Ford Deploys Mobile Testing Labs for 2017 Super Duty
Towable Units Allow for Controlled Testing In Any Area
Few vehicles live as punishing an existence as heavy-duty pickups. They’re used in some of the most inhospitable environments, often on unpaved roads, and are slammed into and out of gear and driven pedal-to-the-metal to get the job done on time. In developing the 2017 Ford Super Duty, Dearborn made sure the truck was tested thoroughly to be able to handle anything drivers could dish out. To help facilitate and streamline that process, Ford deployed one of eight mobile terrain and temperature simulator units to the Louisville Truck plant in Kentucky to allow for quick on-site testing of trucks coming off the pilot line to check for squeaks and rattles.
The Transportable Environmental Four Poster trailer houses a four-point road simulator to put the Super Duty’s suspension to the test. Climate control can bring the temperature down to a chilly -20 degrees or a sweltering 120 degrees. The combination of the suspension shock testing and temperature variation help development engineers pinpoint potential trouble spots for squeaks and rattles, which can be exacerbated by vibrations and temperature extremes.
Ford claims it is the only automaker in the world to have these units and has used them in the development of more than 100 models globally. By the time it reaches showrooms, the 2017 Ford Super Duty will have undergone more than 12 million miles of cumulative testing, the most for any Ford truck to date.