Quality assurance is an important aspect for Opel, so much so that it has put the new Astra Sports Tourer through rigorous testing in a Climatic Test Chamber located at its International Technical Development Center. Various tests are performed in order to see whether or not the materials and components can withstand the extreme temperatures of -40 degrees Celsius and +60 degrees Celsius.
“We want to see how the materials in the Sports Tourer react to extreme conditions. We also check if its appearance changes and if extreme heat or cold have an effect on, for example, gap width,” explains Otto Hemmelmann, Lead Engineer for Test Methods. “Sealing, bonding, plastic parts and materials, rubber – all this has to work properly, meaning constant elastic constricting and stretching like a rubber band, without bearing any traces of it,” explains the Chief Engineer. Hemmelmann and his team of varying specialists are responsible for carrying out the tests done under the scorching and freezing conditions.
The test chamber is more than just a temperature controlled room, it can simulate other factors such as direct sunlight. Aside from gap width, Hemmelmann’s team inspects the Astra for anything that could be subject to the extreme temperatures, such as the sensor-controlled tailgate mechanism or FlexFold rear seats. Even suspension components are taken into consideration. The basic gist is to see what impressions the car has on analysts and to determine if anything has become distorted or misaligned.