Unique Crash Test Procedure Ensures Ford B-MAX Door System is as Safe as it is Innovative
- Ford test programme ensures B-MAX’s hinged front doors, sliding rear doors and integrated central pillars meet stringent safety standards
- Five-year test programme subjects B-MAX to 5,000 virtual collisions and 40 real-world crashes; Ford devoted three years alone to enhancing rear-door safety and created bespoke testing rig tailored to Easy Access Door System’s unique requirements
- All-new B-MAX capable of withstanding a side impact force in excess of 165 kilonewtons, the equivalent of a small car being dropped from a height of 6.5 metres or the combined weight of three elephants
MERKENICH, Germany, April 17, 2012 – Ford developed and implemented a unique test procedure to ensure the new B-MAX’s Easy Access Door System is as safe as it is innovative.
The B-MAX integrates central body pillars into hinged front doors and sliding rear doors to create best-in-class access to the compact multi-activity vehicle. However, this fresh approach also required designers and engineers to develop new crash test equipment to ensure B-MAX met Ford’s safety standards.
The five-year testing programme included 5,000 virtual collisions and 40 real-world crashes; three years alone were devoted to providing rear-door safety. This testing process included the construction of a bespoke rig system used to test the reinforced latches.
“B-MAX really took us into uncharted territory,” said Ford safety project manager Tom Overington. “We knew from virtual simulations that the design performs well, but we had to validate this in real crash tests.”
B-MAX doors are fitted with ultra-high strength steel brackets called crash catchers that lock the doors together if the vehicle is hit in the side.
“The latches and crash catchers are crucial because they are designed to keep the doors together during a crash,” Overington said. “We went to great lengths to test them in the virtual and the physical word.”
“We performed virtual car-to-car crashes at a 30 degree angle into the front and rear doors to further validate the performance of the door structure. We also built a special rig to test the reinforced latch mechanism. The forces involved in these tests are massive and the doors performed exactly as expected.”
In addition to being subjected to more than 5,000 computer simulated crash tests, the team conducted 40 complete crash tests and another 100 tests where the car was mounted on a sled and fired into a barrier.
Each physical test takes four days to set up but the impact itself, , is over in fractions of a second.
The result is a car capable of withstanding a side impact force in excess of 165 kilonewtons, the equivalent of a small car being dropped from a height of 6.5 metres or the combined weight of three elephants.
“We’re delighted with the performance of B-MAX,” said Overington. “We are targeting a maximum five-star safety rating when the vehicle is assessed by Euro NCAP later this year.”
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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 164,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.
Ford of Europe is responsible for producing, selling and servicing Ford brand vehicles in 51 individual markets and employs approximately 66,000 employees. In addition to Ford Motor Credit Company, Ford of Europe operations include Ford Customer Service Division and 22 manufacturing facilities, including joint ventures. The first Ford cars were shipped to Europe in 1903 – the same year Ford Motor Company was founded. European production started in 1911.