When one thinks about countries noted for their automobiles, thoughts usually turn to Germany, Italy, France, and, of course, the U.S. India as an automotive manufacturer seldom comes to mind. But a joint project by the government of India, a number of state governments, and the Indian Automotive Industry may change all that.
Their combined effort has led to the establishment of centers that are part of the National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRiP). That project is targeting basic automotive R&D, component testing, and validation procedures to ensure compliance with national and international automotive standards. The goal of the project is to move India into a prominent position in the global automotive market.
NATRiP facilities also aim to boost automotive-part manufacturing and exports from India. OEMs, along with Tier 1 and 2 component suppliers, can use the testing facilities to help make automotive products that meet specifications in the world market.
One of the suppliers of test equipment in the centers is the Industrial Group of Moog Inc., Elma, N.Y. It is providing servohydraulic test equipment, including simulation tables (also known as multiaxis shaker tables or MASTs), tire-coupled simulators, universal test benches, and hydraulic power units. This test equipment can simulate on-road load conditions in the laboratory for small components or full-sized vehicles.
Each MAST consists of a six-degree-of-freedom table that can replicate the vibrations, frequencies, and impacts of a vehicle traveling on a highway. Automotive simulators can easily recreate 10-g shock loads.
In addition, the hydraulics are paired with environmental chambers that let test engineers dial in different climates. For example, the chambers can create temperature swings from -45 to 80°C over a 2-hr period, while maintaining humidity levels from 10 to 90%. This isn’t quite the range needed to produce rain in the chamber, but it can create fog. The chambers also let engineers check component resistance to sunlight. The artificial sun within the chamber can generate 1,350 W/m2.
According to Terence Miranda, program manager for NATRiP, the centers can replicate 1,000 customer-equivalent miles for every hour under test. Manually driven tests usually only average approximately 50 mph, and so it would take 20 hr of driving time to replicate 1,000 miles of wear and tear.
All equipment uses the same controllers and software for safety, reproducibility, and simpler maintenance.