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Filtration and the protection of induction systems are vital to the sustainment and longevity of ground combat systems, particularly for vehicles operating in environments with heavy sand and dust. The Air Filtration Lab (AFL) is a new 5,000-square-foot testing facility housed in the new GSPEL to thoroughly evaluate components and systems and prepare them for operations in challenging environments.
The lab provides independent air filtration system evaluation in a controlled test environment to protect the life cycles of ground systems' prime movers, auxiliary power units and nuclear, biological and chemical systems.
This lab was designed to test complete air filtration systems, sub-components and filter elements with air flows up to 12,000 standard cubic feet per minute (SCFM), and is comprised of four separate flow benches using varying ranges of air flow — 0-250 SCFM, 0-2,000 SCFM, 0-5,000 SCFM and 0-12,000 SCFM. The lab is also equipped with automated dust feeding devices enabling simultaneous test operations from zero visibility to four times zero visibility. Through the new, state- of-the-art filtration technologies we will be able to demonstrate their expected performances in the lab before vehicle installation or system integration.
GVSET News spoke with Tom Schiele, Acting Team Leader on TARDEC's Testing and Evaluation Team, about the benefits this new capability will provide the Army.
What capabilities does this lab provide that were not previously available?
Multiple independent test-bench operations are available, as well as a higher overall testing flow range. The original AFL was limited to 1,200 SCFM under controlled conditions, but the new lab provides testing up to 12,000 SCFM, including multiple benches working together, enabling evaluation of large-capacity air filtration systems, such as the M1 Abrams system.
What benefit does this provide the Army?
Proper induction system air filtration is one of the most vital components to sustaining mobility platform life cycles. Many new and innovative concepts can now be proven with state-of-the-art testing capabilities, giving engineers the tools to validate and prove out product performance specifications. The AFL can simulate real-world temperature, humidity and airborne particulate test conditions. This provides rapid solutions for field issues, concept acceptance and first-article validation, saving costs and Soldiers' lives by maturing technology before implementation on ground systems.
What dual-use benefit can this provide to industry and academic partners, and what collaborative opportunities will it provide?
Only a few large filtration manufacturers have the capability to test and validate complete induction systems because of the air-flow range required. This laboratory has enough air-flow capacity to manage complete system testing. Manufacturers of filtration and flow systems, as well as academic partners, are provided the opportunity to work with these laboratories in collaborative efforts, which will benefit the mobility community and our military.
What is the first project/vehicle you're going to test in this new lab?
We plan on validating and performing acceptance testing of the larger air-flow benches using a full M1 Abrams air filtration self-cleaning system. Our first test article after bench validation is a HMMWV [High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle] no-wrench-required element validation test.
This facility's unique capabilities are available for use by Government Agencies, Military installations, academic institutions or private business entities, upon approval and with proper security clearance. To make arrangements to use the Air Filtration Lab, contact the user liaison for this facility. You may also view our list of comprehensive laboratory capabilities to ensure that this facility best suits your needs.
TARDEC Ground Vehicle Gateway
The Air Filtration Lab is part of TARDEC's Ground Systems Power and Energy Laboratory. Other labs and test facilities within this group include:
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