We are honored to announce that the Kahn-designed Driving Dynamics Lab for Ford Motor Company was included among Engineering News Record Midwest's best projects of 2020.
This November, ENR will feature an in-depth article about each winning project, with the final Project of the Year announcement this December. In the meantime, let us tell you a little about Ford's new Driving Dynamics Lab (DDL).
Located trackside at their Dearborn Proving Ground, DDL houses support functions for test vehicles, acoustic and mechanical testing laboratories, and in-house engineering areas with a variety of spaces for collaborative work. This new facility remedies Ford's workflow and efficiency challenge when related departments, such as those that test vehicle performance, durability, and acoustics, were scattered across a vast campus. Now, DDL houses trackside operations and engineering functions within one building, creating unity and cohesion between product engineers and test technicians.
This world-class engineering center was also a feat of engineering. One aspect is the Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH) facility within DDL, the most advanced acoustic testing facility Ford has constructed to date. This facility allows them to establish industry benchmarks for vehicle NVH. This facility includes a hemi-anechoic hybrid test chamber (HTC) configured to allow very low-frequency acoustic testing in environmentally controlled conditions ranging from minus 40°F to 140°F. It can also accommodate a large range of test vehicles and includes an all-wheel drive chassis roll dynamometer. Adding to the challenge of integrating the multiple special elements of the HTC, aggressive design schedules required pull-ahead engineering to accommodate sequenced construction.
An early construction challenge required the careful integration of a 1-million-pound concrete inertia base with the structural mat foundation. Supported at twenty locations by a high-pressure air mount isolation system, the inertia base was formed and poured to tight dimensional tolerances to allow the placement of precision vehicle dynamometer testing equipment. The large volume of the HTC, necessary for acoustic measurement capability, added to the challenge of temperature and humidity control within the space. Extremely low dew point, two-stage, desiccant wheel air dryers combined with low-temperature fluid refrigeration machines and high-temperature fluid heat exchangers enable the close environmental control required.
Complementing the HTC and broadening the range of functionality for this facility, Kahn engineers designed a sound transmission loss suite that incorporates a free-standing spring-isolated anechoic chamber and reverberation chamber carefully isolated from structure-borne noise.
As the center for vehicle testing and innovation, this facility's design and engineering was driven by its function as a world-class engineering center, the future of mobility, and the legacy of Ford Motor Company.
To view other winning projects, see the full article here.
Interested in learning more about the project? Write to us! Caitlin.Wunderlich@akahn.com
Photos: Justin Maconochie.