Printed On Sep 11, 2021 09:00:00 AM
The NATRAX facility in Indore is now totally open and options half a dozen world-class take a look at tracks. We take an in depth take a look at them.
Creating a automobile is a protracted and arduous course of. Sure, fashionable instruments like Laptop Aided Engineering and Finite Aspect Evaluation have made the method simpler, and with at present’s data-driven simulations getting increasingly correct, we’re getting nearer to the true factor. However there nonetheless exists a fair-sized gulf between digital fashions and the true automobile; and that primarily is why it’s nonetheless crucial to check automobiles bodily.
Right here to make the method simpler is NATRAX, India’s new testing facility outdoors Indore in Dhar district, MP, the place a complete vary of recent take a look at tracks have been constructed. Unfold over an enormous 2,960 acres, this facility consists of a dozen completely different tracks and a slew of testing labs. Listed here are among the extra attention-grabbing ones, beginning with the newly inaugurated Excessive Pace observe.
Excessive Pace Observe
11.3km lengthy, 4 lanes huge 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 workforce moved 50 lakh cubic metres of earth and 15 lakh cubic metres of rocks. The bankings have been constructed with imported material-transfer autos and parabolic sensor pavers that repeatedly paved the observe for a seamless end and minimal joints. Design velocity on the curves, because of this, is a large 375kph and the transition to and from the parabolic bankings is so gradual, you may’t actually pinpoint once you get on or off. It’s so good, in actual fact, you may drive at 250kph along with your arms virtually off the wheel, with solely minor corrections crucial at occasions. To maintain the world 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 numerous growth and homologation checks like coast downs, brake checks, constant-speed fuel-consumption runs, speedometer calibrations, noise & vibration measurements and even long-duration mileage accumulations.
After an enormous downpour, we even acquired 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 accidentally; the primary drainage canal is positioned at a depth of 13 metres and there’s 45 kilometres of bolstered 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 checks.
One the biggest tracks of its form on the earth, the 300m-wide skid pad is simply big. And it isn’t simply the round observe we’re speaking of; it even has a 1.5km-long lead in. In consequence, all method of dynamic dealing with checks will be carried out safely right here, with masses and a great deal of run off space. Fixed radius checks, double lane modifications, J- Turns and Slalom checks 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 certainly one of its form in India. 3.6km lengthy and filled with quite a lot 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 side of a automobile’s dealing with. Extra runoff space would have been good, however if you’re searching for 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 vital essential tracks at NATRAX, the fatigue observe helps mimic highway circumstances. Designed to speed up sturdiness testing of a automobile this observe has acquired quite a lot 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 enamel. In all there are a complete of 28 completely different profiles.
A Belgian Pave observe can shake a automobile’s construction to the core.
NATRAX has constructed a brief hill highway that it calls the sustainability observe. Carmakers can take a look at the cooling efficiency of an engine, clutch sturdiness and options like hill maintain management and hill descent management in near-real-world circumstances.
Whereas the sustainability observe is used to guage the sturdiness of the automobile, the consolation observe is important with regards to tuning the suspension or making elementary modifications that can influence how comfortably a automobile rides.
The completely different surfaces embrace tough concrete, clean 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. You too can take a look at how nicely it may take off from relaxation on a slope and simply how a lot traction it has. These checks are completed each loaded and unloaded. After which there are patches that additionally simulate a moist highway. Need to get that setting proper on your traction management, that is the place to do it. Carmakers even take a look at their Hill Maintain features right here. To ascertain simply how succesful a car is, plenty of particular person slopes with differing gradients are used, and automobiles graduate from one slope to the following.
Additionally a part of the laundry listing of take a look at 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 with regards to international requirements. A facility that can make future autos safer, higher engineered and extra sturdy, it’s a monumental achievement all of us ought to be happy with and can go a great distance in making Indian-engineered autos obtain international requirements.
Dr N Karuppaiah – Head, Nationwide Automotive Check 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 take a look at observe is principally an open-air laboratory the place you might have to have the ability to produce correct, repeatable outcomes. For this we have to have a good floor. This observe on the straight elements has zero levels of elevation change and the margin for error total is simply plus or minus three millimetres. Then to ship a clean transition at very excessive speeds our bankings are created from asphalt and never concrete.
Relating to 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 it’s essential to have observed 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 checks one can do right here?
You possibly can take a look at 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 may proceed operating endlessly, with out having to decelerate on the bankings.
We observed that drainage is totally phenomenal. We had quite a lot 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 whole, and the primary drain is positioned deep and is 2 metres huge.
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 those that want to develop autos right here. This additionally consists of part suppliers and the tyre trade. Now engineers don’t must go overseas to locations like Europe, China, Korea or Taiwan to check. Our amenities in actual fact are actually so good, we are able to anticipate some reverse move 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 may invite non-public prospects and supercar house owners to expertise the joys of driving at such excessive speeds. Two issues, nevertheless, are essential; the security of drivers and automobiles and the confidentiality of recent autos being examined right here.