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Haptic testing makes sure that it feels “just right”

03 February 2021

“If it feels right, it is right” was an old engineers’ mantra which was effective on relatively simple components but is no longer good enough to meet the demands of increasingly complex assemblies that not only must feel right but be right, consistently.

Compare the “feel” of the controls and switches on a 1980s car, which were perfectly acceptable, with the “feel” of the controls on today’s cars to understand just how much the “feel” of the switches and other controls has advanced. Much of this advance has been market driven, especially on “big ticket” items, as consumers correlate feel with quality and reliability.

Haptic testing, a quantitive analysis of “feel”, aims to minimise any variation in the “feel” of mass-produced components. On many cars, several on-board systems, from integrated navigation to air conditioning and radio, are controlled by intuitively turning, tilting or pressing a single rotary actuator. To ensure the quality of these control elements, suppliers use automated end-of-line haptic testing.

Haptic test systems must identify small variations in the forces needed to operate a component – be it a simple switch or a multi-function rotary actuator – precisely and reliably over the long term.

Read the full article in the February issue of DPA.

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