Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) received a Hardware Innovation of the Year award following a $2.5M upgrade to the climate testing cell at the Chrysler Technology Center in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The upgrade was a brand-new Burke Porter four-wheel-drive dynamometer installed by Integrated Design Solutions (IDS).

“We have installed a number of dyno’s over the years, but this is very special with an on-demand snow and ice ability. The few testing labs that have this ability are limited to the amount of snow produced. Our project team designed a system that could fill the entire room with snow if they wanted. In fact, Chrysler sent drawings to FIAT-Italy so they could duplicate it,” Dominic Paone, principal, vice president, director of automotive & research of IDS, said.

A dynamometer (or dyno) is a tool used by car tuners and automakers to test vehicles and see exactly how much power they can make among other things. The idea is to allow the testing of its vehicles in extreme conditions. Vehicles can be tested in conditions ranging from minus 40 degrees to 130 degrees. Wind speeds can reach 100 mph.

Watch video: Dynamometer test

Engineers can measure things like the durability of exterior materials in extreme cold or heat, or how certain fuels — gas, diesel, ethanol — react in different weather. They could be looking at whether air intakes might get clogged with snow in a blizzard and shut down the engine. Overall improving the safety and well-being of the consumer, durability of the vehicle and preventing dangerous recalls.“Our world-class environmental test center provides dynamic and static testing conditions to simulate the climatic environments that are experienced by our customers around the world,” John Nigro, vice president, product development of FCA North America, said.

The company also made improvements to ductwork and exhaust capabilities so the lab can accommodate high-output engines.

“With more 4×4 and all-wheel drive vehicles in our fleet than ever, this investment will go a long way to providing the durable cars and trucks our customers expect from us,” Nigro said.

Integrated Design Solutions is at the forefront of innovation, providing FCA with state-of-the-art hardware installation and more. We’ve worked with FCA for many years and look forward to future endeavors with them.

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