The purpose of the machine was to test for long periods of time, car door locks, ignition locks and their keys. Due to the lengthy timescales of these endurance tests it was very important that data was not lost in the event of a power cut or an emergency stop.
We used Parker packaged DIN Rail stepping motor drives to power Zebotronic motors which are fitted with holding brakes and encoder feedback to ensure that any problems positioning the locks when inserting a key is immediately detected.
The robust Parker 404XR positioning stages accurately locate the key into a lock, then simulate a person inserting the key at a poor angle relative to the lock. This angle varies with every insertion.
A servo motor is used to rotate the key and a torque limit can be programmed via the Operator Panel. If this torque is ever reached the machine will record the lock assembly has failed.
Most vehicles use the same key for the doors and ignition, the machine is designed if required to test both door and ignition locks in sequence.
When testing the door lock a particle brake provides a programmable load on the lock assembly, once the ignition lock is tested, signals form the ignition switch contacts are sent to the machines control system.
If however the switch is not activated a fault message will be displayed.
The machine also has been constructed with the facility to include a key burnishing and a cleaning station which if required can be added at a later date.
This key test rig has been a great success, improving the accuracy and operating rate of the previous equipment and subsequently the reliability of keys and locks.