GM Lab Exemplifies Hazardous Design

As the largest noise, vibration and harshness lab in North America, the design of General Motor's 347,000-square-foot Noise and Vibration Analysis Laboratory in Milford, Mich., involved comprehensive hazardous area design by engineers from HarleyEllis, Southfield, Mich.

11/01/2000


As the largest noise, vibration and harshness lab in North America, the design of General Motor's 347,000-square-foot Noise and Vibration Analysis Laboratory in Milford, Mich., involved comprehensive hazardous area design by engineers from HarleyEllis, Southfield, Mich.

In its research areas, the building contains 11 engine dynamometer test cells used to benchmark GM's components against its competition. The complex nature of the space dictated the implementation of 100-percent fresh-air systems to eliminate the possibility of carbon-monoxide and hydrocarbon buildup within each cell. Additionally, carbon-monoxide and hydrocarbon gas-detection systems were installed to alert staff of potential health risk. High-temperature carbon-monoxide exhaust systems dismisses excessive exhaust temperatures during engine backfires.

During actual research periods, test engines are run until failure, increasing the need for fire protection. A carbon-dioxide fire-suppression system was designed for this purpose. Fuel piping is located underground, outside of the building envelope, to minimize internal leakage. Each fuel pipe is further contained within conduit to eliminate environmental contamination. Additionally, the building structure is designed with exterior blowout panels to channel explosive force away from the facility.

Each laboratory contains an integrated set of systems controls, enabling each cell to operate on its own system, maximizing consistency and efficiency. Intrinsically safe electrical devices provide maximum reliability.





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