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2012 Awards winners announced!

We reveal the winners of the Automotive Testing Technology International Awards 2012!


Engine Test Facility of the Year
Winner: Cummins Turbo Technologies

As reported in the September 2012 issue of Automotive Testing Technology, a unique test cell, designed and developed by Cummins Turbo Technologies in Huddersfield, UK, could bring the prospect of cleaner, more frugal truck engines without alternators within the next five to six years. The US$1 million facility is key to CTT’s development of waste heat turbine expanders that can recover significant amounts of energy from waste engine heat and deliver it as mechanical or electrical power.

“We are delighted to be recognized as the Engine Test Facility of the Year,” says Jonathan Wood, executive director – research and engineering at Cummins Turbo Technologies. “Innovative and highly capable testing technology is a key requirement to drive our advanced product development. Cummins recently revealed a suite of future technology solutions aimed at improving the fuel efficiency of commercial diesel engines by at least 6%. This test facility is a major part of this development and confirmation of our ongoing commitment to offer OEMs a choice of solutions for delivering engine efficiency improvements.”

Jury member Tristan Honeywill explains why Cummins’ new facility is such a worthy winner: “This was a complex technical challenge met with sound, environmentally conscious solutions,” he said. “The strength of the company’s in-house engineering was impressive and the result is a unique test cell that will enable Cummins to produce technologies to make truck engines more efficient. It deserves recognition for demonstrating clearly how advances in testing are often the first link in a chain of advances in other technologies.”

Also shortlisted:
Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE), Melbourne
University of Bath
GM, Turin


Person of the Year
Winner: Tom Overington, Ford

This year’s Person of the Year is Tom Overington, Ford’s global B-car safety project manager, based at the engineering and research center in Dunton, UK.

Overington receives his award in recognition for his work in ensuring the new European-market Ford B-MAX’s easy-access door system meant no compromise in occupant safety. To achieve this, the safety team developed unique crash-test equipment and implemented a unique test procedure in order to prove out the structural integrity of the vehicle in a variety of different crash modes.

The B-segment MPV has a door system that integrates the central body pillar into the hinged front door and sliding rear door to create easy access for passengers to the vehicle. The five-year testing program included 5,000 virtual collisions along with 40 real-life, full-vehicle crashes, and another 100 tests where the car was mounted on a sled and accelerated into a barrier. It took three years to hone the rear-door safety and the testing process also included the construction of a bespoke rig system used to test the reinforced latches supplied with the car.

“It gives me great pleasure to accept this award on behalf of the engineering teams, both in the UK and Germany, who have worked on the Ford B-MAX,” says Overington. “I have been involved with the development of B-MAX from the very beginning of the project and now after the launch it’s great to see the positive reaction from customers and the media to its innovative door system.

“The ingenious design of the B-MAX was always going to pose significant challenges to the safety teams involved in the development of the product but, through the use of the most advanced materials, design, analysis, and testing techniques, we were able to bring the concept to reality, meeting our stringent safety targets. This achievement was endorsed by Euro NCAP, who awarded the B-MAX their maximum 5-star rating, describing its safety performance as “uncompromised”. The B-MAX also received two Advanced Rewards from Euro NCAP for the Active City Stop and SYNC with Emergency Assistance features, again showing Ford’s commitment to bringing features usually associated with large and luxury vehicles onto their smaller cars.”

Also shortlisted:
Dierk Arp, managing director, Messring Systembau GmbH
Ulrich Hackenberg, Volkswagen
Jacques Prost, Renault


CAE Innovation of the Year
Winner: nCode – DesignLife

This innovative solution for predicting the fatigue of composites was introduced in 2012 with an initial focus in the area of engineering plastics, such as short-fiber polymers, commonly used in the automotive industry.

With lightweight composite structures on the cusp of breaking into the automotive mainstream, now is certainly the time for advanced tools such as DesignLife to show what they can do. Designing for energy efficient vehicles requires an increased use of lightweight materials, but not to the detriment of design reliability and durability. Up-front design tools such as nCode DesignLife can be used in order to maximize the likelihood of successful physical testing.

“We are honored to be recognized for our commitment to developing cutting-edge CAE fatigue analysis software,” says Jon Aldred, HBM-nCode director of product management. “The nCode brand is focused on delivering expertise in durability, test, and analysis solutions that can be used to solve real-world design problems and accelerate the product development.”

