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Global Impact: Land & Sea dynamometers ‘stress test’ engines world wide

  • Robert Bergeron, President of Land and Sea, Inc., stands in front of his company's Mazak Variaxis I-700 machining center as technician Ryan Dixon operates the machine which makes complex components for the company's broad array of dynamometers.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

    Robert Bergeron, President of Land and Sea, Inc., stands in front of his company's Mazak Variaxis I-700 machining center as technician Ryan Dixon operates the machine which makes complex components for the company's broad array of dynamometers. (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

  • A small engine dynamometer is set up in a test "cell" at Land and Sea's international corporate headquarters in Concord.  In the adjacent cell, a V8 automotive engine is set up in a similar test configuration.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

    A small engine dynamometer is set up in a test "cell" at Land and Sea's international corporate headquarters in Concord. In the adjacent cell, a V8 automotive engine is set up in a similar test configuration. (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

  • An automotive engine is mounted to a DYNOmite dynamometer in one of Land and Sea's test cells at their Concord, New Hampshire international corporate headquarters.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

    An automotive engine is mounted to a DYNOmite dynamometer in one of Land and Sea's test cells at their Concord, New Hampshire international corporate headquarters. (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

  • Robert Bergeron, President of Land and Sea, Inc., stands in front of his company's Mazak Variaxis I-700 machining center as technician Ryan Dixon operates the machine which makes complex components for the company's broad array of dynamometers.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)
  • A small engine dynamometer is set up in a test "cell" at Land and Sea's international corporate headquarters in Concord.  In the adjacent cell, a V8 automotive engine is set up in a similar test configuration.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)
  • An automotive engine is mounted to a DYNOmite dynamometer in one of Land and Sea's test cells at their Concord, New Hampshire international corporate headquarters.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

The story about the jetpack isn’t the most heart-pounding one Bob Bergeron has to impress visitors at Land & Sea in Concord.

No, that would be the time the FBI wanted him to wear a wire to meet with potential clients from the Middle East, who probably weren’t really potential clients. But Bergeron can’t talk about that, so the jetpack will have to do.

Martin Aircraft Co. in New Zealand used a Land & Sea dynamometer to measure the power of an engine it built for a jetpack. The dynamometer performs the mechanical version of a stress test on the engine, running it for hours at a time, to see if it maintains its horsepower, what the expected fuel consumption will be and what it will emit.

When the jetpack passed the stress test, it was ready for its first human passenger – the engineer’s wife.

“Dynamometers for these guys are like an X-ray machine for a doctor,” Bergeron said. “They need it to see into what the machine is doing, how it’s functioning.”

Bergeron started Land & Sea in 1977 in Massachusetts, selling high-performance after-market boat accessories. Twenty years ago, he moved the company into manufacturing of dynamometers, beginning with snowmobile models to keep his manufacturing line busy during the summer months, when customers are out on their boats and not shopping for parts.

“That first year, we projected we’d sell 30, to a few users and a few dealers. We sold 130, so we haven’t really looked back,” he said.

Seven years ago, he moved the company – about 50 employees – into a custom-built space on Henniker Street. It’s the round building, built to mimic the shape of the product the company designs and engineers inside.

About 40 percent of Land & Sea’s business is from overseas, up from 13 percent seven years ago. A lot of those clients are militaries in small countries that don’t have the budget for the highest-end equipment made-to-order in Germany, but they still want a good value, Bergeron said.

Some of Land & Sea’s biggest systems can cost $250,000, including the machine for the vehicle and software needed to interpret all the data generated by spinning the wheels for hours.

Some clients are local, including Heritage Harley-Davidson in Concord, which has a dynamometer in the dealership so customers can “test drive” the stress test, regardless of the weather.

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or spalermo@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

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