2015 chevy impala ・ Photo by Chevrolet
General Motors has recently opened a new brake test facility at the GM Proving Ground in Milford, Michigan. The 14,000 square foot facility has a test chamber with walls padded with sound proofing to provide a quiet enviroment for testing, and has also been designed to accomodate vast changes in climate and moisture conditions, being able to dramatically alter its temperature within about 15 minutes.
GM vehicles are able to make 1,900 stops in 2 and a half days (that’s nearly one stop every minute, or more than 52 stops an hour), compared to the 1,000 stops made in two weeks using their previous testing methods. With their new brake chassis dynamometer they can simulate braking in weather conditions ranging from a dry Alaskan cold to a hot and humid tropical island. The state of the art facility was developed in conjunction with GM supplier Link Engineering, can run 24 hours a day, simulate underbody airflow, and change temperatures and humidity.
Before GM developed their brake test facility the team had to rely on test driving vehicles at the track and on a two wheel drive chassis dynamometer. Using these methods they were able to find and mitigate around 85% of existing brake noises. The new facility should allow them to address the remaining 15% of the noise, and help them remain industry leaders. The result is a braking experience that is quiet, and one that customers associate with a quality vehicle.
“If we do our job correctly, the customer won’t notice our work,” said Brent Lowe, GM performance engineer for brake noise development. “Watch any movie and you’ll hear brake squeal every time a car stops because Hollywood loves to add the brake squeaking sound effect, and nothing bugs me more. We work to make sure our brakes lead the industry in silence.”