Millbrook's New 4WD VTEC Facility
An Interview with Dan May, Senior Engineer - Propulsion
This year at Millbrook, we have been working on the construction of a brand new 4WD Variable Temperature Emissions Chamber. With an aim to be operational in Q4 this year, the project has been progressing safely, continuing through the COVID-19 outbreak. We spoke to Dan May, the project manager of the building of this facility, to find out more about what the facility will bring to Millbrook, and the progress that we have made so far.
"It’s really rewarding for us to see such a fantastic facility come together."
What are the key benefits of Millbrook’s new VTEC?
The new facility will raise the standard of our heavy duty vehicle emissions testing. It has a high specification, therefore offering a wider range of testing, including the option to test hydrogen vehicles. This capability in particular is definitely exciting for the future of Millbrook.
What’s the difference between the new VTEC and old VTEC facilities?
As well as the opportunity to test a wider range of fuel types, we will be able to test vehicles with larger wheel bases and with both axles rotating instead of just the driven axle, which is significant for electric and hybrid powertrains. The inertia rating of the dynos means they have the potential to reach 3x that of the current facility. All the latest AVL emissions equipment brings it up to the specification to be a really innovative and technologically advanced facility that will help develop the next heavy duty vehicles for on and off road.
How much of a talking point has the new facility been with customers?
We’ve already had lots of interest in the new facility. The hydrogen testing capability is definitely creating a buzz, as it’s such a big jump in technology for the whole automotive and heavy duty industry. I think it will be really exciting for both us and our customers to see it in operation. Its wide range of capabilities means it will be a brilliant facility for a variety of customers, from OEMs to petrochemical companies, and all companies in between.
How have you had to adapt processes to continue the build throughout the COVID-19 pandemic?
The coordination of the project has been a challenge, but we have always kept health and safety at the forefront of everything that we do. Lots of rules and regulations have been put in place so that the construction team can continue to work safely following all government guidance available to us. It’s definitely been an obstacle, but one that us and the construction team have managed to overcome. The whole team has worked so hard to stay on schedule, meaning the building work will be done in the next week!
What have been the highlights of the build of the VTEC Facility for you?
It’s been great seeing it start to take shape over the past few months. There’s progress every week, and the recent finishing touches have really brought it together. It’s starting to look like a really impressive facility, especially when you’re standing in front of it and can take in its size. The dyno can move from a 3.5m to 8m wheel base, meaning it can accommodate trucks and coaches. It’s really rewarding for us to see such a fantastic facility come together.