Crash tests for improved repairability

Since 1982, the crash repair test developed in the Allianz Center for Technology (AZT) has been considered the criterion for the repairability of vehicles following smaller accidents. In Germany, an independent trustee derives the vehicle type class for fully comprehensive insurance from the results of these tests; as such, they have a direct impact on the insurance classification of cars which are newly introduced onto the market.

Today, the crash repair test is represented by an international working group (www.rcar.org) and has been standardized throughout the world for the front and rear. As such, these tests are also similarly used in other countries around the globe for the insurance classification.
 

In a frontal crash, the vehicle hits a hard barrier at a speed of 15 km/h; the barrier covers 40 % of the front of the vehicle and stands at an angle of 10 degrees. The bumper and the components behind it on one side have to dissipate the energy. Similarly, in a rear-end crash, a 1,400 kg barrier is driven against the stationary car. 

Since a stationary car is - unlike the barrier - deformable, the crash repair test corresponds to an accident involving a real vehicle travelling at approximately 25 km/h collision speed.

 

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Both testing methods are aimed at covering typical, everyday accidents, and should hence not be confused with tests conducted to assess occupants' safety (ECE, NCAP), which have to address accidents of significantly higher, albeit considerably less frequent, degrees of accident severity, and are hence primarily focused on occupants' safety.

However, the positive results achieved in the laboratory have to also be reflected in good energy absorption demonstrated by the vehicles in a real accident. This is possible only if bumpers interact without sliding against each other. In this conjunction, an international working group (rcar.org), headed by the Allianz Center for Technology, hence developed a test which is aimed at ensuring the geometrical compatibility of various vehicles, and, in the experiment, also examines the interaction of the bumpers until the vehicles have come to a standstill.

This bumper test was defined in 2006, and has been binding since 2010 for the type classification of all vehicles newly introduced to the market. It is evaluated by an independent trustee in the classification process - in addition to the crash repair test.

For the bumper test, the minimum requirements for the bumper dimensions are first examined. If these requirements are satisfied, a test drive may be conducted. During the bumper test, the vehicle collides into the middle of a hard barrier while travelling at 10 km/h. The bumper should not slide over or under the barrier, and the components behind it, such as the expensive cooler or the rear panel, should not undergo any damage.

 

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The bumper test has been established as a standard throughout the world (rcar.org). Unlike the more spectacular experiments for the evaluation of occupants' safety (ECE, NCAP), this test addresses more frequent, everyday accidents, and is aimed at reducing costs.

"In developing crash test standards, the Allianz Center for Technology has a significant influence on the crash performance of modern vehicles at low and medium collision speeds. This helps avoid unnecessary repair costs. Ultimately, this reduces the vehicles' running costs."

 

Dr. Christoph Lauterwasser, Managing Director AZT Automotive GmbH

Repair research


Repair costs constitute a large portion of claims costs in motor  insurance.  AZT investigates and supervises new developments in paint and bodywork repair with the aim of promoting professional and cost-effective repair solutions.

By repairing real-life vehicle damage, trained REFA experts (www.refa.de) analyze the repair times and material consumption according to established industry standards. Time studies are carried out both at the AZT and at independent external repair shops. The purpose of these tests is to determine the basis for calculating repair costs correctly.

The Allianz Center for Technology maintains a range of calculation systems and aids:

  • AZT paint calculation system to determine the cost of painting

  • AZT caravan and motor caravan calculation system

  • Calculation aid for panel beating, plastic repairs and spot repairs

These are available to users via the calculation software offered by many providers in the market.  Among others, we cooperate with Audatex, Autovista International AG, DAT and CAB. In particular, the calculation systems are used by experts, repair shops, Allianz companies and other insurers.

In addition, interested parties also have the option of subscribing to the AZT "Technische Mitteilungen", which summarize the results from research work and the collaboration with automobile and paint manufacturers and is published in the form of a loose leaf collection (AZT Technische Mitteilungen).

 

In addition, a catalog of vehicle repair studies involving repair work which is calculated according to the time required (REFA) and then compared to the calculation based on the panel-beating formula provides assistance when selecting a professional and economical method of repair. These repair examples are also available as part of the subscription.

