The new facility will allow GKN Driveline’s North American customers to test All-Wheel-Drive and eDrive systems for longevity, safety, power and torque performance in low-traction driving conditions. It is an important tool in GKN Driveline’s drive to develop the next generation of technologically advanced systems for the global auto industry.
The facility is adjacent to the Smithers Rapra winter test track and features a main bay with four vehicle hoists and three private garages. Each garage features its own entrance, ensuring privacy and security for GKN Driveline customers.
The SWTC facility now gives GKN Driveline three winter test facilities around the world. The company currently operates other winter test facilities in Sweden and China.
“All-wheel-drive technology continues to grow in overall consumer acceptance and demand and has emerged as a key product differentiator for vehicle manufacturers,” said Gavin Streather, senior director, Global Engineering Processes and Systems at GKN Driveline, who will oversee the facility’s operation. “The private facility will allow our engineers to collaborate with customer engineering teams to develop and tune all-wheel-drive systems that meet unique brand characteristics for a variety of vehicles.
Located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the SWTC is a world-class facility ideal for testing and evaluating vehicles under the special challenges of extreme cold and hazardous road conditions. The facility features more than 750 acres of snow, ice and bare pavement and is ideal for testing a variety of vehicle types ranging from small automobiles to Class 8 trucks.
“Smithers Rapra is thrilled that GKN is expanding their presence at the winter test center,” said Jim Popio, PhD., vice president, Smithers Rapra. “We look forward to engaging with them for years to come as they continue to test their driveline technologies.”