Doosan Bobcat has announced a swath of investments in new technology, machinery and processes at the company’s Innovation Centre in Dobris in the Czech Republic. The Innovation Centre is the R&D hub of an integrated site at Dobris that also includes manufacturing, sourcing and training at the same location.

Doosan Bobcat believes the ability to design, test and manufacture Bobcat machines locally is one of the company’s competitive advantages in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. The new investments are intended to boost these advantages and involve every part of the operations in the Innovation Centre, from rapid prototyping and prototype assembly to performance and durability testing.

The Innovation Centre is a European Engineering Centre of Excellence, serving as an expert R&D centre for all Doosan Bobcat engineering teams across EMEA and has global responsibility for small compact loaders and compact excavators from 0-3 tonne.

It focuses on creating new innovative solutions, product development, research and testing activities. The facility, with more than 8000 m2 of floor space for prototyping and testing and 1400 m2 of office area, is a place where new advanced – and in some cases – unique technologies are installed.

With recent advances in computer designing and modelling, many manufacturers omit (or at least limit) the creation and testing of physical prototypes. In contrast, at Doosan Bobcat, the company knows their importance and has invested heavily in its production technologies.

The total cost was approximately 1.41 million euros with 50% incentive grants provided by the Czech Government.

The CNC horizontal boring machine and CNC 5 axis milling machine have been installed to support faster prototype builds providing full control of the processes without the involvement of third parties. Other important aspects are fixtures production for the Dobris manufacturing plant and testing of machining processes that help in the introduction of new machining in the production plant.

A dynamometer is a tool for measuring engine or powertrain system loadings in laboratory conditions. Based on the loading, machine performance (cooling, hydraulic parameters, fuel consumption and so on) are tested in a set ambient temperature. Testing on the dynamometer is mandatory for new engine implementation and for application approval on the supplier side.

A new 300 kW dynamometer with six electric generators is now installed in the Innovation Centre. The dynamometer load tested machine allows Doosan Bobcat to test and optimise cooling performance in the ‘hot’ climate-controlled chamber at temperatures up to 55 °C. Advanced functions of the dynamometer allow replication and simulation of real duty cycles in a laboratory environment based on data from the field.

Not far from the Dobris Innovation Centre and the main plant is the location for the Bobcat polygon for field testing. With more than 20 engineers, operators and technicians plus six hectares of space with artificial lighting, machine shops and diagnostic laboratories, the polygon is a really unique asset in the industry as a whole.

Field testing on the Bobcat polygon has been identified as one of the company’s important success drivers in terms of quality and rapid innovations. Because of this, another expansion of this testing has been prepared. It is planned to almost double the size of the polygon in the future to 10 hectares, with a road circuit and new specialised sites where different types of machines will be built.

The Innovation Centre and the Dobris Campus demonstrate the long-term commitment of Doosan Bobcat in EMEA and the bold decisions that the company has taken to invest in people and innovative industrial and business solutions.