Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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New automotive research facility in Oshawa takes shape at UOIT


January 29, 2010
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Only months away from opening as the first research, development and innovation centre of its kind in the world, the Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) is taking shape on the Oshawa campus of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT).

ACE will offer a full range of testing facilities under one roof, including one of the largest and most sophisticated climatic wind tunnels on the planet.

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"When completed later this year, industry leaders, researchers and students will collaborate to create, test, and validate some of the most innovative products in the world, including the next generation of clean and green vehicles and energy systems," said Dr. George Bereznai, dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. "ACE will not only generate paradigm-shifting research, it will prepare the students of today for the jobs of tomorrow."

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.

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The core research facility will offer a climatic wind tunnel capable of wind speeds in excess of 240 km/h, temperatures ranging from – 40 C to 60 C and the ability to create humidity from five to 95 per cent. 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 effect, the tunnel will be capable of simulating extreme conditions such as driving a car up a steep mountain road in dry desert heat or through the middle of an Arctic blizzard.

"The potential of ACE is limitless," said Dr. Bereznai. "It is large enough 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 and competitive athletes; to carry out performance testing of outdoor survival gear; to assist the movie industry; and test products that are subject to severe wind, humidity, snow, ice or desert heat."

ACE 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), and the governments of Ontario and Canada.
www.ace.uoit.ca