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Ricardo expands test facilities in Germany

 A US$5.6 milion expansion of Ricardo’s test facilities in Schechingen, Germany has just been opened, designed to develop the next generation of low emissions, high fuel efficiency engines for vehicles ranging from heavy-duty trucks to high-performance motorcycles.

The German subsidiary of Ricardo, Ricardo Deutschland GmbH, has seen a sustained rise in the demand for its engineering services over the past three years, particularly for projects carried out for heavy duty truck and motorcycle manufacturers. To meet the additional requirements for advanced testing generated by this growth in business, the company opened the new 800m2 extension to its powertrain test facilities at Schechingen, close to the headquarters of Ricardo Deutschland GmbH in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Southern Germany.

Flexibility was a key consideration in the design of the expanded test facility. With test bed capacities of up to 610kW power and 3500Nm torque, it is particularly suited to the demands of heavy-duty diesel engine development and associated advanced aftertreatment technologies, such as selective catalytic reduction and lean NOx trap systems, that are likely to be required to meet Euro VI emissions. At the same time, with dynamometer speeds of up to 10,000rpm and a dedicated dynamic tilting test bed enabling oil circuit development for the strong lateral G-forces experienced in some high-performance and motorsport applications, this same test facility will equally be able to support the rapid expansion of the company’s motorcycle and small, high-performance engine business.

The facility now features an additional two fully transient powertrain test cells – bringing the total for the facility to 15 – incorporating the latest Horiba/STARS control systems, together with a range of advanced exhaust measurement technologies, including spectrographic analysis. In addition to this, the facility will include an 800kW hot gas component test cell for the development of specialist exhaust systems for premium products and exhaust heat recovery technologies, as well as a new powertrain assembly area and office accommodation.

The extension also includes space for a further two high-specification powertrain test cells, one of which is due to be commissioned in early 2010. Furthermore, the company has acquired an additional 4,000 square meters of land adjacent to the test center to accommodate further expansion in the coming years, in order to further support the future growth of its business.

Commenting on completion of this new phase of investment, Ricardo Deutschland managing director, Peter Heuser, said: “Ricardo has enjoyed a period of dramatic expansion of its engineering service business in Germany over the past three years and it is important that we are able to offer our customers access to a comprehensive range of flexible and technically advanced test facilities to support their product development programs. Our investment in this newly expanded test facility will provide, for example, a crucial enabling capability in assisting our heavy duty customers to achieve the requirements of Euro VI emissions, as well as our passenger car customers to meet the European goal of achieving a 130g/km CO2 fleet average.”
 


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