Millbrook discusses US$2.9m powertrain test facility upgrade

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Leading UK test facility Millbrook has announced a US$2.9m investment in its powertrain test facilities.

The company says the investment means it will be able to offer full emissions development capabilities, in particular cold-start characterization to support engine calibration from -40°C and advanced road-load simulation modeling, as well as all-new equipment for advanced direct injection gasoline and diesel development.

We spoke to Stephen Ratley, head of powertrain at Millbrook:

How difficult is it to plan ahead when installing new equipment like this?

Planning is the easy part – we have always known what we needed to do to meet our objectives. We are in constant communication with our customers and moving with the latest technologies and test techniques. Millbrook is at the forefront of engine test and development. This investment will future-proof Millbrook, enabling us to lead the way for years to come. Having said that, it’s easy to plan – the difficulty is adhering to the plan.

What features are you particularly excited about in the new setup?

For me personally, it’s the cold capability. We have done a lot of work in this area with just the fluids and combustion air chilled to -30°C. Now we will be able to soak and run the entire engine at this temperature and get further refinement in this area of the engine calibration.

What are your benchmarks for this upgrade?

We aim to be the benchmark, and try to establish industry standards and then strive to exceed them in all areas of our business.

When will the upgraded test cells be ready?

Two have already been completed, and we are commencing the third in September and will complete them all before year end. The upgrade process has been refined to reduce the downtime even further. This will also give us the capacity to upgrade in parallel if current project commitments allow.

What part can Millbrook play in helping OEMs meet tougher emissions and performance targets?

Reducing emissions without compromising performance is our area of expertise and this investment will strengthen this activity. We are supporting our customers particularly in the area of combustion and aftertreatment by reducing particles by mass and number. We have years of experience in this area, mainly on diesel engines, and we are now transferring that knowledge across to direct-injection petrol engines.

August 26, 2015

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About Author

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Dean has been with UKi Media & Events for over a decade, having previously cut his journalistic teeth writing and editing for various automotive and engineering titles. He combines extensive knowledge of all things automotive with a passion for driving, and experience testing countless new vehicles, engines and technologies around the world. As well as his role as editor-in-chief across a range of UKi's media titles, he is also co-chair of the judging panel of the International Engine of the Year Awards.

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