Safety combined with a functional environment: The vehicle interior is not only for passengers; it fulfills functions that are essential for survival in case of emergency. It protects the passengers through its outer stiffness and the formability of the interior paneling. It provides space for active and passive safety devices, as well as for the many support systems that enable you to drive, inform and orient yourself quickly and safely. Tests for all these components ensure that the passengers have the highest level of safety and comfort, even during long-term conditions and under temperatures that occur in daily operations—from arctic, sub-zero temperatures to desert temperatures.
As vehicles become more personalized, interior design has gained even more importance and significant further developments in interior materials are to be expected. A wide range of materials is used, including textiles, plastics over metals, and more and more, natural materials such as leather or wood. In addition to the appearance and feel, seating design is an increasingly significant "feel-good factor." However, the material properties of stiffness and strength in safety-related materials and components also play an important role.
The testing system shown here is designed to determine the quality of automobile seats. The loading table is used for both loading and horizontal positioning of the seats in the y-axis. Simultaneous horizontal positioning of the load cell in the x-axis enables you to determine the axial stiffness (z-axis) of all areas of the seat surface. The testing system is also used to test sensor mats incorporated into the seat and used to control the vehicle’s automatic settings, for example, correct airbag deployment.
A flexible, biaxial servo-hydraulic system is used to determine the fatigue strength of automobile seats. It features a height-adjustable load frame, a movable actuator, a horizontal sliding table, adjustable seat mount, and a T-slotted table. The sliding table and the flexible mounting of the pressure piece enable simultaneous simulation of vertical and horizontal acceleration forces. You can easily reconfigure the system to test other complex-shaped components in one or two axes.
In case of emergency, headrests should absorb the energy that is generated by a backwards head movement. They should store as little energy as possible so that your head is continuously slowed down but not accelerated back into the opposite direction. This characteristic should remain throughout its entire life. An electromechanical servo actuator can easily determine the stiffness and durability of vehicle headrests.
The center arm rest example shows the importance of component testing on interior elements. The test first checks to make sure the rest can withstand maximum forces, for example the weight of the driver, that are applied to specific points (for example, by elbows) and in various positions without moving or breaking. Adjustment force and deformation measurements are also important for evaluating comfort.