SUZHOU, China—Smithers Rapra will open a new 4,000-sq.-ft. product testing laboratory in Suzhou.
The facility will provide air leak and burst, cleanliness, material properties, salt spray and pressure, vibration and temperature testing, according to a Smithers news release.
Positioned to support the developing automotive market in China and global clients, it will combine with existing labs in Akron; Lansing, Mich.; and Shawbury, England.
The laboratory will be able to support vehicle original equipment manufacturers and tier suppliers with validation testing for fluid transfer systems used on the vehicle, including brake and fuel lines, coolant hoses, radiators and turbochargers, Smithers said. The team can test to international and OEM standards as well as develop custom benchmarking programs for research and development.
The new facility is ISO 17025-certified and Smithers expects to continue expansion in the region to support client needs, the company said. The investment in China comes after reports of 579,000 electric vehicle sales in 2017, the highest sales numbers for any country for the year, according to Forbes.
New battery technologies for electric vehicles require temperature regulation via hoses, and Smithers expects changes in how hoses will be made and tested, according to Derek Read, vice president, Asia operations. The new facility is able to accommodate that shift.
Smithers already has had a presence in Suzhou for more than seven years, building a tire and wheel testing lab, and will continue to evaluate expansion into other testing services, said Smithers President Nat Leonard.