ERL, Ergonomic Research Laboratory

May 25, 2024
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Prototype Seat Evaluation

The industry standard for developing seats follows a path that begins with a point representing the hip joint of an SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) tool, goes through styling, and eventually becomes a series of prototype seats that are built for iteratively ride testing.   ERL takes the vehicle architecture for Heel point, accelerator, knee bolster, steering wheel, IP and IRVM to constrain the driver's task geometry.   Then, ERL uses the scanned seating surface and stiffnesses of the seat cushion and back to define the seat support for drivers ranging from small female to large male sitting in slumped, neutral and erect back postures.   The optimal fit of each occupant (incl. Oscar) is calculated and the resulting Comfort Score from the math data is used to evaluate the prototype seat.   The results are compared to the benchmark and the Supplier can take these math data to re-design the seat to maximize comfort for the targeted market for the vehicle.   The next ride confirms the change and production, rather than another iteration, is the next step.

In the automotive development process, the prototype is placed in a vehicle package (i.e. the "mule") equivalent to the new vehicle and a selection of different size drivers operate the vehicle and assess seat comfort.   The problem arises when the data are compiled and the comments must be interpreted.   Without a photograph of how the driver sat in the seat, alternative explanations are often the result that must then be interpreted for design guidance.   With ERL results, the picture and the results are in the math data without need for subjective interpretation.   Thus, ERL saves time and money of multiple iterations by providing guidance that solves the problems after one ride.

ERLRUN_3R1 for Prototype Evaluation

1. Seat meets patch criteria from ERLRUN_2R1 or exceeds ERLRUN_BR1
2. Seats meets meat-to-metal criteria
3. Seat passes static H-point test of SgRP
4. Seat passes static test of FMVSS 202a
5. Seat stiffness equals benchmark stiffness
6. Seat meets or exceeds comfort of ERLRUN_BR1

Protected by US Patent No. 6840125, 7047831, 7347114 and German Patent No. 1019693

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