Force Application Machines seat calibration

CASE STUDY – LEAR

Force Application Machines (FAM) built for Lear to perform an end-of-line calibration test on the safety relevant occupant classification system components of a car passenger seat

Customer: Lear Corporation
Industry: Automotive
Location: UK

THE CHALLENGE

A Force Application Machine (FAM) performs an end-of-line calibration test on the safety relevant occupant classification system components of a car passenger seat by moving the adjustable elements of the seat and by applying a predetermined load pressure via a Seat Butt-Form.

The customer instructed us to design, build and install two Force Application Machines (FAM) for calibrating their new seats for the Jaguar XE model.

The legal requirements of Passive Occupant Detection Systems (PODS) and the complexity of modern seat design requires manufacturers to carry out individual seat calibrations while ensuring full traceability of each seat. The PODS weight-sensing system enables vehicle manufacturers to improve the effectiveness of airbag protection and reduce the potential for injury through smart deployment or suppression of the passenger’s airbag.

We had to design and build an on-line machine to be integrated into the Lear assembly track, be compliant with Delphi’s PODS system and meet the North American Seat Specifications.

THE CUSTOMER

Lear Corporation – A leading supplier of automotive seating and electrical distribution systems, supplying most major car makers in the world

High-precision seat calibration

High-precision seat calibration to increase passenger safety and reduce risks of product recalls

Factory integration

Integration with Lear’s production software

Traceability

Full traceability of each seat

THE SOLUTION

Working closely with Lear we were able to design a FAM that connected to Lear’s production line and which tested a pair of left and right seats simultaneously.

Once the seats are introduced into the FAM via a conveyor, their presence is detected and the FAM operator is instructed to connect the test harnesses to the seat connectors. The FAM then prompts the operator to initiate the calibration test cycle and commences a laser measurement check of the seat position for correctness before running the test.

The test cycle deploys a Seat-Butt-Form under load onto the seat to pre-determined calibrated forces which ensures that the seat can detect whether an adult or child has sat in the seat or whether an object / parcel has been placed onto the seat. The test cycle also tests that the seat is working correctly by detecting the presence of a seat belt system.

This information is sent to the car’s restraints ECU to sound an alarm if the occupant hasn’t buckled their seatbelt and to know if an airbag is required to be deployed and at what charge in the event of a collision.
The total calibration cycle takes less than 3 minutes and it is managed by Sorion’ Sextans test software. Running on a touchscren PC, Sextans controls the test and calibration process, data acquisition and result management.

The results of each test cycle are communicated back to the Sorion Orion database, which via a web browser, allows for bespoke quality assurance and performance reports to be produced.

For traceability purposes, the Orion database is connected with the LEAR production software and is able to transmit all seat build information along with the test results of each component element of the seat.

Delivery and installation of the two FAMs into the LEAR production facility involved utilising a specialist transport and lifting company and working with several other contractors and departments within LEAR.

Advanced and careful planning ensured the installation ran seamlessly and was competed in under a week and a total 20 weeks to complete from initial discussions to final installation.