Great changes are afoot at Lamborghini. For the past two years, the company has been busy increasing the size of its Sant’Agata Bolognese factory from 5,000m2 (53,820ft2) to 7,000m2 (75,348ft2), in support of entering into production with Urus, its hotly anticipated first SUV product, next year.
As well as vastly expanding its prototype and pre-series vehicle areas, the Italian OEM has unveiled a new acoustic test room that will support the acoustic adjustment of new lightweight construction components and play a key role in the development of future vehicle concepts and drivetrain systems.
It also signals the end of the super sports car marque having to travel to Germany to use the facilities of fellow VW Group members every time it needs to measure the aural effects of its famous V10s and V12s.
“We don’t calculate savings in terms of hours or days, but we’re definitely much faster and more flexible now,” says Andreas Rothe, lead engineer for Lamborghini’s NVH and acoustics team. “We can share the tests with our colleagues instantly and if we need to perform any urgent retests we can do those very quickly and easily, too.”
Officially inaugurated this past summer by Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali and Maurizio Reggiani, head of R&D, the anechoic chamber was realized in under a year. “It took us three months to confirm the design, four months to prepare the existing building – by changing the air climate system and electric power, and so on – and another three months to construct and certify the chamber,” says Rothe.
A key partner on the project was SITA (Society Italia Technology Acoustics), a company located just 10km (6.2 miles) from Lamborghini’s Sant’Agata Bolognese site. “They have experience building this type of facility and provide servicing, so it was a good decision for us to work with them,” says Roth. Although he doesn’t specify the exact cost of the chamber, Roth admits that the investment outlay is in the “hundreds of thousands” of dollars.
TECH SAVVY The external dimensions of the chamber are 9.5 x 8 x 4.5m (31.1 x 26.2 x 14.7ft). The wall thickness is 0.5m (1.6ft). Therefore, internally the chamber measures 8.5 x 7 x 4m (27.8 x 22.9 x 13.1ft), giving a floor space of 59.5m2 (640ft2).
The room features air ventilation systems that circulate 6,000m3 (222,485ft3) of air per minute, as well as exhaust gas extractors that remove 500m3 (17,658ft3) of air per minute, allowing engineers to perform tests while a vehicle idles. Furthermore, a hydraulic platform has been installed that enables Rothe and his colleagues to lift a vehicle into the chamber.
In the outer area of the chamber, engineers man workstations that host computers measuring all the recorded data.
Equipment-wise, Roth says only the newest and best solutions have been chosen, such as binaural recording systems and artificial heads from Head Acoustics, microphones and accelerometers from Brüel & Kjær, and LMS Test.
Lab (multichannel data acquisition with analysis and data management tools) from Siemens PLM Software.
A core team of five engineers will staff the facility full-time, however the chamber will be used by all of Lamborghini’s R&D department, which means Rothe and his colleagues could soon be working with as many as 300 people.
“Specialist engineers from the engine, body, squeak and rattle, and the suspension departments, to name a few, will come to us and support us with our measurements.
We’re not decoupled from these departments; we are always working with them.”
Although the chamber can be used 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Rothe says it will likely be used predominately during normal working hours.
“It depends on the requirement, but if we have requests for longer test periods, then we can accommodate this.”
And although many Urus and Aventator prototypes will undoubtedly enter the echo-free room, Rothe is just as excited at the prospect of evaluating a host of new lightweight components, too.
“For example, if we have a new dashboard with new air vents, then we can put just that inside the new chamber and simulate the sound of the air that comes out of the vents.
There’s no need to put a full vehicle inside. We can also measure electric pumps statically inside the chamber, with reproducible conditions, which is extremely important for comparing two different variants and determining whether we’re heading in the right development direction.”