Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America (MEAA) is expanding its R&D center in Northville, MI, to provide full engineering, development and testing services for its medium- and heavy -duty truck models sold in the U.S. market. The advanced facility will help customers save time in the development process and get their products to market much faster, said MEAA.
“We have used this facility for several years to develop and test starters for the automotive marketplace,” said Clint McDermott, research & development manager for engine control systems, who manages the center. “Extending our services to include engineering and testing of medium- and heavy-duty starters is a natural extension of the work we do here. “
The R&D facility is situated in a nearly 10,000 sq. ft. building that mirrors MEAA’s main development center in Himeji, Japan.
The Northville R&D center maintains hot and cold chambers where starters can be tested on Class 6, 7 and 8 vehicles, or individually as separate components. The chamber for complete vehicles uses a 300-hp motor to create temperatures from -40 F to 122 F, vary humidity from 5% to 99%, and generate wind speeds of up to 80 miles per hour. The smaller chambers can test starters in temperatures ranging from -100 F to 374 F, McDermott noted.
The facility also is equipped with a solar simulation rack with lights that are one-and-a-half times brighter than the sun. The system can reach maximum temperatures in 40 to 45 minutes. Dynamometers provide testing capabilities that measure starter performance in an accelerated amount of time.
McDermott added that the facility is designed to test six medium- and heavy-duty engines at a time, and engine starters can be cycled 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Also, live engine-testing procedures can be up and running in less than two weeks, including construction of engine stands and other test equipment and modification of engines and controls to comply with the needed testing.