Applus IDIADA invests in a digital future

The use of in-dummy measurement technology in vehicle crash testing has increased significantly in recent years. Leading OEMs and suppliers as well as national crash test centers in Europe rely on Kistler products and solutions for this. For instance Applus IDIADA’s passive safety department began using Kistler’s data acquisition technology for crash tests right from the conception at its site in Santa Oliva in Catalonia.

The introduction of THOR dummies means that crash test laboratories are required to process data across 120 data channels from one single dummy. Given the increasing number and complexity of the crash tests carried out today, the use of these types of dummies is almost impossible in many cases using traditional analog on-board DAS systems. The current trend, therefore, is moving towards measurement technology integrated directly into the dummies in order to exploit the available on-board systems for the vehicle sensors. This is one reason why IDIADA laboratory chose Kistler in-dummy measurement technology. The transition to DTI (Digital Transducer Interface) technology is based on confidence in a digital future with Kistler.

“Ongoing support and various on-site presentations managed to convince IDIADA of our innovative DTI technology”, says Alexander Schmitt, business driver for vehicle safety at Kistler. “Many customers follow activities in Europe with a focus on EuroNCAP (European New Car Assessment Program) laboratories with IDIADA being one of them. This is, therefore, a very important project for us.”

IDIADA has been working with Kistler for over 20 years and already uses several Kistler products from the vehicle safety area. In addition to Minidau®, it also uses the KiDAU® (Kistler Data Aquisition Unit). For the first time the plug part can be removed completely through the replaceable SD (Sensor Distribution) panel and replaced with a different attachment, meaning that no additional adapter cable is required. As well as improving the flexibility, time-saving qualities and user-friendliness of the application, this also minimizes the need for space in the vehicle.

A safe choice

The benefits of these innovations will soon become even more significant as the THOR dummy starts to replace the H3 dummy over the next few years, both in the USA and in Europe. Although the H3 dummy is still stipulated for crash tests in the regulations for crash tests, the THOR dummy will be the one in general use from 2020 in EuroNCAP testing. Many test laboratories are already using the new generation of dummies as a reference in parallel with the H3. “We also discussed the in-dummy measurement technology as a result of the THOR dummies. Our requirements for the measurement technology were clear: start/record function, 100 second recording time, double trigger and a non-volatile memory. Kistler managed to convince us with their crash recorder in particular”, says Patxi Arana, Dummy and Electronic Lab Manager – Passive Safety at IDIADA.

The newly developed compact DTI375.TH crash recorder from Kistler with integrated flash data memory can easily be inserted in the dummy and has an integrated start/record function. The recording of the data in the recorder can be initiated at the same time that all the data acquisition systems are started. The measurement data recorded is stored in a central flash memory thus having the guarantee of non-volatile storage of the crash information. “Ultimately, we no longer need to connect sensors to a data acquisition system using analogue technology. This saves us time and space. Kistler really does impress here with its high level of data quality and minimum failure rate”, says Arana.

Pioneering DTI technology

Proven DTI technology is used in the crash test dummies: this transforms the analog sensor output during the crash test into digital signals directly at the sensor and forwards it to the DTI375.TH crash recorder centrally located in the dummy. Aside from the reliability and high data quality, IDIADA benefits from increased flexibility of the measurement technology: the cabling required is reduced as just one cable is routed from the dummy and therefore greatly reduces the time required for test preparation.

Towards the next digital age as friends

“Kistler’s crash recorder impressed us in the end as an innovative and pioneering development. We have been working with Kistler since 1996, with our relationship based on friendship and close cooperation. This is why we ordered the DTI upgrade for our 2 THOR dummies following multiple tests and meetings. The new technology will make our day-to-day work a lot easier”, explains Arana. IDIADA is also currently arranging the digital sensor calibration itself in-house, with support from Kistler.

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