Revealed On Sep 11, 2021 09:00:00 AM
The NATRAX facility in Indore is now absolutely open and options half a dozen world-class check tracks. We take a detailed have a look at them.
Creating a automotive is an extended and arduous course of. Sure, fashionable instruments like Pc Aided Engineering and Finite Aspect Evaluation have made the method simpler, and with immediately’s data-driven simulations getting an increasing number of correct, we’re getting nearer to the true factor. However there nonetheless exists a fair-sized gulf between digital fashions and the true automotive; and that primarily is why it’s nonetheless crucial to check vehicles bodily.
Right here to make the method simpler is NATRAX, India’s new testing facility outdoors Indore in Dhar district, MP, the place an entire vary of latest check tracks have been constructed. Unfold over a large 2,960 acres, this facility consists of a dozen totally different tracks and a slew of testing labs. Listed below are among the extra fascinating ones, beginning with the newly inaugurated Excessive Pace observe.
Excessive Pace Observe
11.3km lengthy, 4 lanes extensive and completely flat, the gradient on this observe is just about nonexistent; it deviates not more than plus or minus 3mm from the horizontal. To stage the observe and construct the bankings, the development crew moved 50 lakh cubic metres of earth and 15 lakh cubic metres of rocks. The bankings had been constructed with imported material-transfer autos and parabolic sensor pavers that constantly paved the observe for a seamless end and minimal joints. Design velocity on the curves, in consequence, is a big 375kph and the transition to and from the parabolic bankings is so gradual, you’ll be able to’t actually pinpoint once you get on or off. It’s so good, in actual fact, you’ll be able to drive at 250kph together with your palms virtually off the wheel, with solely minor corrections mandatory at occasions. To maintain the realm secure from outdoors intrusion, the ability has 23km of fencing.
Constructed with observe specialists IDIADA of Spain as consultants, this facility can be utilized to hold out varied improvement and homologation exams like coast downs, brake exams, constant-speed fuel-consumption runs, speedometer calibrations, noise & vibration measurements and even long-duration mileage accumulations.
After a giant downpour, we even obtained to expertise how good observe drainage is. There was no standing water evident throughout the rain, and the observe dried shortly, permitting regular operations to renew with out an excessive amount of delay. This good drainage isn’t by chance; the principle drainage canal is positioned at a depth of 13 metres and there’s 45 kilometres of strengthened concrete drains, a few of them giant sufficient to swim in.
The 300m-wide skid pad additionally has a large, 1.5km lengthy lead in the place you are able to do a number of dealing with exams.
One the biggest tracks of its type on the earth, the 300m-wide skid pad is simply enormous. And it isn’t simply the round observe we’re speaking of; it even has a 1.5km-long lead in. Because of this, all method of dynamic dealing with exams could be carried out safely right here, with masses and a great deal of run off space. Fixed radius exams, double lane modifications, J- Turns and Slalom exams are among the many many that may be carried out right here. To assist consistency, this observe even has zero-percent longitudinal slope.
Dealing with Observe
The three.6km dealing with observe is the one one in India.
The dealing with observe at NATRAX is the one considered one of its type in India. 3.6km lengthy and filled with a wide range of corners that mimic these discovered on common roads, this observe consists of sharp curves, flowing bends and even off-camber corners designed to check each aspect of a automotive’s dealing with. Extra runoff space would have been good, however if you’re in search of a spot to conduct a dynamic analysis, it doesn’t get a lot better than this.
The Fatigue observe helps speed up sturdiness testing.
One of the crucial essential tracks at NATRAX, the fatigue observe helps mimic highway situations. Designed to speed up sturdiness testing of a automotive this observe has obtained a wide range of nasty surfaces like a potholed observe, Belgian Pave, giant cobblestones and herringbone surfaces which are dangerous sufficient to shake the fillings out of your tooth. In all there are a complete of 28 totally different profiles.
A Belgian Pave observe can shake a automotive’s construction to the core.
NATRAX has constructed a brief hill highway that it calls the sustainability observe. Carmakers can check the cooling efficiency of an engine, clutch sturdiness and options like hill maintain management and hill descent management in near-real-world situations.
Whereas the sustainability observe is used to guage the sturdiness of the automotive, the consolation observe is crucial relating to tuning the suspension or making basic modifications that may impression how comfortably a automotive rides.
The totally different surfaces embrace tough concrete, easy concrete, bridge joints, steps within the highway floor, cleats, washboards, and tough asphalt.
The gradient tracks are used to check the torque and pulling energy of a car. It’s also possible to check how properly it could possibly take off from relaxation on a slope and simply how a lot traction it has. These exams are finished each loaded and unloaded. After which there are patches that additionally simulate a moist highway. Wish to get that setting proper to your traction management, that is the place to do it. Carmakers even check their Hill Maintain features right here. To determine simply how succesful a car is, various particular person slopes with differing gradients are used, and vehicles graduate from one slope to the subsequent.
Additionally a part of the laundry checklist of check tracks are a moist skid pad, a specialised braking observe, a dealing with observe for 2 and three wheelers and a noise observe.
This positively world-class proving floor, set in a clear and sprawling expanse is clearly up there relating to world requirements. A facility that may make future autos safer, higher engineered and extra sturdy, it’s a monumental achievement all of us must be happy with and can go a good distance in making Indian-engineered autos obtain world requirements.
Dr N Karuppaiah – Head, Nationwide Automotive Take a look at Tracks (NATRAX) Q&A
Your newly opened high-speed observe is a marvel of civil engineering. Inform us in regards to the design and engineering behind it.
A check observe is principally an open-air laboratory the place you will have to have the ability to produce correct, repeatable outcomes. For this we have to have a fair floor. This observe on the straight elements has zero levels of elevation change and the margin for error general is simply plus or minus three millimetres. Then to ship a easy transition at very excessive speeds our bankings are made out of asphalt and never concrete.
In terms of the design of the banking it is very important perceive that the tighter the curve, the steeper the angle you want. To get round this, we’ve got used an enormous 1,000-metre radius for the curves. I believe you have to have seen that compared to different proving grounds worldwide, our banking will not be that steep, and this makes driving at excessive speeds extra snug.
What are the exams one can do right here?
You’ll be able to check max velocity, acceleration & gas consumption very precisely. Along with that there’s on-centre dealing with at excessive speeds, double lane change at speeds as excessive as 200kph & additionally high-speed stability and sturdiness. And once I say high-speed sturdiness I imply even at 300kph, as right here you’ll be able to proceed operating endlessly, with out having to decelerate on the bankings.
We seen that drainage is completely phenomenal. We had a variety of thunder-showers however there’s completely no standing water.
Completely. Water is the enemy of asphalt, and we’ve got taken particular measures right here. There are about 4 lanes of drainage in complete, and the principle drain is positioned deep and is 2 metres extensive.
Who would be the predominant customers of the observe and can it even be open to personal house owners who need to expertise excessive speeds?
The observe is primarily meant for the native OEMs and people who want to develop autos right here. This additionally consists of part suppliers and the tyre business. Now engineers don’t have to go overseas to locations like Europe, China, Korea or Taiwan to check. Our amenities in actual fact at the moment are so good, we are able to anticipate some reverse circulate of consumers, particularly as tracks in Europe and different elements shut for winter.
Coming to the second a part of the query, if after we begin taking bookings, we discover that we’ve got spare observe time, we might invite non-public prospects and supercar house owners to expertise the fun of driving at such excessive speeds. Two issues, nonetheless, are crucial; the protection of drivers and vehicles and the confidentiality of latest autos being examined right here.