Lifting the lid on Krossholmen28/09/2015
Nestled in an enclave near the mouth of Sweden’s Göta Älv River lies the Krossholmen Test Center, Volvo Penta’s primary marine leisure testing facility. On the face of it, Krossholmen seems to be a low-key arrangement, but there is more to this test center than first meets the eye: behind closed doors it is, in fact, the largest and best-equipped facility of its kind in Europe.
An array of cutting-edge test methods and a team of skilled mechanics, boat maintenance technicians, and test engineers, are Krossholmen’s secret ingredient. With 24 employees working on as many as 30 test and demo boats at any one time, Krossholmen remains almost perpetually active during both the summer and winter months. In a typical year, the test center can rack up over 5,000 hours of testing time, while the test and demo boats will usually cover around 40,000 nautical miles at sea.
“The test center lies between the design and release phases of a product’s lifecycle,” Klas Karlsson, product development engineer at Volvo Penta, explains. “Krossholmen is quite unique within our industry – to have a single facility that can perform all of the tests that we carry out here gives Volvo Penta a distinctive edge on its competitors.”
Tried and tested
Test and demo boat operations run parallel at the center, both fulfilling equally important functions within Krossholmen’s daily operations. Although boat testing is what Krossholmen is best known for, it only contributes to around half of the work carried out at the facility.
It is the Krossholmen Test Center’s job to detect and correct every design flaw before the product is released to the market — even a minute defect could prove disastrous to a product’s functionality if overlooked at this crucial stage of the development process.
“In order to uphold Volvo Penta’s quality standard and maintain the good reputation we have in the marine leisure segment, Krossholmen has an incredibly important responsibility resting on its shoulders,” Klas observes. “Every product Volvo Penta releases has to work perfectly; there is no room for error.”
Charged with testing all of Volvo Penta’s offerings — including drives and propellers, engines, EVC options, the glass cockpit, and Volvo Penta IPS — Krossholmen puts this vast range of products through several rigorous testing phases in order to comply with Volvo Penta’s quality standards.
A common testing method performed at Krossholmen is the endurance assessment — over a set number of hours, the engine is repeatedly tested and analyzed in order to help the mechanics, engineers and technicians detect small faults in the system. This lengthy testing method can take several months to complete and is either be carried out in a test cell at the center or on the open water.
The center currently owns around 15 test boats, all of which are periodically refitted with the equipment soon scheduled for testing. These vessels act as empty shells, into which various engines, drives or EVC options are inserted, tested, analyzed, removed, and then replaced.
Getting down to business
Demo boats are also key to the day-to-day business at Krossholmen. These boats are fitted with Volvo Penta’s latest products and act as a hands-on demonstration tool when customers and dealers visit the facility. They are kept at the center for three or four years before being replaced.
“Krossholmen is one of Volvo Penta’s most important sales resources; showing a potential customer the engine or the inboard performance system, instead of simply telling them about it, is an invaluable tool in this industry,” Klas notes. “Our demo boats offer customers a chance to see our top quality products in action, something that would be a lot less feasible without the support of the Krossholmen Test Center.”
The facility’s unique location — on the open water and only minutes away from Volvo Penta’s Gothenburg headquarters — is ideally placed to accommodate visiting customers. The test center also has a seminar room, which Volvo Penta has, in the past, used to host dealer days and other events.
Krossholmen first came into Volvo Penta’s ownership in 1968, and since then it has played a pivotal role in the design and build process of the company’s marine leisure offerings, remaining one the key factors in several of Volvo Penta’s groundbreaking innovations.
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Global Communication Manager
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Email: jennifer [dot] humphrey [at] volvo [dot] com