Monday, October 16, 2000
Troy, MI--Bang! It's a sound you'll hear over and over
again in a new crash test facility opened here by GE Plastics and Defiance
Testing & Engineering Services Inc.
Capable of moving an actual vehicle or a test sled at speeds up to
16 mph, this barrier-impact test stand fills a gap between the low- and
high-speed tests already in use for bumper evaluations. According to Todd Hoff,
GE's director of advanced automotive engineering, the tester spans the entire
speed range at which bumpers contribute to crash management. And thanks to the
test sled, whose weight can be set from 2,000 to 8,000 lbs, the system enables
rapid development of bumper designs without the need to sacrifice an entire car
in a 40-mph test.
Driven by a 100-hp motor, the tester pulls the car or sled into an
instrumented concrete barrier. It can perform head-on, offset, or pole crashes
needed to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety, Insurance Institute of Highway
Safety, and Allianz standards. It can also be used for air bag and sensor
Much, though not all, of the tester's time will be taken up by GE
Plastics, which will use it to prove out new bumper systems that combine steel
beams with energy absorbers made from engineering thermoplastics. An alternative
to expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam, these energy absorbers are injection
molded from impact-modified Xenoy PC/PBT and attach to the front of the steel
reinforcing beam with the help of molded-in fastening features. The absorbers
consist of corrugated lobes that undergo a controlled, energy-absorbing collapse
in a crash. According to John Madej, GE's global director of automotive front-
and rear-end systems, the first of these Xenoy are slated to appear in the 2004
model year. "We have seven OEM programs under evaluation right now," he reports.
For more information on Defiance's testing capabilities, of which
bumper testing makes up just a small part, see www.defiance-inc.com. For more
information on GE's energy absorbers, see www.geplastics.com.