Umicore Opens $10 Million Test Cell Expansion

By pdamon14 July 2016

Umicore Autocat USA Inc., a global supplier of catalysts used in emissions systems for heavy- and light-duty vehicles, has opened a $10 million, 4790 sq. ft. expansion at its vehicle emission test laboratory at the company’s Automotive Technical Center in Auburn Hills, Mich.

“This may be the most significant period of change impacting vehicle emission controls since the advent of automotive catalysts in the U.S. in the ’70s,” said Pascal Reymondet, executive vice president Catalysis at Umicore. “Through our Technical Centers, we are helping automakers adapt emissions control technology across different platforms and with diverse strategies.”

The $10 million expansion at Auburn Hills includes an analytical room equipped with six analytical benches for HC, CO and NOx measurement and two FTIRs for other gas measurement (NH3, N2O), along with equipment to measure particle mass and particle number — the last being a critical aspect of the upcoming EU Stage 5 off-road emissions regulations.

New dual-roll, 48-in. dynamometers are designed to test 4x4s, all-wheel-drive (AWD) vehicles and hybrids according to the U.S. Federal drive cycles as well as for Europe and Japan. A vehicle stacker with the capacity for 13 vehicles was added to improve vehicle soak times and vehicle testing efficiency.

ACS, the Madison, Wis., headquartered test facility specialist, was involved with reconfiguring the existing site to accommodate the expansion, as well as constructing and equipping the new lab.

Unimcore said the improvements to the facility now allow for an array of drivetrains and vehicle platforms to be tested – from diesel trucks and SUVs, to GDI (gasoline direct injection) engines, hybrid cars and even large motorcycles. The expansion will allow catalyst development for all fuels – diesel, CNG and E85, etc.

“We take pride in the fact that our automotive catalysts can successfully reduce harmful emissions by more than 99 percent for major pollutants – NOx, hydrocarbons (HC) and carbon monoxide (CO) – over the life of the vehicle,” said Ken Zerafa, General Manager for Umicore Autocat USA. “By focusing on superior technology, we help customers produce more fuel-efficient vehicles and meet present and future requirements of environmental legislation.”

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