New Heavy Article Test facility now available for use at Southwest Research Institute

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Mechanical Engineering

For immediate release

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SwRI’s Heavy Article Test facility, a new 11,224-square-foot facility for fabricating and testing large, heavy components, is now open. The facility supports SwRI’s structural engineering program.

San Antonio — July 15, 2014 — A new 11,224-square-foot facility for fabricating and testing large, heavy components has opened at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). The Heavy Article Test facility, which supports SwRI’s structural engineering program, complements existing facilities and will enhance the Institute’s services and research capabilities for its oil and gas, aerospace, marine and industrial clients.

The new building is nearly 56 feet high, with more than 8,000 square feet of floor space for test articles. There are two bridge cranes, 100-ton and 50-ton. Other features include a 20- by 20- by 20-foot floor pit that allows below ground access to test articles and four-panel sliding hangar-style doors on both ends of the building, allowing complete open access to the facility.

The size of this facility and its access capabilities allows us to test and fabricate very large items,” said Joseph Crouch, manager of the Marine and Offshore Systems Section in SwRI’s Mechanical Engineering Division. “As an example, the building could completely enclose an aircraft with a 68-foot wing span.”

SwRI has a history of designing, fabricating and testing large structures such as pressure vessels, blast containment structures and large components for deep water submersibles. SwRI has built a one-quarter scale submarine, tested full-scale aircraft and fabricated multi-storied robotic systems. Most recently, SwRI researchers designed, fabricated and tested the personnel sphere for the Alvin deep-sea research submersible.

For more information about SwRI’s structural engineering program, go to: or contact Crouch at (210) 522-4295 or

Editors: A photo of the Heavy Article Test facility is available at:

For more information, contact Deborah S. Deffenbaugh, (210) 522-2046, Communications Department, Southwest Research Institute, PO Drawer 28510, San Antonio, TX 78228-0510

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