Child Passenger Safety Colorado News and Information dynamic locking latchplates - FYI

  • From: camie wewer <cjwewer@xxxxxxx>
  • To: <cjwewer@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 13 May 2012 16:31:59 -0600

  Dynamic Locking Latchplates Coming Soon to an Event Near You!  
Some 2011 model year GM vehicles are equipped with dynamic locking latch plates 
in the front driver and passenger seats. These are different from the more 
familiar cinching latch plates that are used for child restraint installation 
as the dynamic locking latch plates are designed to lock under dynamic crash 
loading but they may not stay locked under normal driving conditions.  
Child restraints MUST be installed by locking the switchable retractor, even 
when there is a dynamic locking latch plate in the front passenger seat. The 
vehicle owner's manual instructs that the retractor must be locked for child 
restraint installation in the front passenger seat along with detailed 
instructions on how to lock the retractor.  
Submitted by Julie Kleinert, CPST, General Motors (Warren, MI)
New GM Seatbelt Technology Saves 5-Star Safety RatingsJames M. Amend, WardsAuto 
 General Motors rolls out a new seatbelt technology aimed at helping select 
U.S. models reach or retain coveted 5-star safety ratings under stricter 
testing guidelines from the National Highway Traffic Safety Admin. GM calls it 
a Dynamic Locking Latch Plate (DLLP), which allows webbing of the seatbelt to 
pass through freely and provide the same comfort and convenience of traditional 
restraint systems.DLLP is not considered a low-cost solution to meeting an auto 
maker’s crash requirements, but the business case made sense for GM under the 
tight timetable and given the alternative of an expensive redesign. 

<div>        <a 
 target="_blank">          <img 
 border="0" alt="" />        </a>      </div>However, in the event of a crash, 
the locking plate clamps to prevent transfer of the webbing, holding the lower 
torso in place and reducing load on the occupant’s chest. It also keeps the 
legs from impacting the dashboard.The webbing’s motion across the plate, as the 
occupant moves forward in the crash, causes it to clamp. The action is entirely 
mechanical.“It is a cool little device,” says Larry Kwiecinski, engineering 
group manager-Vehicle Safety Integration at GM, and “a key enabler” to meeting 
GM’s crash requirements.“It helps us control the lower torso in a crash, it 
keeps the femurs from contacting the instrument panel and it also gives us 
better tuning and control capability for the upper torso. We can then tune the 
retractor pretensioners to better interact with the airbags during the crash 
event.”Motivation for the technology comes from the stricter 5-star rating 
system NHTSA is employing for the ’11 model year.Realizing its 32-year-old New 
Car Assessment Program had lost some of its teeth because so many new cars and 
trucks were achieving the highest ratings with relative ease, NHTSA beefed up 
the standard with tougher testing.For example, 96% of front- and side-impact 
crash-tested vehicles in the ’08 model year received four or five stars.The 
revamped NCAP still includes criteria for front and side collisions, but now 
also requires testing for small-stature adults and for neck and femur injuries, 
as well as chest deflection or crush. It also adds an “oblique pole” crash test 
against the driver’s side door.Industry safety experts estimate vehicles once 
performing at a level earning the highest 5-star rating would receive a 3-star 
assessment under the new testing, and safety continues to be a key 
differentiator for auto makers on the dealership floor.“The rating is very 
difficult,” says Kwiecinski, whose group designs, engineers and integrates 
safety technologies into particular vehicle lines at GM. “Very difficult 
criteria levels (and) five stars are critical in the marketplace.”The new 
government rating system put auto makers under a tight deadline. NHTSA 
announced in 2007 it would add tougher testing, but the final standards were 
delayed twice. Auto makers found themselves forced to make safety additions to 
reach or retain the highest ratings, instead of baking them into a product 
earlier in its development cycle.“We didn’t have loads of time,” Kwiecinski 
admits. “We had to act pretty quickly to come with a creative solution.”Adding 
knee bags, which are beginning to appear on more vehicles, would have been one 
logical solution for GM. But it also would have called for a major redesign on 
some models to accommodate the hardware. So working with its suppliers, the 
auto maker decided to address its restraint system instead.GM does not disclose 
the supplier of the latch system, but Ward’s learns Takata is the provider, 
along with a new “shock-proof” buckle housing that stays latched better in a 
crash. Safety experts TRW and AutoLiv also make similar locking plate 
systems.The auto maker is not the first to market with DLLP, although it is an 
early adopter and will drive volume installation of the latch system.Mechanical 
pieces inside the DLLP, such as two clamps and a pair of springs, make for a 
bigger latch housing that is surprisingly hefty to grasp in an era when such 
units are being downsized. But GM says it has received positive anecdotal 
feedback, with some customers saying the latch is easier to grab over their 
shoulder.During Ward’s 10 Best Interiors testing earlier this year, editors 
found the latch does insert into the buckle stalk easily and responds with a 
solid “click” to tell passengers they are buckled up.The DLLP is not considered 
a low-cost solution to meeting an auto maker’s crash requirements, industry 
sources say, but the business case made sense for GM under the tight timetable 
and given the alternative of an expensive redesign.“While cost was a 
consideration, it was more the drive to score well and to provide the safety 
benefits in a short amount of time, so the solution-set is somewhat limited,” 
Kwiecinski says. “You can’t redesign the whole vehicle.”The Chevy Traverse, GMC 
Acadia and Buick Enclave large cross/utility vehicles, as well as the Chevy 
Malibu and Impala midsize sedans; Cadillac CTS lineup and SRX; Buick LaCrosse 
and Regal; and Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain are among the auto maker’s other 
models to use DLLP to achieve top scores without knee bags.The new latch system 
also appears on the ’10 Saab 9-5 midsize sedan and new-for-’11 9-4X luxury CUV, 
a pair of products developed while the Swedish auto maker was under GM 
ownership.Kwiecinski says GM plans to use DLLP on more vehicles. The decision 
will be platform-specific and based on how well a particular model performs in 
crash testing.jamend@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 

 Camie Wewer-Program Coordinator *CPS Technician/Instructor*Special Needs 
CPSNourish @ North Suburban Medical Center * Baby On The Go * Child Passenger 
Safety Assistance and Education303 489 4819 Cell 303 453 2273 NSMC              

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