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TARDEC Testing and Laboratory Facilities

Advanced Collaborative Environments (ACE) Laboratory/Immersive Virtual Environment (IVE) Laboratory go to top

The ACE Laboratory contains a “five-walled” CAVE system with a pneumatic rear wall that closes behind the user to allow further immersion in a vehicle system within the virtual world. The system has four rear projected screens, a front projected floor, Christie Digital Mirage 4000 DLP projectors, infrared emitters, Liquid Crystal Display stereoscopic shutter glasses, and a wireless inertial/ultrasonic tracking system. The laboratory also contains an interactive conference room with a touch screen display, and a computer station area for the use and display of ACE tools.

Advanced Concepts Laboratory go to top

This interactive collaboration facility is equipped for design and analysis of 3-D solid model vehicle concepts, up to and including Secret, Special Access Programs (SAP), and Top Secret level designs. Animation and stereo imaging tools are available, providing the capability for interactive concept design reviews in the Visualization Center. In addition, the laboratory’s Collaboration Center and Control Room are networked for web-based or DTV collaborative efforts with over 30 LAN-ready laptops available for interactive group participation. With audio and video interconnectivity between all three areas, the Visualization Center and Control Room can supplement the 30 person capacity of the Collaboration Center, with an additional capacity of 10 seats each. This additional capacity can be used for overflow or breakout sessions.

Air Flow/Coolant System Component Evaluation Laboratory go to top

This facility can accommodate the evaluation of radiators, fans, air filters, coolant systems, and air filtration systems. It includes a flow bench that can simulate a variety of real world conditions for evaluating coolant and air filtration system and component-level performance. Such measurements include precise heat rejection, restriction, filtration, and efficiency parameters.

Battery Technology Evaluation Laboratory go to top

This facility is used for the evaluation of advanced batteries (Li-Ion, NiMH, NiZn) and hybrid DC-DC converter/battery systems. Lab equipment consists of two programmable battery cycling systems, an environmental chamber for battery testing, a fume hood and an electro-chemical impedance spectrometer for “equivalent circuit” battery characterization. The tests conducted on Li-Ion battery sample cells investigate failure issues such as overcharging and thermal runaway.

Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE)/Immersive Virtual Environment (IVE) Laboratory go to top

The CAVE is a multi-person, 10x10, high-resolution 3D-video/audio environment. The system uses four rear projected screenwalls, a front projected floor, Christie Mirage 4000 projectors, Mylar mirrors, infrared emitters, Liquid Crystal Display stereoscopic shutter glasses, Innersense position sensing system, and a SGI Onyx2 computer which creates 1280X1024 resolution stereo images. TARDEC also has a CAVE at Altair in a collaborative lab space, a CAVE at Fort Knox, and a portable RAVE (Reconfigurable CAVE) that can be taken to other facilities.

Center Guide Wear Research go to top

Center Guide Wear Simulation Machine conducts experiments on Novel Lightweight Wear Resistant Materials. The center guide wear laboratory consists of a variable controlled center guide wear instrument. Center guide loads for all tracked vehicles up to the M1 can be applied to the wear specimens at speeds from 5-40 MPH. Test machine located at the Keweenaw Research Center.

Computer Based Applications/Ground Vehicle Simulation Laboratory go to top

The GVSL Software suite of tools includes the Dynamic Analysis and Design System (DADS), Abaqus, Maya, MSC Fatigue, and Patran commercial products as well as a variety of in-house developed tools. Typical system performance measures quantified are ride quality, handling, component structures, and fatigue life analysis.

Countermine Testing Complex Facility go to top

The Countermine Testing Complex is a dedicated area at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. This one-of-a-kind facility gives us a drive through capability to establish a mechanical countermine system’s capability to reliably clear a minefield seeded with pressure fused, tilt-rod actuated, and exotic (seismic, magnetic influence, acoustic) mines. The facility includes mine lanes, a magnetic countermine test area, a static blast test area, shop and equipment storage facilities, and fully functional office space to support testing. Currently there are plans to add Route Clearance and IED detection/neutralization testing capability in the near future.

