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Further with Ford
Ford Motor Company is based in Dearborn, Michigan, which is a suburb of Detroit. At the plant on Ford’s campus, vehicles are tested for weeks on end to simulate most anything that could happen on the road before they hit the market. Here, employees can monitor and analyze the data generated from the tests.
1952 product testing
Ford has been around since 1903. On the wall in the testing center are some old photos of previous models and tests. The large photo above is of a luggage compartment test that was performed in 1952.
Key Life Test
This is a Key Life Tester, which simulates 10 years of vehicle life. The tests are done in six to eight weeks. The machine slams doors to simulate repeated opening and closing of the vehicle doors to make sure they can last.
This particular key life test was in frigid temperatures to see how the glass and metal reacts to the cold when the doors are opened and closed. A Ford employee explains the process, which is also done in high heat and room temperatures.
“Robot #3” tests the durability of seat fabric from people getting in and out of the seat. The machine lifts weighted objects in and out of the seats for weeks to simulate the lifespan of a vehicle.
This control remote operates “Robot #3,” which can be programmed to perform the tests at various intervals and weights.
The "environmental chamber"
The “environmental chamber” uses 180-pound dummies on the seats. The machine runs for 45 hours to test for the damage that would accumulate over a vehicle’s life span.
Testing seat durability
The durability test is for the seat itself. Ford checks for looseness, the quality of the fabric and materials used, and the durability of the new parts that are used in newer models.
This test is for hydraulics. It simulates 150,000 miles of customer use, which takes about 10 to 12 days (along with a preliminary 2-3 days for data prep).
Large testing room
The hydraulics testing is one of the biggest ones in the building, and simulates almost any kind of damage that could occur to the outside of the vehicle.
Truck bed vibration testing
Two vibrating truck beds test the durability of the back half of the Ford’s popular trucks. In just two weeks, it simulates 10 years of a car in service or 150,000 miles.
The test countdown
A clock counts down the time left on a particular test in the office.