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PLANT

ACEing innovation at UOIT


May 27, 2010
Plant Magazine

Large dynamometer inside the climatic wind tunnel.

Photo: UOIT

Automotive companies, reusable energy developers and others will soon have access to a state-of-the-art research, development and innovation centre at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) in Oshawa.

The 16,300-square-metre General Motors of Canada Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) will be divided into two distinct sections: one for core research and the other for training, says UOIT spokesman Dan Miles.

“A full range of testing facilities will be available in the research section as well as one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated climatic wind tunnels.”

It can generate wind speeds of more than 240 kilometres per hour, and temperatures ranging from -40 to 60 degress C with humidity fluctuating from 5% to 95% anytime of the year. The large rotating chassis dynamometer tests road load and a solar array replicates the effects of the sun.

ACE will also have a four-poster shaker to test products in an up and down motion for durability and the detection of buzz, squeak or rattle. And a multi-axial simulation table will allow researchers to test products for structural durability, noise and vibration using a full range of motion.

The five-floor centre houses offices, laboratories and common work areas with machine tools such as mills, welders, grinders and lathes.

Although ACE has been designed to accommodate cars, trucks and buses, it has the capacity to handle locomotives, military vehicles, aircraft and aerospace components and renewable energy technology such as wind turbines.

But there is also potential for other uses, such as training. Miles says military personnel and rescue crews or competitive athletes could conduct performance testing of outdoor survival gear.

The total cost of the centre will be more than $123 million and it will be available for use by the fall.