Also shortlisted:
CAPE – Airbag modeling
ORME – TrackImage and TrackReport software
Redviking Engineering – RedRaven software


Proving Ground of the Year
Winner: Test World

This long-time winter testing favorite has just opened a new indoor winter-tire testing facility. The huge, closely climate-controlled building in Ivalo, Finland, removes the vagaries of the winter climate from the testing equation, resulting in more predictable and repeatable results. Phase 2 of the development, which is planned for 2014, will focus on vehicle handling development.

“Test World is very excited to receive the Proving Ground of
the Year award,” says managing director, Harri Eskelinen, who first drew up plans to build an indoor winter test facility as a student more than a decade ago.

“Winter testing is always a constant battle with both timing and the elements. Even if the calendar says ‘winter’ there is always a possibility of weather being too cold, too warm, too windy, too snowy, too humid, or too sunny! Everyone who works in business know this. During the winter season, the track maintenance team works 24/7 on Test World’s proving ground in Ivalo to guarantee the best possible test environment for our customers. Now we are able to do even more by launching our pioneering indoor test facility,” says Eskelinen.

“Test World Indoor phase 1 gives testers freedom from the season and weather,” he adds. “In addition to being independent of weather forecasts or timing, the objective tests have been very successful, with low deviation and excellent repeatability. And we have no plans to stop here. Indoor phase 2 is currently being designed.”

See the November issue of Automotive Testing Technology International magazine for more information. 

Also shortlisted:
Colmis Proving Ground

Crash Test Facility of the Year
Winner: Transport Canada, Blainville

In its first full year of operation, Transport Canada’s CA$15 million, 5,300m2 test center has been producing crash test results that, it claims, are the most accurate in the world. Built by Messring and available to third-party customers, this flexible car-to-car facility can test vehicles weighing up to 40 tons. Results of a program of perpendicular and oblique pole tests will provide technical support to the side-impact Global Technical Regulation that is under development. For more details, refer to the March 2012 issue of Automotive Testing Technology.

“For Messring this is a great success story,” says CEO, Dierk Arp. “No other facility in the world works as accurately and reliably at such a high level. I would like to express my gratitude to all the responsible people at PMG and to all
the members of our Messring team who helped to make the Crash Test Facility of the Year 2012 award a reality.”

Also shortlisted:
KATRI, Korea
Thatcham Research, UK
Volvo Cars Safety Centre, Gothenburg


Hardware Innovation of the Year
Winner: Horiba – Mexa-One

This year’s winner in the Hardware Innovation category reflects the fact that emissions reduction remains the number one priority for the world’s car makers.

The latest evolution of the Mexa range sees a host of changes and revisions to the unit that Horiba claims makes the Mexa-One a “highly accurate, reliable emissions measurement solution”. Following in the footsteps of the Mexa-7000 series, itself selling over 4,000 units over its 15-year lifecycle, the Mexa-One is able to support a full range of sampling requirements for raw exhaust, dilute exhaust, EGR, and trace gas measurements. In addition to this, Horiba states that for an average 12-hour day operation cycle over 200 days per year, electricity usage is reduced by 10% compared with the predecessor model.

Accepting the award, Ken Mitera, general manager, Horiba Automotive Test Systems, The Americas, commented:

"We are honored to receive an award for the hardware design of the new Mexa-One Motor Exhaust Gas Analyzer. This system is the result of 50 years of experience and partnership with industry, academia and regulatory bodies.

"Since Horiba produced the first Mexa system in 1964, we have continued to establish new standards for vehicle emissions analysis and a healthier environment. Mexa-One's hardware innovations are numerous. These include a more robust design, enhanced sample handing, and maximum system availability via a front-access door. In addition, this system features a fully-integrated operating platform. Combined, these refinements result in shorter test times, significant consumable cost reductions, and improved overall test efficiency.”

Also shortlisted:
Aries – AVAT autonomous vehicle for ADAS testing
EYE Lighting/Iwasaki Electric – LED lights
National Instruments – Drivven C Series engine control modules
SPX Thermal Product Solutions – Tenney C-EVO


Company of the Year
Winner: Cummins Turbo Technologies

All the category winners, except Person of the Year, are submitted to the jury for a final vote for the overall Company of the Year. For 2012, this much coveted title has gone to Cummins Turbo Technologies for its new test cell in Huddersfield, UK.

“In its quest to improve engine efficiency by recovering waste heat, Cummins Turbo Technologies are pushing the boundaries of R&D,” summed up jury member, Keith Read. “And without proprietary test equipment it has had to design, build, and finance its own successful engine test facility.”

Also shortlisted:
Transport Canada, Blainville
Test World
nCode – DesignLife
Horiba – Mexa-One


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