Crew Station/Turret Motion Base Simulator (CS/TMBS)/Ground Vehicle Simulation Laboratory go to top

The Crew Station/Turret Motion Base Simulator (CS/TMBS) is a high capacity 6 degree of freedom test device. This system is capable of reproducing dynamic conditions encountered by combat vehicle crew station and turret systems traversing secondary roads and cross country terrain. The system offers remarkable repeatability and control over variables difficult to manage in the field.

Design and Digital Mock-up Laboratory go to top

Provides timely, cost-effective design, engineering and digital mock-up support using today’s state-of-the art Modeling and Simulation tools that are integrated together to create a 3-D, interactive, realistic, real-time computer-generated environment. The computer aided modeling and simulation capability provides an excellent display of the design in dynamic mode for tolerance, allowance and assembly analysis.

Dynamic Structural Load Simulator Laboratory (DSLSL) go to top

This facility is equipped with an overhead gantry, ten hydraulic load actuators on five moveable transoms, tool crib, parts crib, fabrication area and office space. The hydraulic actuators can be used to conduct full-scale structural testing of components or complete structures. The hydraulic actuators are computer driven by design test loads or actual vehicle crossing profiles. The hydraulic actuators can be configured to accommodate any size of military bridge. The facility can also be used to conduct other analysis and equipment evaluation to meet the needs for fielded equipment sustainment and the needs of the future Army. Successful static testing has been conducted on the Wolverine supporting the full material release. Technology evaluation of the Composite Army Bridge has been conducted in the facility.

Electric Components Evaluation Laboratory go to top

This in-house facility includes capabilities to evaluate motors, generators, and motor-generator sets up to 100 BHP, electrical power converters and power devices (inverters, rectifiers, dc-dc converters and advanced batteries (Li-Ion and NiMH).) It is a component lab which will verify the performance of the hybrid electric component concepts and provide information about their thermal requirements for safe operation.

Electronics and Prototyping Laboratory go to top

Lab is used to fabricate circuit boards, prototype Fused Deposition Models, and fabricate with the LASER cutter. Special Ventilation is needed to meet OSHA air quality requirements. Layout allows us to rapidly fabricate and field circuit boards and CAD drawings into physical models.

Embedded Simulation (ES) Laboratory go to top

This lab supports local and long haul distributed simulation in both a classified and non-classified environment. This lab houses many computing systems ranging from PCs to mainframe systems used to develop component or system models. There is a Distributed Virtual Lab (DVL) connection to the other RDECs that make up the MATREX federation. Lab supports both High-Level Architecture and Distributed Interactive Simulation protocols.

Environmental Heat Management Chamber and Laboratory go to top

Unique vehicle-level thermal management evaluation facility that accommodates both tracked and wheeled platforms. Environmental conditions are controlled through proper simulation of air flow rate and temperature, solar radiation, and particular steady-state vehicle operating condition.

Flexible Steady-State/Transient Vehicle Evaluation Test Cell and Laboratory go to top

This facility includes a double dynamometer arrangement that can simulate steering maneuvers, steady-state operation, and transient operation at the vehicle level for up to a 40-ton platform or 800 BHP.

Frequency Doubler & Tripler go to top

Laser Protection Materials Development Laboratory: Single Mode Nd:YAG Laser. This laser is both spatially and modally single mode with an output energy per pulse of 250 millijoules at 1064 nanometer wavelength. The extremely good quality of the output beam at such high energies makes this laser uniquely qualified for scientific study of laser-material interactions. This Laboratory supports the ongoing Vision Protection ATO which will provide frequency-agile laser protection for the FCS fire control camera, driver’s periscope and optical fire control.

Fuel Equipment Test Laboratory go to top

Used for testing and evaluating fuel pumps, fuel filter elements, fuel filter separators, fuel nozzles and engine fuel filter elements.

