Ford Torture Chamber: How Your New Ford is Tested
Added: 18 June 2019
Have you ever thought about what the interior of your car goes through on a daily basis? From extreme temperature exposure to chemical reactions, there’s a lot going on!
Sun protection lotion and hand sanitiser are two of the biggest challenges for the Ford engineers. Such products can react with surfaces, causing them to wear prematurely unless they are protected by special finishes.
That’s why new products are continually tested on the materials that are used in Ford vehicles - whilst the constant development of resistant coatings ensure that your car’s interior looks good for years to come. Take a look at the video below to find out about Ford's rigorous testing process...
The Ford teams in Dunton and Cologne, Germany, test at temperatures that can in some cases reach 74°C - the temperature the inside of a car parked at the beach on a hot day might reach. In other tests they simulate extended exposure to the sun, with samples bombarded with ultra-violet light, equivalent to the brightest place on earth, for up to 1,152 hours (48 days).
They also test plastics for strength at temperatures as low as -30°C when they become most brittle, repeatedly bouncing a rubber ball - that’s ten times heavier than a regulation football - to ensure the plastic doesn’t crack.
Based on the findings, the chemical constitution of protective coatings can then be reformulated so that interiors are protected. This helps Ford in its aim to keep interiors looking good for the lifetime of the vehicle, which can help owners when it’s time to sell their car.
“Sometimes what we do requires a bit of detective work,” said Richard Kyle, materials engineer, based in Dunton. “There were instances of particularly high wear in Turkey and we managed to trace it back to ethanol potentially being a contributing factor, and most likely a popular hand sanitiser that contained 80% ethanol - far higher than anything we’d seen before. Once we knew what it was, we were able to do something about it.”
So next time you get in your car, spare a thought for the test vehicles which have gone before it - in the depths of Ford’s torture chambers - to ensure that your new car can withstand everything that’s thrown at it.
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