Shortening crash safety testing

  • 27-Nov-2012 03:37 EST

Ready for test work: MESSRING's newly developed Compact Impact Simulator.

In-house crash test facilities are essential for OEMs and many suppliers, but they are invariably expensive to establish and equip, and they may take up large amounts of space because of the need for sleds or pull systems.

To help ease these requirements, MESSRING, the German manufacturer of crash-test facilities and associated components, has come up with a space-saving configuration that can be used for work on components including airbags, seatbelts, seats, and roof carriers. A complete crash test facility is not necessary. The Compact Impact Simulator (CIS) needs an area of 18 x 2.2 x 1.5 m (59 x 7.2 x 4.9 ft), and revealing it, MESSRING’s CEO Dierk Arp said he is confident there is nothing else like it in the world. The company has designed and built more than 90 regular crash test facilities incorporating many different systems.

It has taken 24 months of intensive work to develop the turnkey, track-guided CIS. “It is an exceptionally compact system that utilizes a servo-valve and an hydraulically powered ram to accelerate test sled to speeds up to 65 km/h,” states Arp. It can be used for a range of standardized tests. “These include the whiplash (rear crash) test in conformance to EuroNCAP regulations and NHTSA regulations in the U.S.”

The CIS integrates an M=BUS data acquisition measuring module, which is mounted directly on the sled. Weber explains that this routes precise figures to the control software for analysis. Instrumentation includes an accelerometer and eight-channel M=BUS PRO data acquisition system. “It logs even the slightest movements,” adds Arp.

The reference control software Crashsoft for test and data acquisition systems is also included in the system. Able to organize various system settings, it links to a user via a PC.

As well as being compact, the CIS is capable of being operated by one person, and its level of automation has been designed to facilitate a sub-10 min time gap between two tests.

The decision to configure the CIS within very compact dimensions was driven particularly by the need for users to make use of small or awkwardly positioned available spaces that otherwise would be unsuitable for full-size systems and would therefore have been wasted. It certainly would not require the construction of a new hall, explained Weber. It is also described as being quick to install and notably less costly than a full-size crash-test system. The sled platform measures 2.2 x 1.4 m (7.2 x 4.6 ft).

Materials used in the construction of the CIS include carbon fiber to keep weight down in order to provide required acceleration and speed to be achieved over a very short sled run and do so with loads of up to 1000 kg (2205 lb), although 400 kg (882 lb) would be the norm.

The system’s ram operates at a maximum pressure of 350 bar (5076 psi), which takes some 100 s to build up. Nominal force is 0.5 Mn (112,400 lbf) and overall acceleration 45 g. Maximum jerk is more than 15 G/ms.

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