Few of us expect the
electronic devices we rely on to last very long. Cracked screens, slow-running
software, and the appeal of the latest model can consign new smartphones,
tablets and laptops to the bin after only a few years of use.
Now Ford has introduced a
super-tough new version of a technology that most of us use every day – the
humble ignition key – which is designed to last a lifetime in the hands of the
most demanding drivers.
Ford tested the key – for
Transit and Transit Custom vans – to ensure it could survive being submerged
underwater for 30 minutes, dropped 50 times onto a concrete floor and exposed
to temperatures from 60deg C to – 20deg C.
To all appearances the fob
looks like any other ignition key, with a keypad to lock the vehicle and a
flip-style key blade. However, to ensure it is completely waterproof, it is
permanently sealed shut, with the two halves of the plastic housing joined by
friction welding. The inside of the key is carefully designed to resist typical
workplace impacts, and a rechargeable battery cell is charged whenever the key
is placed in the ignition, to ensure it never runs out of charge.
“Our customers want a key
which can tackle the hard knocks of construction sites and city deliveries, and
keep coming back for more,” said Jonathan Allan, electrical engineering
supervisor, Ford of Europe. “While a mobile phone can sometimes let you down,
Ford has ensured that Transit drivers have a key which is just as rugged as
their vehicle,” he added.
Engineers also tested the key
using using climatic chambers in temperatures simulating everything from desert
heat to arctic cold, and in humidity levels of up to 100 per cent. Further
tests included ensuring:
Dust resistance – five hours surrounded by a fine, penetrating dust
Chemical resistance – up to 96 hours continuous exposure to diesel,
petrol, ethanol, detergents and sweat
Pocket simulation – four hours non-stop vibration with coins and
Button durability – 10 button presses with 12 times the usual force
Endurance – 100,000 activations in temperatures ranging from 50deg
C to -10deg C
The shockproof key is the
latest generation of a design which has been refined and developed with 10
years of feedback from Transit customers.
Ford’s new Transit and Transit
Custom commercial vehicles are now on sale across Europe, and are powered by
the all-new 2.0-litre Ford EcoBlue diesel engine which offers improved cost of
ownership and performance, with fuel consumption reduced by up to 13 per cent
compared with the previous model.
Source: Ford Motor Company
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