Case Studies

Automotive Vibro-Acoustic Test Facility, Plymouth, Michigan

Automotive Test Facility

Location: Plymouth, Michigan
Collins & Aikman
Architects/Engineers: Ghafari and Associates
Building Contractors: The Rudolph Libbe Companies

Collins & Aikman Corporation, until its closure, was a manufacturer of cockpit modules and automotive floor and acoustic systems and a supplier of instrument panels, automotive fabric, plastic based trim and convertible top systems. The Company’s operations spanned 15 countries, incorporating about 120 facilities and approximately 25,000 employees. In North America, Collins & Aikman manufactured components for approximately 90% of all light vehicle production platforms.

The Collins & Aikman Technical Centre in Plymouth Michigan, (now owned and operated by International Automotive Components), contains over 1800 square meters of laboratory space dedicated to the design and development of cost effective solutions to vehicle noise and vibration problems. HGC Engineering was brought in to support the development of a major expansion of its vibro-acoustic testing facilities that included :

A Sound Quality Laboratory: The primary focus of this new laboratory was  for final customer verification of vehicle Noise/Vibration/Harshness (NVH) performance. The laboratory developed sound quality metrics and acoustic synthesis for tuning of vibro-acoustic signatures and provided the ability for customers to “judge” sound quality under noise-controlled conditions.

A Hemi Anechoic Chassis Roll Control Center:  As a capability enhancement to North America’s largest supplier-owned hemi-anechoic full-vehicle 4WD chassis dynamometer, the new digital control center provided high sample rate vehicle monitoring and closed loop feedback for road and powertrain operating conditions with full-field observation of the chamber. In addition to precise operating control of the vehicle, the control room was integrated with the NVH data acquisition measurement system.

A Robotic Sound Transmission Loss Chamber: With precise measurement location control, a six-axis programmable robot linked to a Pulse sound intensity system performs both material sample and dash/floor system sound intensity mapping. Using a robotic arm to perform these tests provided data that was significantly more accurate and  up to eight times faster than the manual measurement methods traditionally used within the automotive acoustic industry. In addition, the system delivered a higher level of detail in design information, achieving optimal damping and barrier noise control.

Acoustical Consulting Services Included:

  • A site survey of environmental noise and vibration levels from neighbouring road, rail and air traffic sources
  • Designed the building envelope for sufficient noise insulation
  • Designed vibration isolation system for the chassis dynamometer
  • Designed the shape and specified the performance of the large hemi-anechoic chamber for pass by noise testing
  • Designed and specified a reverberation suite for transmission loss testing
  • Silenced the HVAC systems for these critical spaces.


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