81 vzi 201006 - restraints v0.9


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81 vzi 201006 - restraints v0.9

  1. 1. SE ATS & RE STR AINTS Safe To th seat e untrained ey e, automotive se ea ating and restr l. But scratch aints do not beneath the nced a great d e most excitin g appea r to have adva l find some of th ter y and you’l ty revolution leather uphols a nd active safe in the passive developments LS & TRW ON CONTRO ION, JOHNS C O R P O R AT DI, B M W, L E A R URTESY OF AU I M AG E S C O X GL A SKIN AU T H O R M A B ums on seats – that’s the best Adaptive systems The initiative behind whiplash way to ensure car occupants from TRW use reduction is different. The Insurance are at the least risk of injury various vehicle Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the event of a collision. sensor inputs suggests neck sprains and strains, Unfortunately, people fiddle to adjust including whiplash, are the most with the equipment that is designed to parameters of frequently reported injuries in US keep them safe, in doing so changing the restraint insurance claims. In fact, the cost of their sitting positions – adjustments system the claims in which neck pain was that can make the effects of a crash the most serious injury was about much more serious. So measures to US$8.8 billion in 2007, representing counter the risks from rollovers and approximately 25% of the total dollars of whiplash in particular are having paid for all crash injuries combined. to be improved. Clamping people to their seats Rollovers, for obvious reasons, have would solve much of the problem but a higher fatality rate than other kinds is impractical so belts, head restraints of crashes. According to the USDOT, and seats are being refined to mitigate of the nearly 11 million passenger the effects of rollovers and whiplash- car, SUV, pickup and van crashes in inducing collisions. The task isn’t 2002 in the USA, only 3% involved a helped when trusted items such as rollover yet they account for 33% of US seatbelts are recalled, as in the Great road passenger vehicle fatalities. In fact, Wall V240 sold in Australia. ANCAP more than 10,000 people are killed in discovered recently that there may be a US rollovers each year. manufacturing tolerance affecting the 022 VISION ZERO INTERNATIONAL JUNE 2010
  3. 3. SE ATS & RE STR AINTS Knowledge about Miss Whiplash ›› Starting more than 30 years ago with human volunteers at the US Naval Biodynamics Lab, scientists have built a positioned so that it’s always at the optimum distance from the occupant’s head. In the event of a sudden acceleration, the restraint picture of the conditions that lead to whiplash, locks in position and provides the best explains David Hynds of TRL – the UK’s possible protection. transport research laboratory. The latest However, that’s unlikely to be the end of understandings are now being implemented. the matter. Bertil Jonsson at Umeå University, “A new global technical regulation was Sweden has found that women are three times adopted worldwide last year which specifies more likely than men to suffer whiplash as a the test procedure for seats to improve result of a vehicle crash, partly as a result of whiplash mitigation,” Hynds reveals. the differences in their sitting position. He To meet it, engineers at the Technical says his findings provide a foundation for University in Milan have worked with Italian the development of even better test methods head restraint manufacturer Gestind to and protective systems. Until then, he believes develop a restraint that can be easily that women are at the greatest risk. operation of the retracting mechanism Lear’s Pro-tec Developments in electromechanical position, you want to be pulling 100N in the Tianjin Yizhong front seatbelts SAHR system motors are helping engineers to in about 0.25 seconds,” he continues. and they have to be replaced. reduces the enhance their belt pre-tensioner “They were first looking at this a few occupant’s risk systems, which put the occupant in a years ago and it was thought they’d Belts of neck injury safer position a fraction of a second need 42V electronics, but advances in Elsewhere, significantly more advanced during a low- before an impact, as predicted by the motors means it can be done with and reliable technologies are being speed rear vehicle sensors. “Modern motors have standard 12V electronics. All restraint installed and used with great success. impact got more powerful and smaller so it systems are a balancing act between Ford’s seatbelt with integrated airbag has become possible to get both a good the forces that are being applied to the was detailed in the January 2010 issue pulling-in force, fast enough,” explains occupant. It’s a case of tuning systems of Vision Zero International and others David Haywood, project leader in to their merits and according to which have been working along similar the chassis and safety division at markets they’re going to.” lines. “Working with an OEM, we’ve Continental. “Even though you may Jurgen Herold, Continental’s head developed an airbag on a seatbelt,” just be preparing the occupant for the of system engineering in the chassis reveals Mike Maddelein, vice president crash by getting them into the right and safety division, explains that pre- of engineering in Europe for Lear Corporation. “It’s for side