Clemson opens testing lab at CU-ICAR


GREENVILLE — After again recognizing a key industry need, Clemson University today officially opened the Component Testing Laboratory at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR).

The state-of-the-art facility means Tier 1 automotive suppliers can test interior components under a wide array of parameters, complementing existing full-vehicle testing and systems integration research at CU-ICAR.

Initial testing services include advanced solar simulation, environmental/climate testing, and shaker/vibration testing. Some of the infrastructure in the lab will be the only equipment of its kind in the United States, and Upstate automaker BMW Manufacturing Co. will accredit the laboratory for use by its suppliers.

The laboratory is located in the Center for Emerging Technologies, where emerging or established companies can expand and develop technologies that complement research of Clemson faculty and students. The center, which opened in May, is designed to complete the technology chain from laboratory to the consumer end-user.

Clemson University President James F. Barker said one of the most critical components of CU-ICAR’s mission is to add value to automotive companies in South Carolina. The Component Testing Laboratory will allow those companies become more competitive, he said.

“The Component Testing Laboratory is a response to the industry’s need for local testing of interior components,” Barker said. “We listen to industry, and we respond.”

The laboratory has two chambers.

Chamber 1 comprises a vibration chamber, which features temperature and humidity control, and a shaker system, which can accommodate vertical and lateral vibration testing.

Chamber 2 features a walk-in solar chamber for OEM climate solar simulation tests, and a solar array with solar simulation that can simulate in-vehicle conditions of components commonly exposed to solar irradiation inside the cockpit.

Always with an emphasis on education, the testing laboratory will enable CU-ICAR students and faculty to identify potential areas of research with existing and new public-private partners, said John Kelly, Clemson University vice president for economic development.

Further, the facility likely will help CU-ICAR’s partners become more competitive in the marketplace, he said. Companies can test components locally rather than send them to their own facilities, which often are overseas.

“With an advanced component testing facility in Upstate South Carolina, the automotive industry here will be able to save time and money,” Kelly said. “Such shortcuts help deliver their innovations to the marketplace faster and more competitively.”

For more details, contact laboratory and project manager Rob McDaris at 864-283-7100 or


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