Focus Is All on Safety for Ford

Article excerpt

THE driver's front airbag is designed to provide enhanced chest protection through the use of a reconfigured curved-shaped tether that pulls in the lower section of the airbag to help lessen the impact of the airbag on the driver's chest and ribs.

The feature is expected to be particularly beneficial for older, more injury-prone drivers.

The tethering technology in the driver's airbag is a first for the all-new Focus in North America and will roll out to many other Ford vehicles in the coming years.

It took more than 12,000 crashes to make the new Focus one of the safest Ford vehicles available globally.

Ford safety engineers in the US and Germany crash-tested the new Ford Focus more than 12,000 times in real and virtual worlds to prove how the innovative new technologies are designed to protect occupants in crashes.

The new Focus, which debuts in Australia this year, underwent an exhaustive testing regimen of occupant and full-vehicle computer simulations.

Those simulations were so realistic that the number of physical vehicle crash tests has been significantly reduced.

Focus safety manager Matt Niesluchowski said developing the Focus to meet global safety standards had resulted in improved crash performance.

aFord's 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,a he said.

Designs tested by Ford to take the heat

THE thousands of computer-aided engineering (CAE) crash 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.

aWe are using computer simulations more than ever to optimise the designs of all the components that make up a vehicle to help enhance safety,a Niesluchowski said.

aThe complexity of crash tests, with hundreds of parts and systems interacting, still requires physical testing to validate those simulation results.a

Enhanced restraint system created

THE new Focus features the Ford Intelligent Protection System (IPS), which integrates next-generation restraint system technologies with an optimised high-strength body structure.

IPS has been developed as a closely integrated system, so that the body structure absorbs energy in an effective manner during a crash and works in conjunction with the vehicle's restraint systems to help protect vehicle occupants.

Three-point safety belts are fitted to all seat positions, with retractor pretensioners providing increased retraction travel, along with belt load limiters in the front. …