Fuels and Lubricants Research Facility and Laboratory go to top

A Government-owned, contractor-operated facility at the Southwest Research Institute (SWRI) in Texas, is a one-of-a-kind resource where integrated fuels-lubricants-engine systems research and development programs involving combustion, performance characterization, engine cleanliness, vulnerability assessments, and tribology can be performed.  http://www.swri.org/4org/d08/TARDEC/default.htm

Fuels and Lubricants Vehicle Filter Test Equipment go to top

This test equipment is capable of evaluating vehicles’ fuel and lubricant filters using the latest ISO test procedures. The equipment allows evaluation of expected life, efficiency and other parameters needed to establish filter performance for vehicles.

Fuels and Powertrain Lubricants Laboratory go to top

Performs development, evaluation, qualification, and research of fuels, alternative fuels, and powertrain lubricants (i.e., engine oils, gear lubricants, and transmission fluids) to enable introduction of new technologies and development of new performance standards. In addition, it also conducts assessment of environmental compliance and development of environmentally friendly products.

Full Pitch Track Bushing Research go to top

Machine tests endurance life of track bushings by testing a complete track shoe at one time. The test machine is located at the Keweenaw Research Center. The hydraulic bushing machine allows complete pitches of T158/T157/T154/T107 to be tested.

Grease and Fluid Laboratory go to top

Performs development, evaluation, research of hydraulic fluids, semi-solid lubricants, solid lubricants, greases, antifreeze, and solvents to enable introduction of new technologies and development of new performance standards. In addition, it also conducts assessment of environmental compliance and development of environmentally friendly products.

Ground Systems Power and Energy Laboratory (GSPEL) go to top

At 30,000 square feet and containing eight state of-the-art power, energy and mobility laboratories, the GSPEL provides unprecedented capabilities to effectively test, optimize and integrate vehicle propulsion, power generation and energy storage systems for current and emerging vehicle classes. The laboratory complex allows for testing of power and mobility systems — from the component level all the way up to platform integration — in a variety of environmental conditions. Learn More about the GSPEL

Ground Vehicle Simulation Lab (GVSL) Synthetic Environment go to top

The synthetic environment provides for the immersion of the Soldier and his vehicle into the virtual environment. Subsystems include full 6 degrees of freedom motion, visuals, and audio. A number of multi-body vehicle dynamics models, terrain and visual databases comprise the capability. Realtime software allows rapid communications and dataflow to all the subsystems.

Joint Center for Robotics Vehicle High Bay go to top

This facility allows for component technology integration or repair and maintenance of small and large manned or unmanned vehicle platforms. Facility is large enough to accommodate vehicles up to that of an M1A2 Abrams main battle tank in size. Lab houses a tool crib as well as overhead hoist with a capacity to support several tons and has storage space for laboratory materials.

Intelligent Mobility/Robotics Laboratory go to top

Facility consists of 3 major laboratories: (1) Indoor mobility development and testing bay, (2) Systems Integration Laboratory for implementation of internal and external sensor packages, and (3) Behavioral/Evolutional Robotics Laboratory with associated hardware/software to design and analyze advanced behavioral control schemes for future implementation into Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) systems.

Intelligent System Integration Lab (SIL) go to top

Advanced vehicle crew stations have been implemented in a laboratory environment, facilitating Soldier-machine interface, embedded training, mission rehearsal and mission planning development, as well as operator vehicle system training. Identical, ruggedized crew stations are mounted in a tracked chassis allowing for field validation, experimentation and demonstration. Lab also houses in intelligent vehicle behavior simulator used for developing and testing behavior software and models and performing Soldier task load analysis.

Light Weight Materials Test, Analysis, and Prototype Fabrication Center go to top

Provides concurrent fabrication, assessment and evaluation of advanced materials and fabrication processes. It includes mechanical testing, metallurgical testing, nondestructive analysis of production and advanced materials/components at various temperatures, and prototype fabrication of advanced materials/components. Center had environmentally controlled, unique fixturing, high load capacity, unique Instron load frame, in a sensitive environment for special projects. There is a Composite Lay Up Area / Non Destructive Inspection Area / Instron and Dynatup Control Room / Metallurgical Laboratory.

