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The testing and certification company SGS has officially launched operations at its expanded Automotive Testhouse in Herten, north west Germany. The laboratory has been extended by 1,600 square metres in total. In Herten, special endurance tests are performed on vehicle components using numerous test facilities. Dashboards, headlights, car seats and even complete interiors are inspected on the test benches, as these components must also fulfil the most stringent safety and quality standards. They must not emit any hazardous substances, break under load or fade when exposed to solar radiation to name just a few requirements.

SGS tests for all these attributes before the components are installed in vehicles. The company provides support during the approval process from prototype development through to the production process.The Automotive Testhouse is an accredited, independent testing laboratory and is commissioned by OEMs and automotive suppliers to conduct initial sample inspections and serial sample inspections on vehicle components. More than 50 employees perform over 900 different tests in Herten. The expanded facility now offers an even greater range of testing capabilities: new installations include a number of climate chambers and solar simulators, each with a volumetric capacity of roughly 15 cubic metres.

Services include 3D scans, testing on carbon composites & impact testing

Complete dashboards are exposed to extreme UV radiation or temperature fluctuations. This recreates ageing processes and any changes in the material can be monitored. The laboratory also now employs a large-scale 3D scanner that uses photogrammetry to take multidimensional measurements of components. Also new in its portfolio of services are tensile and bend testing on long-fibre reinforced materials, such as carbon composites, pressure water jet testing and stone impact testing for painted add-on parts.

Testing supplier requirements set by leading automotive manufacturers

Extensive quality controls conducted at the SGS Automotive Testhouse independently ensure that the materials and parts fitted in vehicles comply with statutory regulations and also fulfil the strict standards stipulated by automotive manufacturers. “We are a single-source provider capable of testing the complete range of supplier requirements set by leading automotive manufacturers for both interiors and exteriors,” says SGS Site Manager Dr Lutz Mayer. “With our global network of more than 1,650 laboratories and offices, we can operate as far afield as China, the US, India, Japan, Thailand and Korea. Our expertise is also frequently requested for R&D projects.”