelts, and offers a solution for customers who are looking to spend a little less.”
ServoSled 1000, which took around 15 months to develop, can be fitted into small areas and is equipped with adaptive, closed-loop post-test braking. Furthermore, it can
achieve most regulatory pulses within corridors without the need for practice runs.
“It also does not require a large reaction block mass like for a large-scale system, which would typically require a significant amount of building work where an area may need to be excavated down to 10 or 12ft [3 or 3.7m],” added Deex.
Elsewhere on the show floor, first-time exhibitor ATP Industries (Hall 10, stand 1586) revealed that the company was at Automotive Testing Expo Europe 2018 to gauge interest in its end-of-line tester for electromechanical components. Originally developed to test remanufactured parts produced in-house, the PTM 1220a is fully automated and universal, enabling a whole range of components to be tested in one machine.
“The system took around eight months to create and the beauty of developing it for our own purposes first is that we were able to add in new functionalities and tweak things as we discovered them," explained Nick Anslow, a development engineer at ATP.
Consisting of software and hardware, the PTM 1220a can be broken down into four parts – power supply, an industrial PC, a custom-built PCB with all load components, and a data acquisition card. It can be programmed according to the requirements and is said to be easy to maintain.
"We have never sold our own test equipment before, so we wanted to establish the demand for such a system at the show,” explained Anslow.
More feedback from attendees
"It's been a great show, already by lunchtime on the first day we were pleasantly surprised by the traffic to our stand, said Zach Husted, market manager – service, MTS Systems. “We always get the opportunity to speak with big customers when we're here."
Jon Deex, general manager at Seattle Safety, said: "Our goal is mainly to meet with existing contacts, however it's more important that we're able to sit down and have long discussions with the right people, rather than simply having lots of traffic. And that's what we get here at Automotive Testing Expo Europe: quality and quantity."
Visitor Johannes Ossinger, an engineer at BMW M, said: “This is undoubtedly the most targeted trade fair that I’ve been to. I’ve been to others and sometimes you get the feeling that not all the companies there should be, but the selection of exhibitors here is ideal for anyone interested specifically in automotive testing.”
Albert Burgstaller, team leader at Bertrandt, was impressed with the new layout of the show, which for the first time ever is being held across two halls of the Stuttgart Messe. “I’ve been coming to this event for many years and I can’t believe how big it’s grown. The fact that you now have to host it in two halls says everything about how important testing is and continues to be. I can only think that, with the emergence of autonomous vehicles, you’ll see an even greater demand for testing services and products.”
Finally, Daniele Ausili, a test engineer for HSD, said: “I came here to find new solutions to help aid the increasing level of digitisation my job involves, and I’ve held some extremely productive conversations with companies such as Dewetron about how their products can help simplify and speed up test processes. It’s been great.”
The third and final day of Automotive Testing Expo Europe 2018 will open on Thursday, 7 June at 10:00hrs (CET) and close at 15:00hrs (CET)