 

Apart from the integration of the AZT information in the Audatex calculation system, the data is also offered on the information platform Repair-Pedia.


Road safety - the relevant crash tests

The Allianz Center for Technology does not only play an active role in improving repairability.

It is also dedicated to increasing road safety, for example, by providing Allianz customers with pertinent information. Do you know, for example, how to secure you dog properly? Or what could happen if you rest your feet on the dashboard? In such contexts, demonstration crashes are conducted in order to highlight the problems and raise awareness amongst car-drivers.

In practice, these experiments are aimed at demonstrating the forces involved in an accident and the consequences. These instructive tests are performed and published with regard to issues such as securing cargo, travelling with dogs in the car, the proper use of seatbelts and airbags, as well as fan processions and cycling.

Protect yourself and any passengers entrusted to your care!

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The AZT paint calculation system

Since its introduction in 1977, the AZT paint calculation system has established itself as the leading, manufacturer-independent international standard for the calculation of paintwork, and is used in more than 35 countries all over the world - and this trend is growing.

The materials and methods currently used for repair paint jobs form the basis of the paint calculation system. New vehicle models are regularly added to the system, and values are updated frequently. New materials and methods are examined, and are taken into account in accordance with their market importance.



The users of this system receive:
 

  • all necessary information relating to processing time and expenditure, quickly and simply
  • calculation values for passenger vehicles, off-road vehicles and transport vehicles included in the system
  • the amount of time needed to complete the paint repair, in hours
  • the current paint costs for the repair, in the respective national currency

 

The AZT paint calculation system covers over 4,000 models. Annually, more than 10 million paint jobs are calculated worldwide with the aid of the system.

Securing dogs in the vehicle

Dogs are the most loyal companions on every journey – so protect your best friend!

As a matter of fact, dogs are regarded as cargo in the sense of the German road traffic regulations and must be secured during the journey. The market offers various systems for this purpose and the Allianz Center for Technology AZT has tested samples for their practical suitability and crash safety using dog dummies. In most cases, the different securing systems are more uncomfortable for the dog owner in terms of handling than for the dog itself.

A safety system not only helps the dog to find a safe and comfortable position in the vehicle during normal driving manoeuvres, but also during emergency braking or evasive manoeuvres. Thus most dogs get used to it quickly to stay more relaxed during the journey. Hence the driver is also less distracted by the dog. An unsecured dog, however, can move freely in the vehicle, cannot find a secure foothold, can obstruct the driver's view and distract him dangerously.

Finally, in the event of an accident, an unsecured dog is not only considerably endangered itself, it also precipitates a serious risk of injury for the occupants due to its mass and the enormous physical forces. After an accident, an unsecured dog in a frightened, possibly injured state, can endanger helpers and other road users. And also a dog trying to protect the owner can become a danger for helpers and car passengers.


The crash tests performed by AZT have impressively shown that dogs must be secured according to their size and weight. Dog owners should consider the following references:

  • The securing system (whether belt, harness or box) must bear a test certificate for crash safety according to ECE R17.
  • The securing system must be designed for the weight and size of the dog.
  • Read and understand the manufacturer's instructions on the safety system and how to use it appropriately.
  • The safest place for a dog is in a lashed and firmly closed dog transport box in the cargo area.
  •  The box must be secured with suitable lashing straps and must not load the backrest of the rear seat bench during normal operation.
  • The seat belts of unoccupied rear seats can be additionally fastened in order to absorb loads on the backrest in the event of an accident.
  • Only smaller dogs up to a maximum mass of 7 kg can be buckled up on the rear seat with  special belt and harness systems, because harnesses generally provide too much freedom of movement and can be harmful for the dog due to an excessive jerk when tightened in an accident.
  • For dogs up to medium weight and size there are crash-proof transport boxes for the rear seats available. These boxes can also be secured with additional straps or even better using Isofix mounts.
  • Drive carefully and with foresight.


Taking these AZT tips into account, your dog will hopefully be happy to accompany you in the vehicle as long and as safe as possible.

The AZT wishes you and your pet a safe journey!


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