How many times would you crash a car? Ford safety engineers in the U.S. and Germany crash tested the new 2012 Ford Focus more than 12,000 times in real and virtual worlds to prove out innovative new technologies designed to protect occupants in crashes. The advances in computer aided engineering crashes and simulations allowed engineers to test hundreds of designs. The physical crash tests, conducted after a battery of virtual simulations, verify and validate the computer simulations to ensure every internal and external requirement is met.
“Developing the Focus to meet the global safety standards has resulted in improved crash performance to help protect occupants in crashes,” said Matt Niesluchowski, Focus safety manager. “The Ford safety team had a head start in working together around the world, which helped tremendously in ensuring the new Focus meets or exceeds a complex web of global safety regulations.”
You can join Matt here at 10:00 am EST for a live chat to talk to him more about Ford safety testing and the safety technology in the 2012 Ford Focus.
The new Focus, which debuts around the world starting early next year, underwent an exhaustive testing regimen of occupant and full-vehicle computer simulations. Those simulations have become so realistic that the number of physical vehicle crash tests has been significantly reduced.
“We are using more computer simulations than ever to optimize the designs of all the components that make up a vehicle to help enhance safety,” Matt said. “The complexity of crash tests, with hundreds of parts and systems interacting, still requires physical testing to validate those simulation results.”
The Focus offers a suite of new safety innovations, which includes the next-generation driver-front airbag with enhanced chest protection technology. The new airbag uses a reconfigured curve-shaped tether system that pulls in the lower section to create a “pocket” to help lessen the impact of the airbag on the driver’s chest and ribs in frontal crashes. You can read about a suite of new airbag designs for Ford by clicking here.
In addition to the new airbags, the new Focus vehicle structure provides enhanced crash protection with a B-pillar reinforcement, a key structural part made from ultra-high-strength steel produced using an innovative “tailor rolling” process. The process allows the thickness of the steel sheet to be varied along its length so the component has increased strength in the areas that are subjected to the greatest loads.
High-strength steels comprise 55 percent of the Focus body shell, and ultra-high-strength and boron steels make up more than 31 percent of its skeletal structure. These advanced materials help the structure meet crash regulations across world markets while minimizing the vehicle’s weight to help maximize fuel economy.