impact on a very sporty car. It’s across the chest and for reducing chest impact criteria in a “All reStrAint SyStemS very high-speed crash. This has been designed for a four-point belt system.” Are A BAlAncing Act Between Autoliv has taken a different approach with its 3 +2 seatbelt and side- the forceS Being Applied to support airbag, specifically to counter the risk of the occupant sliding out the occupAnt” of the shoulder belt, either during a rollover or a side-impact collision. The company is aware of the drawbacks of the four- and five-point belts used in racing cars – they require both hands for buckling and this would reduce their use if they were to be introduced in regular cars. Autoliv’s solution is a three-point belt, with an additional two-point belt and a side-support airbag at the inboard TRW’s ACR edge of the seatback. The two-point (Active Control belt is attached to the upper edge of Retractor) offers the seat and runs across the shoulder reversible pre- part of the existing three-point belt. tensioning and a It can only be secured after the three- parametric point belt is properly buckled, to trigger algorithm prevent occupants using the two- and functional point belt on its own. software 024 VISION ZERO INTERNATIONAL JUNE 2010
  4. 4. SE ATS & RE STR AINTS BMW’s Bionic innovation, expected to become Seat concept, available in 2012, is the Active Buckle which satisfies Lifter. “A brushless motor raises the safety, comfort belt buckle to remind the occupant and weight to buckle up and, at the same time, requirements to make it a more comfortable task,” explains Uwe Class, senior manager of active systems engineering. “It increases safety because in a critical situation the motor takes the buckle down, pulling webbing out of the system.” Showing restraint Driven by the IIHS in the USA and EuroNCAP – and informed by The riACT significant work at Thatcham, the head restraint research centre for the UK’s vehicle system from insurance sector – developments in Johnson head restraints are already resulting in Controls reduced claims for whiplash injuries. tensioners have another benefit apart at vehicle speeds up to 30km/h optimises the Equipment companies have followed from putting the occupant in the (19mph) to trigger pre-crash systems anti-whiplash various different routes to ensure the correct position. “One way to reduce including belt pre-tensioning, to be performance occupant’s head is as close as possible the risk of injury is to change the effective at up to 200km/h (124mph). of seats to the head restraint at the moment of duration of the loads over a longer Using radar instead of lidar to detect impact to lessen the risk of whiplash. period of time and the electric pre- events that may precede a collision, it The riACT system from Johnson tensioner is one way to start the can give even longer periods of time Controls has won plaudits, which is application earlier and control the in which belts, head restraints and activated by movement of the occupant. same amount of energy,” he says. Then motorised seats can be configured In an impact, the lower torso presses the pyrotechnic tensioning can kick automatically to reduce the expected against a plate inside the seatback, in at impact, generating 1.5kN of impact load on the occupant. which pulls a bowden cable that force on the belt. TRW has been working for three connects up through the seat to a Working with Volvo, Continental years perfecting a new element to plastic component sitting on a helical developed the much publicised City enhance its proven Active Control thread within the restraint. The load Safety system, which initially worked Reactor belt pre-tensioner. The makes the part rotate and push the A new position on safety? two at the front and one at the rear. Essentially we’re integrating the seat within a seatbelt, rather T than the other way around. We he cliché ‘too good to economy, their take-up has have also relocated the seatbelt be true’ could have been been virtually non-existent. anchor points from the sides of invented for the DRS- “But what we have with As the seatback the occupant to points in the floor Albatross seat concept our Deceleration Responsive remains with the (in front of and behind the seat). from Chard Safety in the Seat (DRS) is an entirely new occupant, space at the The seat itself is made up Netherlands, which the company seat frame concept, which is front is maximised, of three sections, kept rigid and claims eradicates whiplash as assembled to the vehicle floor, which helps in terms in place partly by the seatbelt well as generally enhancing with three legs instead of four – of leg impacts webbing, which is threaded occupant safety when compared with traditional designs. “Integrated seats and seatbelts have been investigated in the past,” says Chard Safety’s Michel Coenen, the brains behind Albatross. “But for one reason or another they have never really taken off. Crash forces – particularly at the back of the seat – are extremely high so such designs had to be structurally strong, and consequently were heavy and more expensive to manufacture. With OEMs looking at reducing vehicle weight, particularly for reasons of fuel VISION ZERO INTERNATIONAL JUNE 2010 025