M1A2 System Integration Laboratory go to top

Current facility houses the M1A2 System Integration Lab that is an operational hot bench of the M1A2 electronics architecture. It provides the capability to develop, maintain, test and assess all embedded software in the M1A2 tank.

Pervasive Computing (PvC) Laboratory go to top

The PvC Laboratory is located in the National Automotive Center (NAC) High Performance Computing Center. PvC involves connecting and sharing information between many distributed, but interconnected, devices. These devices can be vehicles, appliances, servers, and sensors. Effort is to explore, expand, and transition commercial PvC technology into the military. The PvC Laboratory designs and develops new applications, integrates/adapts existing applications, and consults with other organizations to implement PvC best practices

Petroleum and Water Business Area (PWBA) Water Treatment Test Facility (Selfridge Air National Guard Base Bldg 350) go to top

PWBA Water Treatment Test Facility (SANG B350) located on Lake St. Clair has the capability of operating pilot scale to full scale sized water treatment systems and components. The facility houses several 600 Gallons Per Hour (GPH) Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Units (ROWPUs), 3000 GPH ROWPUs, 1500 GPH Tactical Water Purification Systems (TWPS), and Lightweight Water Purifiers (LWPs). These units can be used as test beds for evaluating the performance of commercially available and experimental components for their usefulness on military water treatment equipment. The facility can also be used to train water treatment system operators to use military and commercial water treatment systems.

Physical Prototyping Laboratory go to top

Provides timely, cost effective translation of virtual designs into hardware using state-of-the art tools to simulate and optimize manufacturing processes, and machining, metal working, welding and assembly capabilities to produce sub- and full- system level functional prototypes. This is a 50-foot high bay area with 16” reinforced concrete floors and recessed machine foundations. It houses one fifty and four 10 Ton Cranes directly integrated into the building along with a complete coatings facility. This provides the capability to develop and prototype advanced ground combat vehicle systems up through 70 tons. This also allows the engineers and scientists along with the PMs to have access to multi systems and thus simultaneously improve the vehicle systems resulting in a synergistic enhancement of mission capabilities.

Pintle Motion Base Simulator (PMBS)/Ground Vehicle Simulation Laboratory go to top

The Pintle Motion Base Simulator (PMBS) is a hydraulically powered physical motion-base simulator. It is designed to test light to medium weight lunette trailers. It can impart motion to the lunette of a trailer (hitch) in three directions (vertical, lateral, and longitudinal). In addition, it also has the ability to move each wheel of a trailer in the vertical direction. It was designed to test trailers with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of up to 9,000 kg (20,000 lbs).

Power and Energy System Integration Laboratory go to top

The Power and Energy Program develops enabling technologies for combat hybrid electric vehicles. Measurements in the Power & Energy System Integration Laboratory (SIL) provide for the rapid and cost-effective validation and transition of advanced electrical technology to a vehicle, and a cost-effective means to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of combat vehicle architectures. Hardware-in-the-loop/Man-in-the-loop simulations are capable of validating Hybrid Electric modeling predictions. This supports Future Combat Systems (FCS), Electrothermal Chemical Gun and Electromagnetic Armor activities.

Powerwall/Immersive Virtual Environment (IVE) Laboratory go to top

The PowerWall facility is located in the National Automotive Center (NAC). It is a 7 x 15-foot rear-projected glass screen, with state-of-the-art Barco DLP projectors, surround sound audio, and video teleconferencing integrated with other NAC/TARDEC locations. It displays life-size flat and stereoscopic images. It is powered by TARDEC’s High Performance Computing systems as well as other computational platforms and audio/video resources. A prominent PowerWall feature is its ability to simultaneously display multiple images from multiple sources/locations.

Propulsion System Component Test Cells and Laboratories go to top

Six test cells are equipped to accommodate a variety of engine and transmission sizes. Capability includes evaluating engines from 100 BHP to 1400 BHP and transmissions from light-duty to main battle tank application.

