Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Millbrook test cells ready next month

Millbrook Group expects its new engine test cells will be completed and ready for use by the end of next month.
The expansion will include four new engine test cells designed primarily for CEC fuels testing, which will allow Millbrook to provide customers with fuels testing in compliance with The Coordinating European Council requirements.
Millbrook, previously known as the Millbrook Proving Ground, claims to be a leading independent vehicle test, validation and engineering service provider. Millbrook is in Bedfordshire.
This announcement follows on from completion of the move of the main road through the site to provide infrastructure and space, as well as upgrades to the existing test cells for enhanced performance and emissions development capabilities.
The development of the new test cells forms part of significant ongoing investment in Millbrook’s Powertrain department with committed spend reaching £11 million this year alone, ensuring that Millbrook remains state of the art and the leading proving ground in the UK.
The new powertrain facility will have four engine test cells, a central control room, a purpose built fuel blending area and integrated delivery system.
Phil Stones, chief engineer powertrain at Millbrook said: “This further investment in Millbrook’s capabilities allows us to increase our support for the petrochemical industry where the development in fuels continues at a pace in order to keep up with new engine technology, increased levels of biofuel content and the search for better fuel economy. This complements our other test facilities and allows us to provide an outstanding service to our customers with our chassis dynamometer and unique proving ground facilities.”
Alex Burns, chief executive officer of Millbrook Group said: “At Millbrook we are continually reviewing and updating our facilities in order to ensure we are the number one facility for all automotive testing applications in the UK. Our independent and impartial service is crucial to clients and we look forward to the launch of the new Engine Test Cell facility and the increased capabilities of our Powertrain team.”
It will be recalled that Millbrook Proving Ground, formerly owned by General Motors, was purchased by Rutland Partners in October 2013. Since then, Rutland has maintained a low-profile in the background running of the Bedfordshire business. 
Almost exactly two years after Rutland stepped in to take Millbrook off GM's hands - in fact, almost to the day - another of the UK's strategic vehicle engineering and testing facility - and one much larger in size and scope than Millbrook - came up for sale. MIRA was acquired by Japan-based automotive test equipment supplier Horiba which had already established an important client base in the UK, especially within JaguarLandRover. For years, MIRA had been the UK's bespoke vehicle testing facility and one that was used by almost every vehicle manufactuer in the country.
Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see which of the facilities at Millbrook is the focus of further investment. It is known that the 'bowl' is one such item. Certainly, the arrival last October of Horiba on the scene in the vehicle testing arena will have sharpened the focus of several minds in this sector.

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