The days of having cars sit out in the Arizona sun for days on end may be over for Nissan, as the company experiments with new lab -technology that simulates sun-exposure on body paint for a fraction of the time.
At its Detroit engineering centre, Nissan is using the Xenon Weather-Ometer (XWO), a tool that evaluates material durability in different climate conditions, with the ability to analyze 100s of different samples (paint, plastics and interior materials) simultaneously. The company readily admits the machine is not meant to replace real world tests, but to supplement them.
“In addition to rigorous real-world tests, this tool allows us to create harsh environments,” said Doug Prytula, a Nissan North America technician for body and chassis testing. “It is one more step we take to ensure Nissan’s quality standards are second-to-none.”
XWO uses a 4,000-watt Xenon bulb to simulate the sun by using solar-like wavelengths. The samples rotate around the bulb to simulate the earth’s rotation and tilt on its axis relative to the sun. The only difference is that this sun shines 24/7, if it has to, meaning that testing takes a fraction of the time it would take in the real world, while engineers observe the proceedings through a number of cycles.