Local entrepreneurs and business people will soon be able to create, test and validate some of the most innovative products in the world without ever having to leave the Greater Oshawa Area. A new Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) is being built on the north campus of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). This will be the first research, development and innovation centre of its kind in the world, and it will be available to businesses and researchers on a rental basis.
ACE will be a multi-level centre with an area of approximately 13,585 square metres. It will be divided into two distinct sections, a core research facility and an integrated research and training facility. [Photo Left] During a recent media tour of ACE, people stopped to view the outside of the climatic wind tunnel. The wind tunnel is three stories high and is one of the largest and most sophisticated on the planet. [More photos continued on page 2]
The core research facility will offer a full range of testing facilities including one of the largest and most sophisticated climatic wind tunnels on the planet. In this test chamber wind speeds could exceed 240 km/h, temperatures could range from -40C to 60C and humidity could fluctuate from 5% to 95% anytime of the year. The wind tunnel will also have a large rotating chassis dynamometer to test road load and a solar array to replicate the effects of the sun. In the climatic wind tunnel you could simulate conditions like driving a car up a steep mountain road in dry desert heat or in the middle of an arctic blizzard.
The climatic wind tunnel is designed to accommodate hydrogen powered vehicle testing. Hydrogen will be supplied directly to a vehicle in the wind tunnel from a trailer located outside.
The core research facility will also have two environmental chambers that will allow for a variety of tests under controlled conditions of temperature and humidity. For example, you could test the ability of a car to start after sitting in extreme cold or heat for a long period of time. The large environmental chamber will also have a solar array and a chassis dynamometer.
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. It will also have a multi-axial simulation table (MAST) which will allow researchers to test products for structural durability and the detection of noise and vibration using a full range of motion.
The integrated research and training facility will span five floors with space dedicated for research, education and training. It will have offices, laboratories and common work areas with machine tools like mills, welders, grinders and lathes. This facility will help foster an environment for collaboration and interaction between industry, researchers and students.
The potential of ACE is limitless. It has been designed to accommodate cars, trucks and buses, but it also has the capacity to accommodate locomotives, aircraft components and alternative energy technology such as wind turbines. Furthermore, ACE has the potential to be used to train military personnel, rescue crews, or competitive athletes, to carry out performance testing of outdoor survival gear, to assist the movie industry or test products that are subject to severe wind, humidity, snow, ice or desert heat.
ACE is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in 2010. It will operate as an independent test facility, available to manufacturers of all descriptions, start-up companies and researchers in Canada and around the globe. When funding for all aspects of the facility is secured, the total project cost will be more than $123 million.
ACE is being developed in partnership with UOIT, General Motors of Canada Ltd., the Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education (PACE), the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada.
To learn more about ACE, or to take a tour of the facility please visit www.ace.uoit.ca.