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Sunday, July 14, 2024
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EditorialsUp Front 12/06

Up Front 12/06

It’s a rare day when we don’t hear someone complaining about excessive bureaucracy, red tape, rules and regulations or health and safety measures. However some safety measures are complex. For instance every electrical appliance has to have a ‘CE’ label. An abbreviation for ‘Communauté Européenne’, this means that the appliance has satisfied the statutory requirements of the European Union. Additional safety certifications are the ‘GS’ label in Germany and the ‘UL’ standard of the Underwriter Laboratories in the USA. These various seals of approval pose a real challenge to development engineers. Before an iron, for instance, can be put on the market, the manufacturer has to carry out extensive tests: “Every prototype has to survive a fall from a height of one meter onto a slab of wood in the laboratory without compromising the safety of the appliance,” states André Heinrietz of the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF in Germany. A prototype has to be built and then, whenever an appliance failed the drop test, expensive modifications had to be made to the highly complex die-casting mould. In a joint project with a manufacturer of household appliances, research scientists have developed a simulation model that enables this drop test to be carried out at the planning stage – long before the first prototype has been built. Wouldn’t it be good if this type of safety test could be carried out on some of our politicians?

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