Smithers Rapra, a rubber, plastics and composites testing company, is opening a new product-testing laboratory in Suzhou, China. The new 4,000-square-foot facility provides air leak and burst, cleanliness, material properties, salt spray, and pressure, vibration and temperature (PVT) testing. The new laboratory will be positioned to support the quickly evolving automotive market in China with fluid transfer system expertise. This lab will combine with existing labs in Akron, Ohio; Lansing, Michigan; and Shawbury, England, to support Smithers’ global clients.
“The automotive market in China has experienced enormous growth over the past several years,” said Derek Read, vice president – Asia Operations, Smithers Rapra. “In addition to traditional internal combustion engines, electric vehicles have become the wave of the future. New battery technologies require temperature regulation via hoses. We anticipate significant changes in how hoses will be made and tested, and our laboratory can accommodate that shift.”
The laboratory will be able to support vehicle OEMs and tier suppliers with validation testing for a wide variety of fluid transfer systems used on the vehicle. From brake and fuel lines to coolant hoses, radiators and turbochargers, the experienced local team can test to international and OEM standards as well as develop custom benchmarking programs to support R&D efforts.
“Smithers is adapting to a changing global automotive market. Our commitment to serving domestic and multinational clientele calls for us to grow with the market into electric, autonomous and beyond,” said Nat Leonard, president, Smithers Rapra. “We have been in Suzhou for over seven years building an industry leading tire and wheel testing lab, and plan to continue to evaluate the expansion into other testing services for various automotive components.”
The Suzhou laboratory is ISO 17025-certified and will likely be followed by continued expansion in the region to support client needs. This investment in China comes as the country reported 579,000 electric vehicle sales in 2017, reporting the highest sales numbers for any country for the year according to Forbes.
Smithers Rapra operates laboratories in North America, Europe and Asia, covering a wide variety of testing and consulting services from material chemistry and product durability testing, to tire, wheel and winter testing.