  5. 5. SE ATS & RE STR AINTS under increasing pressure. At the same The value proposition time, the distance between the neck padding and the occupant’s head gets shorter – a known key to reducing whiplash risk. BMW says its fin ›› Innovating to boost safety is necessary if established players are to survive as rivals emerge from such as with our second generation Active Control Retractor, or ACR2. “The advances in vehicle structures ray design is 20% lighter than a conventional seat. “Our concept the BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, and in active technologies to prevent ensures individual adjustment to India and China). Peter Lake from accidents – and passive systems to the driver but at the same time is TRW set out his company’s stall at the mitigate against them – mean that sufficiently stable for a crash,” suggests beginning of the new decade. smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles Thomas Klawitter of BMW Group “The challenge is clear for us at should be a safe option,” Lake Research & Technology. Other TRW and for everybody in the auto says, anticipating the growth in the engineers at the same company have components industry – we must focus numbers of alternatively fuelled on improving the value proposition of and smaller cars. “TRW has worked on a skeleton ‘ergo’ seat that our technologies. We are always evaluated its portfolio and is has a flexible winged spine in the squab challenged to offer ‘more for less’. positioned to support the move to and the backrest. “The crash safety Value can be in the form of keeping hybrid and full electric vehicles. with this seat has been confirmed… a product’s price at the same level, We believe that there is no need to in virtual tests,” BMW says. while offering improved functionality, compromise safety for fuel efficiency.” The flexible seat and backrest structure is suspended dynamically in a stable tubular frame, offering restraint in towards the occupant. making a total of about 44ms. With enhanced stability in the event of a A spring system allows it to be reset body-loading systems, the loading collision. The kinematic qualities allow without mechanical interference. stage takes about 30ms and deployment appropriate deformation of the backrest Johnson’s riACT “Some OEMs prefer these systems about 25ms, according to Hasler. in a collision from behind. Through system installed while others want their active head this change in the contours of the seat, in the Opel Astra restraint to be independent of the body Seat structures the upper section of the seat backrest weight of the occupant so they prefer In pursuit of the ultimate design, moves forward in an impact similar to ones triggered by a clear signal from BMW engineers started with a blank a crash-activated headrest, preventing crash sensors,” suggests Dr Alexander sheet and have come up with a ‘bionic’ the occupant’s head from flying back Hasler, global commercial lead for concept seat that one day may usurp in a whiplash effect.” It’s about 10% riACT. “They develop their own the sophisticated 18-motor, 36kg lighter than a conventional sports seat. algorithm to control when the versions specified today. The backrest pyrotechnic should be fired.” is made of two flexible thermoplastic Seat pads Crash sensor systems detect within composite glass-fibre plates interlinked A different approach altogether is 20ms, the pyrotechnic release takes by small, flexible trusses. It has a degree being taken by Variowell of Münster, 2ms and deployment is about 22ms, of elasticity at first but gets firmer Germany. Tobias Kirchhoff, its through the seatback and seat is that the vehicle occupant The goals of Vision E100,000 5 Star-rated vehicle – section – across the occupant’s is maintained in the optimal Zero can only be met you can see clearly the crash test shoulder and around the lap position in the event of a crash if the crash safety dummy being thrown forward area.” As Coenen reveals in – the normal sitting posture – world makes efforts towards the steering wheel, and further detail, the webbing is and decelerates with the vehicle, then being hurled backwards to also improve actually an integral part of the rather than at a different velocity with the dummy’s head colliding comfort design. “In the event of a crash, away from the seated position against the B-pillar. With our an inertia release function and into the steering wheel, concept, because the seatbelt transforms the seat from a solid dashboard, windshield, or and seat are integrated and fixed structure into fully supporting front seats in the case of to the vehicle floor, the occupant sections, with the exerted crash passengers in the rear. travels backwards in a straight forces being transferred directly “Our tests at DEKRA in Prague trajectory, impacting only the to the belt. All of these design demonstrate how the occupant headrest and seatback.” changes mean that the seat itself remains in this seated, upright Albatross gets its name from doesn’t need to be that strong, position – buttocks on the seat the golfing term that equates hence why we can offer reduced and back on the seatback – the to three under par for a hole – weight and lower production seat moving with the occupant, the three in this case being the costs for Tier 1 suppliers and decelerating in response to benefits of comfort, safety and OEMs.” On this very subject, the vehicle’s deceleration. weight reduction. Coenen, a Coenen reveals the Albatross This is how we can keen golfer, is hoping that the can provide weight savings of cancel out whiplash. concept will be a hole in one for up to 10kg per seat over existing “You can view many an automotive market that has designs, which is significant crash tests on the invested heavily in improving when multiplied by four – or even Euro NCAP website. the safety of its models. “We are more for mass-transit vehicles. In one frontal impact trying to find a partner that wants The upshot of this unique – despite the test to introduce Albatross in their construction in terms of safety subject being a vehicle, whether it be a car, VISION ZERO INTERNATIONAL JUNE 2010 027
