Dunton ETL Toasts 20 Years of Taking Vehicles to the Limit

Dave Russell, Global Digital Engineering tools chief, cutting the 20th birthday cake, with Mike Corder and the ETL team

DUNTON, England – Ford’s Dunton Environmental Test Laboratory has just marked 20 years of being at the forefront of advanced climatic testing.

Opened on September 24, 1999, following a $50 million investment by the company, the ETL is a highly regarded, world-class test facility, instrumental in reducing the time it takes to achieve Ford's stringent vehicle standards.

At a special event held there last week, special guest Dave Russell, Global Digital Engineering tools chief, was invited to cut a cake as employees gathered for the celebration.

Vehicles that enter the ETL are subjected to a wide range of simulated real-world climatic conditions. Two of its four test chambers can reproduce barometric pressure experienced at altitudes ranging from 91.4 m below sea level to 3,658 m above sea level, the equivalent of Death Valley in California and La Paz in the Bolivian Andes. And Chamber 1's main fan can achieve airflow speeds of up to 225 km/h.

The facility can also simulate road conditions at speeds of up to 250 km/h, while all chambers have temperature control ranging from -40C to +55C.

Mike Corder, Environmental Test Lab and Mileage Accumulation Facility supervisor, said: “We are getting ready to support the electrification of our vehicles. As well as working to support vehicle programmes with existing powertrains, we are investing to support vehicles with electric powertrains."

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