Enric Martí is a mechanical engineer and works at the Applus+ IDIADA Climatic Chamber as an emissions engineer. His main task in the organisation is to analyse the emissions that vehicles emit into the atmosphere.
Tell us what is the main mission of your department, who is part of it and the day-to-day work routine of you and your colleagues.
To understand the role of the Powertrain department, we have to think of the moment we start our vehicle, engage first gear and set off for our destination. Everything that influences this journey at the engineering level is what we work on in the department. From the development of the engine, the functioning of the fuel system and the vehicle's performance, to the analysis of thermal reactions and emissions, including extensive benchmarking in order not to lose speed in the highly competitive automotive world.
The Climatic Chamber department team comprises seven professionals with technical, managerial and engineering roles. Within this team, I work as an engineer on projects with completely different brands, vehicle types and equipment. Every day, my work is a continuous flow of knowledge and training, as I am always working with new vehicles, new technologies and different customer methodologies.
What is the climatic chamber and what kind of projects and/or tests are carried out there?
The Climatic Chamber is a laboratory in which we create controllable climatic conditions. In other words, it allows us to carry out tests simulating the extreme climatic conditions that can be found, for example, in Death Valley, in the US, or the bitter cold of Siberia, in Russia. We apply this mainly to vehicle development and emission approvals, but we also offer our equipment to external customers for all kinds of uses.
There are roughly four types of tests. First are emissions tests, in which we reproduce real driving patterns to measure emissions in different situations and compare them with one another. The second type is emissions certifications, to validate vehicles according to different regulations worldwide. Third, we perform tests related to emissions, or to the operation of different parts or components of the vehicle, at extreme temperatures, within a range of -30ºC to +60ºC. Finally, we develop sunlight and cold simulations for durability and quality projects on both exterior and interior parts of the vehicles.
All four tests are carried out just a few kilometers from Barcelona. We have a professional team with the capacity to measure and comply with the highest safety standards.
What challenges do you face in your everyday work?
Everyday life in the Applus+ IDIADA Climatic Chamber varies depending on the type of test, and whether we are dealing with vehicles that are at an early or later stage of development. In the first case, the changes in planning and testing are constant and unpredictable, so our team needs to be able to provide multiple solutions to the client in a limited timeframe, which makes this type of project very interesting. In the second instance, the tasks are much more intuitive and with fewer surprises, since the vehicle is at a more developed stage and we work with more information.
What benefits do these projects bring to society?
Safety and being environmentally friendly: more and better. That would be the headline in terms of the benefits we bring to society.
When it comes to safety, we contribute to making the journey to work or a weekend family trip totally safe and comfortable. In terms of the environment, we contribute directly to the reduction of pollutants that vehicles emit into the atmosphere and to the development of greener vehicles, with materials that are more efficient and leave a smaller environmental footprint.
How does the department adapt to the technological changes in the automotive sector and what are the department's plans for the future?
Applus+ makes adaptation a part of its culture practically every day, as the vast majority of the projects we work on are cutting-edge and advance hand-in-hand with the automotive industry's most up-to-date technology. Therefore, I wouldn't talk just about adaptation, but rather about technological culture.
This is one of several points that make Applus+ an ideal organisation to thrive as an employee and as a person. I would also highlight the international environment, the culture of continuous improvement, and the flexible working conditions.