  6. 6. SE ATS & RE STR AINTS BMW asked subjects to complete a simulated driving task, with testers leaving their particular seat imprint and contours in a special mat executive director and patent holder, The Variowell foam could be The kinematic manufacturers that are all doing their realised that a supposed drawback of programmed to change zones of qualities of the own research with the technology. foams used for seating could instead firmness every 20 minutes or so and Bionic Seat More partners and investors are also be used to boost safety and has started perhaps react automatically according system allow being sought. marketing the innovation. to the weight of the occupant or by a appropriate A third group of BMW engineers “Polyurethane foams react to period of no movement, as detected deformation of has come up with yet another different temperature changes. They get harder by sensors integrated within the seat. the backrest in a concept, dubbed the ‘space comfort when cold and softer when warm,” “The safety benefit is that up to 10% collision from shell’, which largely deals with foam. he explains. Variowell makes use of of crashes are sleep-related,” Kirchhoff behind They opted to use air pads and nylon this property by including heating says. “Pressured skin cells reduce blood mesh to maximise comfort for the elements in the foam. “Regardless of supply and also have their oxygen widest range of physiques. They how comfortable a seat is, after a while supply reduced so the body is stressed. “are already working all-out on the the occupant tries a different position. Stress leads to drowsiness.” integration of crash standards and Some seats help achieve this by using Reducing stress by dynamic seat requirements,” a BMW source reveals. air chambers in the backrest. Ours, support will reduce drowsiness for “The prototype tubular structure though, do it by changing the actual drivers, Kirchhoff adds. Variowell is developed so far as the backrest firmness of the foam.” currently working with three car seat support ensures extra safety.” ‹ minibus or coach,” reveals rated, they wouldn’t even make is too good to be true: a concept The Albatross Coenen. “The next milestone one star!” In the USA, school that enhances safety generally, system is for us will be a formal certification buses make up just 0.17% of all delivers cost savings to of the concept,” he says. “Of registered vehicles and are on the designed to integrators, and could ultimately course, our ultimate ambition is road for just 180 days of the year, maintain the reduce insurance premiums as that Albatross will become the yet they account for 0.33% of all occupant in a claims for whiplash injuries next-generation seat of choice for traffic fatalities. “Surviving a bus normal position could theoretically be wiped all modalities, including aircraft crash above 30mph depends in the event of out entirely. Statistics from the and trains.” With mass-transit on five things,” Coenen adds. a collision UK suggest personal injury vehicles a key target, Chard “Your age and size, whether or claims involving whiplash Safety is presently investigating not you are seated in an optimum amount to a staggering £1.6 developing a coach seat based location, whether or not you are billion (E1.86 billion) a year. on the Albatross with Savas seated perfectly in the seat, the “On average, that costs every Seating. “We expect this compartmentalisation of the bus, UK driver £66 (E77),” Coenen to be a promising market for and finally how lucky you are reveals. “Crash victims suffer Albatross – there is a great deal when you crash!” from whiplash because the soft of potential,” Coenen predicts. But what of the trend for tissue in the spine is stretched Research conducted in things such as HVAC, active and strained after the body is 2002 by the National Coalition headrests, and even electronic thrown in a sudden, forceful jerk. For School Bus Safety revealed and automatic adjustments? Albatross completely prevents that lap belts were the worst “Albatross is just the seat that jack-knifing effect.” performing restraint systems frame, so you of the three studied, with can add to this what For further information about compartmentalisation second you want in terms Chard Safety’s Albatross, please and combined lap-shoulder of ergonomic contact Frank Heemskerk by restraints top. “Yet the majority of and comfort telephoning +31 10 418 67 90, restraints fitted to school buses functionality,” emailing fheemskerk@ are lap belts,” Coenen says. “If Coenen states. chardsafety.nl, or log on these big yellow buses were star- Surely, this to www.chardsafety.nl 028 VISION ZERO INTERNATIONAL JUNE 2010