Reconfigurable Automatic Virtual Environment (RAVE)/Immersive Virtual Environment (IVE) Laboratory go to top

The RAVE is a transportable multi-person, 8X10, high-resolution 3D-video/audio environment. The system has three rear projected screens, a front projected floor, Christie Digital Mirage 2000 DLP projectors, infrared emitters, Liquid Crystal Display stereoscopic shutter glasses, and an electro-magnetic tracking system. The RAVE can be setup in various configurations, including a traditional CAVE setup and a “COVE” setup with one wall opened to allow more people to view the images being displayed.

Reconfigurable N-Post Simulator/Ground Vehicle Simulation Laboratory go to top

The re-configurable motion base simulators feature vertical tire and track-coupled fixtures that are generally used for chassis and body/payload fatigue studies. These fixtures are easy to set up and can accommodate vehicle GVW’s up to 20 tons. Computer and servo-controlled hydraulic actuators provide the forcing function into the test specimen. The actuator duty cycle can originate from proving ground, computer-based, or swept sine sources.

Ride Motion Simulator (RMS)/Ground Vehicle Simulation Laboratory go to top

The ride motion simulator is a 6 degree of freedom motion simulator designed for crew station and Soldier-in-the-loop experimentation. It is capable of reproducing the ride of automotive, combat, tactical and nearly any ground vehicle with high precision. It has integrated motion, audio, and visual systems for high fidelity simulations.

Robotics System Integration Lab and Vehicle Bay go to top

This facility allows component technologies such as perception systems, human detection and intent analysis hardware/software, and UGV platform components, to be developed and integrated in a laboratory setting. Components and subsystems can then be assembled or transferred to a testbed chassis in the adjacent robotics high bay area for functional testing in preparation for field experiments.

Signature Management Field Testing Equipment go to top

Thermal test trailer with calibrated imagers and 64 ft. telescoping tower capability. Acoustic test trailer and towers for full hemisphere acoustic data collection. Two observer test trailers with automated computer scoring system. Visual test equipment including high resolution cameras, spectral photometers, and other equipment. Multiple operation, support, maintenance, and storage trailers with power generators and other required field testing assets.

Signature Management Virtual Design and Fabrication Laboratories go to top

In-house virtual design and computer modeling capabilities for thermal, radar, acoustic, and visual signature prediction and analysis. Computer analysis, laboratory, and fabrication facilities of over 13,000 sq. ft. dedicated to classified signature management programs and activities. This includes secure computer networks, data analysis and fabrication equipment, welders, and laboratory test equipment.

Single-cylinder Engine Research Test Cell and Laboratory go to top

A state-of-the-art, high output single cylinder diesel engine has been modified with a flexible prototype injection system and an associated flexible engine controller. Measurements include low-speed and high-speed parameters that evaluate both overall engine performance and in-cylinder combustion behavior. Facility also includes limited emission measurement capability.

Steady-State Vehicle Evaluation Test Cell and Laboratory go to top

Dynamometers are employed to test and evaluate engines, transmissions, drivelines, or total propulsion systems at the vehicle or component level assembly. The facility accommodates a broad range of vehicle platforms from light-duty High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) to main battle tank applications.

Steady/Transient State Hybrid Electric Propulsion Evaluation Test Cell and Lab go to top

New computer controlled load bank system and complementary data acquisition system installed/demonstrated during summer 2006. This unique facility equipment will accommodate a broad range of hybrid electric propulsion systems in component or vehicle level form for R&D testing and evaluation.

Surrogate Instrumented Mine Capability go to top

Surrogate Instrumented Mine (SIM) is comprised of specialized instrumentation and software. The SIM was developed to evaluate mine neutralization effectiveness and has the strong potential to be utilized to conduct anti-tank mine vehicular overpass analysis in a dynamic environment. The SIM provides real world data not previously available. This specialized tool has proven to be cost effective and provides valuable insight into the performance of CM equipment.

