Research facility expanded for large-scale testing
The Heavy Article Test facility at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, Tex., has been upgraded and is now available for fabricating and testing structures such as full-scale airplanes, large-scale industrial robots and automation systems, or other items. The upgrade added nearly 6,500-sq-ft, bringing usable working space to 14,350-sq-ft.
The original facility, completed in July 2014, included 100-ton and 50-ton bridge cranes, and an 8,000-cubic-foot test pit. The upgrade added a 25-ton bridge crane with a 45-foot hook height. The additional square footage includes office space and a second controlled laboratory area. Large hangar doors on the north and south walls provide easy access to the high bay, allowing trucks to drive through the facility when delivering large, heavy items. Other added features include a fully controllable air exhaust system for removing heat and fumes, and a 95-ton capacity air-cooled water chiller.
“The added space and ready access allow us to safely handle, fabricate, and test very large structural and mechanical systems,” said Tim Fey, director of the Structural Engineering Department in SwRI’s Mechanical Engineering Division. He said that they can now perform static and fatigue testing on aircraft with larger wing spans as well as other large components for a variety of industries.
Previously, SwRI has built a one-quarter scale submarine, tested full-scale aircraft, and designed and fabricated a variety of robotic systems.
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI)
– Edited by CFE Media. See more Control Engineering robotics stories.