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Mercury Marine Expands with $10 Million Noise, Vibration, Harshness Technical Center

06-Dec-2018

Just eight months after breaking ground, Mercury Marine cut the ribbon to open a new state of the art expansion at its Fond du Lac headquarters. The $10-million Noise, Vibration, Harshness Technical Center gives the company the largest and most expansive testing facility in the marine industry. Vice President of Product Development and Engineering Tim Reid tells us the facility will keep their work ahead of the curve. 

Reid says when they develop something new, “ten years, we’ll produce that product, twenty years. So when we target to be Best in Class, we aren’t targeting Best in Class today – we’re projecting where our competition could be in ten years and we’re trying to get beyond that so that we’re always staying ahead of them. And that ability in this room as an engineering tool to stay ahead is what’s critical.”

The 20,000 square foot facility has offices - along with vibration testing bays and two marine-specific hemi-anechoic chambers designed to provide a consistent test environment, which mimics being out on the open water without any outside noises being present. 

Reid tells us the vibration testing bays allow them to find the exact cause behind any potential problems when a boat get a bit shaky. 

He says “well what we can do is go in there and we can analyze that component with some different instrumentation to understand why it’s vibrating and propose to our partner boat builders ‘hey if you change this like this, with this structure, that vibration will go away’.”

Reid also says the hemi-anechoic sound chambers allow them to be extremely particular with how the engine sounds. 

He explains that “our focus is really doing even more and more refined development on the noise standpoint so that when we go to production we’ve tweaked every single knob so that the engine presents itself in the best light when it goes to the customer.”

Outside of the included technology, the facility also provides a collective work space for engineers and technicians to work more efficiently and solve any potential issues in a faster manner. 

Reid adds that “the beauty of this center – it takes a number of our engineers that do testing throughout the main plant area and it moves them into one central engineering area. So that the engineers and technicians can work very independent and be in an environment that the can quickly solve problems because the lab is just right outside, so they can work quickly to update and modify components.”

Reid also says 23 of the 24 major contractors who worked on the expansion are from Wisconsin, and many - including CD Smith Construction and Excel Engineering - are from the Fond du Lac area. 

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