What a latch must be able to withstand
Latches are always a safety-relevant component, which is why testing and verification are among the most important parts of the development process. It’s how we ensure that our latches always work – by day and by night, in rain, wind and weather.
We test heavy contamination by sand and other pollutants in our dust chamber. From coarse to fine-grained – we use all types of dust from all over the world. Once the consistency has been selected, our test experts simulate a 2000-kilometer ride on dusty terrain – in the space of just half an hour. The latch only passes the test if it still functions perfectly afterward.
Temperature is likewise an important factor for the quality of our products. When all’s said and done, a Kiekert latch has to be able to open a car door smoothly in ice and extreme heat. To test that, we have climate chambers, where we test the full range of temperatures – be it a Siberian winter at -40 degrees or searing desert heat of +85 degrees.
And in preparation for the worst-case scenario, we also conduct extensive testing to ensure that a door latch provides optimum occupant protection in the event of an accident. We validate crash safety in our centrifugal test, where latches are literally shaken to their core with dynamic accelerations of 60-90g.
However, a Kiekert latch does not just have to pass endurance tests. The sound design of our products is likewise no coincidence. At our global Acoustics Centers, sound experts research individual sounds for vehicle doors and lids. By altering components, we can adapt the sound spectrum individually. This is how we ensure that car doors close with a solidly reassuring “whump”, despite the door and the latch being engineered to the latest lightweight design principles.