One wind tunnel to go please.
Ford is taking its wind noise testing on the road with the world’s first aeroacoustic portable wind tunnel. It’s all part of Ford’s plan to make its cabins quieter, faster, while saving both time and money at the same time.
Ford says the new tunnel can create highway speed winds up to 80 mph. While it’s not a specialized as lab testing, it allows engineers to do quick and dirty on-site testing. Plus, it costs only a fraction of the $50 million price tag on Ford’s main wind tunnel in Allen Park, Michigan.
The traveling tunnel is made of two 53-foot shipping containers. Each one contains 6-foot diameter fans capable of creating up to 80 mph winds with 250-horsepower electric engines. Large openings at the front and rear allow for air intake. A third 40-foot container contains the equipment needed to control and collect the information from the tunnel.
The entire tunnel can be broken down and reassembled in just hours and shipped to any Ford assembly plant in North America. On site assembly takes only hours before testing can begin. This saves the time and expense of shipping cars and engineers to Allen Park. Vehicle testing and retesting can happen right off the assembly line.
The whole goal is to detect wind noise problems in vehicles faster, so Ford can hone in on the ideal quiet cabin faster, too.
“Now, we’re able to detect even the most subtle noises. We can identify an area in need of improvement, have key people gather, communicate quickly, and resolve the issue without delay,” says Bill Gulker, Ford wind noise core supervisor.
The portable wind tunnel’s first stop will be Ford’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan.