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Behr builds $15 million wind tunnel in Michigan

Behr America Inc. unveiled a $15 million climatic wind tunnel last week in its North American headquarters and technical center in Troy, MI.

The technologically advanced tunnel can accommodate all vehicle classes, from small passenger cars to Class 8 trucks with dual-tandem rear axles.

Behr says it expects a third of the tunnel's usage to be for heavy trucks initially, pointing out its 800-hp dynamometer here to accommodate heavy trucks.

Behr Group Chairman and CEO Marcus Flik says the new Troy tunnel is unique because it can be used to test air-conditioning and engine-cooling systems in a variety of vehicles, as well as a variety of climate and road conditions.

The Troy wind tunnel has a whopping 1,025-hp fan to create winds with speeds up to 125 mph (201 km/h). It also can recreate a sunny or partly cloudy day with its "day profile" solarium. Full-spectrum sunlight that passes across the sky during the course of a day can be simulated in the solarium.

The tunnel also can simulate:

· Relative humidity of 5% to 95%. · Air temperatures of -22° F to 122° F (-30° C to 50° C). · Wind/driving speeds of 125 mph for a passenger car and 75 mph (125 km/h) for a truck. · A tail wind of 9 mph (15 km/h). · Background noise level of <65 dB(A) at 31 mph (50 km/h).

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