Airbags rank as a key component in vehicle safety and faultless deployment in the event of an emergency is vital, however demanding the circumstances. Vehicles today contain between eight and twelve airbags and it is essential to ensure that plug-connectors plugs engage securely to establish the necessary electrical contact. During the component development phase, Delphi Connection Systems Deutschland GmbH, a leading global manufacturer of connector systems, carries out tests to verify the mechanical and electrical properties of the connectors.
As they are are plugged together, airbag connectors make a characteristic noise (audible feedback). However this is not sufficient to ensure that electrical contact also exists. For this the company relies on synchronized mechanical, electrical and optical testing, using a Zwick AllroundLine testing machine. The AllroundLine range was developed for demanding testing situations, a key feature being its flexible expansion options. As the plug connection is made, a PCIe card installed in testControl II performs time-synchronous measurement of current, while generating a graphic indicating the presence or absence of electrical contact.
Parallel to this the moment of connection is recorded optically for safety reasons, while the essential components of the connector such as springs and clamps are filmed from two different angles. Zwick's Multi-Capture function was developed for applications such as this and delivers detailed, synchronized videos from two different angles. If necessary, as many as four video cameras can be connected. All incoming data is processed by the testControl Ii measurement and control technology, which offers fast measured-value acquisition for monitoring switch contacts, plus a generous number of unoccupied slots for maximum modularity.
The varied range of options offered by Zwick's materials testing machines provides Delphi with a tool equally well-suited to day-to-day product quality assurance or to the development of new connectors and components. In the final analysis it all comes down to high quality and saving lives – this is Delphi’s commitment as a manufacturer of safety components.