Automotive Power Distribution Innovation Center Opened
Royal Power Solutions has added the $3-million Henrik Freitag Innovation Center to its Illinois headquarters. The state-of-the-art workspace and A2LA-accredited lab is designed to spur design collaboration and creativity among its engineering team while validating new products as they develop.
Named for the longtime owner of Royal Die & Stamping, the innovation center is the latest development that transitions Royal to a full-service solutions provider since Industrial Growth Partners' acquisition in 2017.
"The Innovation Center reinforces Royal's move to become a leader in complete system solutions for challenges posed by electrification," said CEO Randy Ross. "We now offer one-stop-shop capabilities to design, test and manufacture new products in-house for automobiles, other road and off-road vehicles and varied industrial uses."
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According to Wood Mackenzie, electric-car sales will hit 100 million by 2035 and make up 85 percent of all new car sales, which positions Royal for substantial growth in the rapidly growing electrification market according to Ross.
The 12,000-square-foot innovation center and quality control lab is located in the center of Royal's production floor and is home to 22 engineers who work together and share ideas in one workspace that breaks down communications barriers.
Jim Dawson, Royal's Vice President of Engineering and Technology, said the innovation center nurtures curiosity and allows Royal to look creatively at product design with a commercialization set of parameters, including simplicity, number of processes, alternative and reduced materials, and faster cycle times.
"Not many companies our size have taken the next steps to create a comfortable and empowered workspace that fosters innovation of this kind," Dawson said. "By being vertically integrated and validating in-house, we control costs and schedules and can move products to market more quickly."
Larry Brooks, Royal's Test Lab Engineering Manager, said Royal has made a substantial investment in state-of-the-art equipment that allows it to validate products and benchmark against alternatives with data that OEMs will accept.
The new additions fall into three families of testing equipment: Temperature humidity chambers producing environments from -40°C up to +1,250°C; thermal complex environmental chambers producing 13,000 lbf and capable of a 100-G,11-ms shock pulse with temperature cycling; and corrosion testing equipment to prove products can hold up to rain and chemical exposure including battery acids, oil and gas.
In addition, Royal has added a torsional ultrasonic welder to test terminal and wire connections.
"This new Innovation Center testing equipment allows us to more effectively and efficiently manage internal product development processes and the time cycles for their design," said Brooks. "Previously, we relied on external labs to complete our validation requirements."
Dawson said Royal received its ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation for Mechanical Testing in October (meeting the general requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories).
Among Royal's latest innovations tested at the lab is the High Power Lock Box (HPLB), the first scalable, high current terminal system on the market with 360° compliance that meets or exceeds the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) T4 & V4 standards (the most severe temperature and vibration exposure tests currently conducted). HPLB also meets USCAR's S3 standard for sealing (sealed against high pressure spray).
The two-piece terminal system with an internal spring provides increasing force to support and ensure positive contact throughout the T4, V4 & S3 regiments when mated to a female terminal system.