OWI-Lab Large Climate Chamber Used for Off-Highway Vehicle Testing
The OWI-Lab climate chamber is a realization of the ‘Offshore Wind Infrastructure Application Lab’ (OWI-Lab). This lab is a R&D initiative which aims to initiate and support innovation projects concerning offshore wind energy. The project’s purpose is to increase the reliability and efficiency of offshore wind farms by investing in open testing and monitoring equipment that can help the industry in reaching these goals. The large climate chamber is one of those investments.
Wind turbine components and more
Embedded in the OWI-lab, the climate chamber is mainly used for testing and validating large and heavy wind turbine components (like gearboxes, transformers,…) in extreme temperatures. With those components in mind, the chamber was designed with some unique features, such as its large dimensions (10,6m x 7m x 8m), extreme temperature range (-60°C to +60°C), +300 ton weight capability and the ability to compensate for 250kW of heat at -20°C. Those features make the chamber also capable of testing large off-highway vehicles and construction equipment, such as dump trucks, excavators, tractors, defense and aerospace equipment, …
Such vehicles and equipment need to be able to start and operationally withstand extreme temperature conditions, ranging from -40°C to -60°C in North Siberia, inner Mongolia and Canada, and from +45°C to +55°C in desert areas like India, Australia and the Middle East. These extreme requirements can only be guaranteed by extreme testing and extensive validation methodologies. The availability of a very large climate chamber, able to handle massive weights, dimensions and the broad temperature capabilities, is essential to the industry. Typical aspects to be tested for this type of heavy equipment and vehicles are cold starts, heating and cooling systems, hydraulic functions, de-icing options, checks for seal cracks and leakages, shifting quality, validation of performance under icing conditions, …
Open test facility
The OWI-lab and its climate chamber are both a part of Sirris, the collective center of the Belgium technology industry. This center aims at helping companies with the implementation of technological innovations, enabling them to strengthen their competitive position over the long term. Being embedded within Sirris guarantees the open and independent nature of the climate chamber and test facility.
Press release, October 9, 2013; Image: OWI-Lab