Features

No Limits – Natrax Testing Services

Written by Raghav

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 check tracks. We take a detailed have a look at them.

Growing a automobile is a protracted and arduous course of. Sure, trendy instruments like Laptop Aided Engineering and Finite Ingredient Evaluation have made the method simpler, and with in the present day’s data-driven simulations getting increasingly correct, we’re getting nearer to the actual factor. However there nonetheless exists a fair-sized gulf between digital fashions and the actual automobile; 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 a complete vary of recent check 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 below are a few of the extra fascinating ones, beginning with the newly inaugurated Excessive Velocity observe.

Excessive Velocity Monitor

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 degree the observe and construct the bankings, the development staff moved 50 lakh cubic metres of earth and 15 lakh cubic metres of rocks. The bankings have been constructed with imported material-transfer automobiles and parabolic sensor pavers that repeatedly paved the observe for a seamless end and minimal joints. Design pace 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 while you get on or off. It’s so good, the truth is, you’ll be able to drive at 250kph along with your palms virtually off the wheel, with solely minor corrections vital at occasions. To maintain the realm protected 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 improvement and homologation assessments like coast downs, brake assessments, constant-speed fuel-consumption runs, speedometer calibrations, noise & vibration measurements and even long-duration mileage accumulations.

After a giant downpour, we even acquired to expertise how good observe drainage is. There was no standing water evident through the rain, and the observe dried rapidly, permitting regular operations to renew with out an excessive amount of delay. This good drainage isn’t accidentally; 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 massive sufficient to swim in.

Dynamic Platform

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 assessments.

One the biggest tracks of its sort on the planet, the 300m-wide skid pad is simply large. 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 assessments may be carried out safely right here, with hundreds and a great deal of run off space. Fixed radius assessments, double lane adjustments, J- Turns and Slalom assessments 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 Monitor

The three.6km dealing with observe is the one one in India.

The dealing with observe at NATRAX is the one one in all its sort in India. 3.6km lengthy and full of 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 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 significantly better than this.

Fatigue Monitor

The Fatigue observe helps speed up sturdiness testing.

One of the crucial vital tracks at NATRAX, the fatigue observe helps mimic highway situations. Designed to speed up sturdiness testing of a automobile this observe has acquired a wide range of nasty surfaces like a potholed observe, Belgian Pave, massive cobblestones and herringbone surfaces which might be unhealthy sufficient to shake the fillings out of your tooth. In all there are a complete of 28 completely different profiles.

A Belgian Pave observe can shake a automobile’s construction to the core.

Sustainability Monitor

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.

Consolation Monitor

Whereas the sustainability observe is used to judge the sturdiness of the automobile, the consolation observe is important relating to tuning the suspension or making elementary adjustments that can affect how comfortably a automobile rides.

The completely different surfaces embrace tough concrete, easy concrete, bridge joints, steps within the highway floor, cleats, washboards, and tough asphalt.

Gradient Monitor

The gradient tracks are used to check the torque and pulling energy of a automobile. You may also check how effectively it will possibly take off from relaxation on a slope and simply how a lot traction it has. These assessments are performed each loaded and unloaded. After which there are patches that additionally simulate a moist highway. Wish to get that setting proper in your traction management, that is the place to do it. Carmakers even check their Hill Maintain capabilities right here. To ascertain simply how succesful a automobile is, quite a few particular person slopes with differing gradients are used, and vehicles graduate from one slope to the subsequent.

Additionally a part of the laundry listing 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 totally world-class proving floor, set in a clear and sprawling expanse is clearly up there relating to world requirements. A facility that can make future automobiles safer, higher engineered and extra sturdy, it’s a monumental achievement all of us ought to be happy with and can go a good distance in making Indian-engineered automobiles 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’ve got to have the ability to produce correct, repeatable outcomes. For this we have to have an excellent 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 constituted of asphalt and never concrete.

In relation to the design of the banking you will need to perceive that the tighter the curve, the steeper the angle you want. To get round this, now we have used an enormous 1,000-metre radius for the curves. I feel you need to have observed that compared to different proving grounds worldwide, our banking just isn’t that steep, and this makes driving at excessive speeds extra comfy.

What are the assessments one can do right here?

You’ll be able to check max pace, acceleration & gasoline 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 observed that drainage is completely phenomenal. We had numerous thunder-showers however there’s completely no standing water.

Completely. Water is the enemy of asphalt, and now we have 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 primary customers of the observe and can it even be open to non-public homeowners who wish to expertise excessive speeds?

The observe is primarily meant for the native OEMs and people who want to develop automobiles right here. This additionally consists of element suppliers and the tyre business. Now engineers don’t must go overseas to locations like Europe, China, Korea or Taiwan to check. Our amenities the truth is are actually so good, we will anticipate some reverse stream 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 now we have spare observe time, we may invite non-public prospects and supercar homeowners to expertise the joys of driving at such excessive speeds. Two issues, nevertheless, are crucial; the security of drivers and vehicles and the confidentiality of recent automobiles being examined right here.

About the author

Raghav