T-130 Track Bushing Research go to top

Endurance Simulation Machines to conduct experiments on new bushing designs, compounds, thermal management, and pin-bushing-shoe interaction to increase track bushing life. The bushing laboratory consists of three T130 simulation machines and two modular bushing machines. The T130 bushing machines allow new compounds and formulations to be evaluated along with conducting qualification tests under MIL-PRF-11891. Test machines are located at the Keweenaw Research Center.

TARDEC High Performance Computing (HPC) Center go to top

HPC systems include: 24-processor Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI) Onyx 3900, 32-processor SGI Onyx 350, 12-processor SGI Onyx 4, and 8-processor SGI Altix 3300 augmented with substantial storage (on-line and off-line) and HPC-specific high speed, high bandwidth fiberoptic networking for HPC-based computation and visualization throughout TARDEC’s Warren campus. The TARDEC HPC Center was established and designated as a DOD HPC Distributed Center from 1996 - 2002 and is still prominent, with national positive visibility and regard, in the Army and DOD HPC communities.

Test Sites go to top

Active Protection System (APS) configured test site is at New Mexico Tech, Energetic Materials Research Technical Center. This facility was the site of successful on-the-move demonstrations for the Integrated Survivability ATD Chemical Energy (CE) APS and is planned to support other TARDEC APS and electromagnetic (EM) armor experiments, tests and demonstrations.

Track Pad Abrasive Test go to top

Tests elastomer ground pad wear for various tracked vehicles over various surfaces.

Track Pad Blowout Test go to top

Tests heat build up in track ground pads to evaluate failure from hysteresis of elastomers. Test is a good indicator of track pad compounds performance in the field. Laboratory possesses two (2) machines manufactured by Baldwin.

U.S. Army TARDEC Laboratory University Partnerships go to top

In addition to the TARDEC Laboratory, these facilities - The University of Michigan, Clemson University, Oakland University, University of Alaska-Fairbanks, University of Iowa, University of Tennessee, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Wayne State University - are the 8 major university-based laboratories conducting research in Intelligent Vehicle Dynamics and Control, Human Centered Modeling and Simulation, High Performance Structures and Materials, Advanced and Hybrid Powertrains, and Integrated System Design and Simulation. Automotive Research Center (ARC) activities support vehicle design objectives of versatility, high mobility, modularity, and low cost. Increased emphasis is for research involving high mileage, low-polluting vehicles, particularly those employing hybrid powertrains. High technology needs for large trucks and off-road vehicles are emphasized.

Vehicle Inertia Properties Evaluation Rig (VIPER)/Ground Vehicle Simulation Laboratory go to top

The VIPER is used to accurately measure system and subsystem inertial characteristics of trucks, trailers, and turrets. Most vehicles can be evaluated without modification or disassembly. The VIPER consists of four in-ground scales, a configurable platform, and the software necessary to post-process the results.

Visual Perception Laboratory (VPL) go to top

This laboratory and it personnel provide support services for the development and testing of remote sensing systems and sensor fusion systems for a wide-variety of applications. The visual perception laboratory has 3 high-resolution BARCO graphics projectors and a 180-degree wrap-around screen for calibrated photosimulation of vehicles and other test targets. Digital imagery from the field is displayed. A state-of-the art 3D display is used for signature evaluation, 3D X-ray imaging of packages, sensor fusion for vehicle-based situational awareness vision systems and IED/mine detection. This laboratory enables sensor fusion work that supports TARDEC’s collaboration on the Distributed Aperture System (DAS) ATO.

Water Quality and Water Test Cell Laboratories go to top

This facility has the capability to develop, test and evaluate experimental and bench-scale water purification and treatment technology. The laboratory is equipped with analytical equipment capable of evaluating a wide range of water quality parameters and contaminants to include basic water quality, organics, metals, inorganic ions, and disinfection residuals. The facility is equipped with small scale flat sheet and membrane element test stands, small scale adsorbent columns, jar testing, and small scale filtration apparatus.