The Climatic Automotive Windtunnel Association (CAWA) is an association of climatic wind tunnel operators in Europe. It was founded in 1990 with twelve members. The number of members has now grown to 29, with a total number of 41 climatic wind tunnels in operation. CAWA’s objectives are to exchange ideas, experiences, technology and problem solutions at an operator level to the benefit of all members. The members are primarily in the automotive and supplier industry, however companies involved in the planning or manufacture of climatic wind tunnels or components thereof are not eligible for membership. The members meet annually at a conference organised by one of the member companies. Presentations on specialist topics and a tour of the technical equipment of the host company are the main elements of these conferences.

Climatic wind tunnels are highly technical facilities; they are used to simulate, as close as possible, global conditions, particularly for the automotive industry. Tests are carried out in which the flow of air and ambient conditions such as temperature, humidity, sunlight, snow and rain all of which influence the function of vehicle components. Complex technical equipment is used in producing these conditions, which attempt to simulate global conditions. The objective of the simulation is to deliver test results which are independent of time and weather and can be used for decision making in vehicle development.

Founding of CAWA
At the end of the 1980s, the wind tunnel operators at Volvo Car Corporation and Volkswagen AG had the idea of founding an organisation for the exchange of experience in the field of wind tunnel technology. Fredric M. Christensen, Volvo, sent out invitations to various different European automotive and supplier companies and found a high level of interest. The first and constitutive CAWA conference took place on 17th and 18th September 1990 in Gothenburg. The founder members were:

  • Volkswagen AG
  • Volvo Car Corporation
  • Arsenal Research
  • Audi AG
  • Behr AG
  • BMW AG
  • Ferrari S.p.A.
  • Fiat Auto S.p.A.
  • Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche AG
  • Rover Group
  • Saab Automobile AB
  • Valeo Sweden

Objectives of CAWA
The objectives of CAWA are to exchange ideas, experiences, technology and problem solutions at the operator level, regardless of company and country boundaries within Europe, to the benefit of all the members. The main advantage of this exchange is to allow the operators to communize techniques, which can lead to reduction in costs, more efficient operation of the facility, and help in the economical construction of any new units. The technical, qualitative and organizational comparison of the climatic wind tunnels is used for decision-making concerning location and is useful for the justification of decisions on investment and designs.

Fields of activity
The main fields of activity of CAWA are

  • Design of new facilities.
  • Modification of existing facilities.
  • Performance and economics.
  • Test methods, (not test procedures), in order to maximise the facilities.
  • Measuring technology.
  • Instrumentation of test vehicles and components.
  • Data management and data analysis.
  • Operation and maintenance.

The following topics show a cross-section of the main themes over the past years:

  • Definition of the technical data of all participating climatic wind tunnels
  • Comparative measurements of wind tunnels
  • Services provided by external companies
  • Personnel structure
  • Cold transfer media
  • Solar simulation

CAWA today
There are currently 29 CAWA members from the automotive and supplier industry, operating a total of 41 climatic wind tunnels. A conference has been organised every year since 1990. Since 1998 the CAWA representatives consist of a Chairman, a Secretary, a Supporting Group consisting of three members and the Meeting Host. The election period for the representatives except the Meeting Host is three years. Various different work groups discuss topics concerning climatic wind tunnel technology. The results of this work and a great number of CAWA internal publications are made available to all the members. For the official correspondence a protected logo has been used since 1998. CAWA also has its own Internet site which has been operational since 2003. In 2018 the web page was being fully reconstructed.