Automotive Testing Expo 2019 sets new standard

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Proving yet again that Automotive Testing Expo Europe is the world’s largest and greatest gathering of automotive test and development experts, this year’s event – which for the first time saw the rapidly expanding Autonomous Vehicle Technology Expo, featuring numerous AV and ADAS test solution providers, conveniently relocated next door in Hall 6 – welcomed more than 480 exhibitors and a record number of attendees over the full three days of the event.

There were also two free-to-attend Technology Demonstration Areas, a brand-new Powertrain Testing Conference (staged at the neighboring Engine Expo + The Powertrain Technology Show), plus the pay-to-attend Autonomous Vehicle Test & Development Symposium – further ensuring this year’s event was undoubtedly the biggest and best yet, in every way!

Thus, Automotive Testing Expo Europe 2019 saw more brand-new, cutting-edge test, evaluation and quality engineering technologies launched than ever before, as well as numerous exciting projects and investments announced live on the show floor.

These included an exciting announcement from Konrad Technologies about a brand-new test method co-developed with simulator manufacturer and Autonomous Vehicle Technology Expo exhibitor VI-grade.

The ‘DIL with Sensor Fusion Test’ comprises a VI-grade Driver-in-Motion 150 simulator fitted with real radar and camera sensors from Konrad Technologies to enable human drivers to experience SAE Level 3 ADAS functions, such as autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and more in the laboratory setting.

When asked why the two companies had chosen to announce the new development at Automotive Testing Expo Europe 2019, Ram Mirwani, director of global business development ­– ADAS, Konrad Technologies, said: “Presenting the joint-development effort at this show provided the best platform to reach automotive engineers who understand the depth of the technology application and share our excitement.”

Another exclusive announcement made live on the show floor came from MTS Systems, which revealed it has commissioned a Flat-Trac Handling Roadway at the world-renowned Research Institute for Automotive Engineering and Vehicle Engines Stuttgart (FKFS).

Designed to enable faster evaluation of vehicle performance during innumerable real-world driving scenarios, the Flat-Trac Handling Roadway’s multi-axial simulation system has been engineered to subject complete or partial vehicles to a full spectrum of maneuvers in controlled and repeatable laboratory settings.

Global warming remains a major issue for the automotive industry – one that is bigger than just emissions. Weiss Technik therefore presented a new refrigerant to replace R23 in deep-freeze testing chambers. Named WT69, the new refrigerant is the result of several years of development by Weiss Technik and Dresden University of Technology and is claimed to have 90% lower global warning potential than R23.

Meanwhile, other companies used this year’s show to highlight the challenges they face in an increasingly competitive and transformative industry. Colmis, for example, discussed how it plans to reverse the adverse effect that its extreme geographical location – in northern Sweden’s Arjeplog – is having on its ability to attract and retain engineering talent.

“The population in the region is decreasing and, unfortunately, it’s a slow but consistent trend,” said Colmis managing director Mikael Hallin. “Currently there are around 2,800 inhabitants, however, when I was a child, there were about 3,500. “And temporarily employing people from outside the city isn’t easy because they need somewhere to live, and demand for accommodation during the high season is tremendously high.”

As such, the company shared plans with visitors to construct new electric vehicle charging infrastructure, create a bigger dynamics evaluation area, and build new indoor test facilities at its site.

In other proving grounds news, Applus+ IDIADA shared details of its forthcoming new CAV test tracks, and Millbrook announced it was adding a new, secure AV/ADAS test facility with the equipment required for performing all Euro NCAP 2020 testing and a wide range of non-standard CAV and ADAS test scenarios.

Automotive Testing Expo is also a place to share and discuss new research and scientific insight. The Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF, for instance, presented the results of a study titled ‘Digitization in Testing Technology’. The paper questions how physical testing can benefit from methods used in numerical simulations.

“The transfer of numerical simulation methods into the physical world of testing makes it possible for development processes to be drastically accelerated and costs to be reduced,” said Jan Hansmann, research associate and project manager at Fraunhofer LBF. “Furthermore, our technologies and test rig components offer new possibilities for validation of numerical simulation models. Models can be validated for different operating points with less effort.”

Exhibitor and visitor testimonials

 “All the major players in the test and development industry are here, which is why I come back year after year” – Massimo Barichello, head of powertrain testing, Ferrari

“We exhibited for the first time this year and the show was just mind-blowing for us, it really superseded everything we expected. When we got back to the hotel we couldn’t quite believe what had just happened!” – Anders Vidhav, CEO, SiS Sweden

“The presentations given in the Technology Demonstration Areas were fantastic and I’ve discovered so many new technologies in the exhibition” ­– Patrizio Agostinelli, manager, Toyota Motorsport

“This show is the premier global event for automotive testing labs and testing equipment manufacturers. We generated good leads with several immediate-need clients and the possibility to hold four different talks definitely maximized our exposure” – Jessica Miller, marketing assistant, Intertek

“I came here in search of new time-compression test solutions that can help speed up our autonomous vehicle development programs and I’m not leaving disappointed!” – Antonio Gallego, product manager, Volkswagen

“When it comes to being exposed to top customers, there’s no better show in the world. Automotive Testing Expo Europe provides the best of the best!” – Bernd Osenberg, sales manager, HBM

“The show is fantastic, I came here to discover new sensors and measuring systems and there have been so many interesting technologies to see. Having so many companies all in one place is really useful because it gives us new ideas and new ways of thinking” – Ulrich Krämer, team leader, measuring technology and maintenance, Daimler

“We met with many engineers interested in learning about driving simulator technology and interestingly this year, we noticed a lot more senior executives wandering the floor, who are exploring new technology for testing laboratories that will be built in the longer term” – Dennis Marcus, commercial manager, Cruden

“When I come to Automotive Testing Expo Europe I know that I’m going to find something new that will give us the advantage over our competitors” – Robert Benson, engine workshop leader, Hyundai Motorsport

 “There is no better collection of customers and collaborators in one place within the automotive testing market. We have had meetings with many of our customers, which is a great way for them to use their time and it’s great for us” – Craig Lukomski, solutions commercialization manager, MOOG

“I came here to find new HIL systems to help with our testing of electronic components and the quality of the technologies on show has been exceptionally high. All the big-name manufacturers are here, which is great for us” – Cedric Leutz, test engineer, Porsche

“We’ve had more Korean and Chinese visitors here than you would believe, not just visitors from Europe, so it’s a very unique situation in which we are able to reach a lot of our demographic at the same time” – Derreck Gowen, vice president, global business development, Accurate Technologies Inc

“I came here to discover the latest developments in surface testing technologies and was impressed by the diversity of large and smaller companies exhibiting here. Having everyone in the same place is great because it means we can come here for three days, get a real overview of what’s out there and schedule meetings with suppliers afterward” – Freya Sommer, development engineer, BMW

“We love that we’re able to demonstrate new technologies to customers from all around the world – and industry professionals – that will be launching soon, and which they weren’t aware of” – Chris Chapman, brand manager, Racelogic

“Automotive Testing Expo Europe is the place where innovation in the testing industry happens – the show sparks new ideas and inspiration. We’re already looking forward to next year’s event” – Dominiek Coppens, senior business development manager, Siemens Simcenter Test Solutions

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Rachel's career in journalism began around five years ago when she started working for UKi Media & Events, having recently graduated from Coventry University where she studied the subject. Her favourite aspect of the job is interviewing industry experts, including researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians, and learning more about the groundbreaking technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of the automotive and tire industries.

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