Car spreader al­ter­na­tive to the ‘Jaws of Life’

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - PNEUMATICS HYDRAULICS -

A Univer­sity of Waikato me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing stu­dent has de­signed an al­ter­na­tive to the Jaws of Life, the cut­ting ma­chine fre­quently used by res­cue work­ers to ex­tract people from cars in­volved in an ac­ci­dent.

Rather than cut­ting through the ve­hi­cle, Andrew’s Car Spreader straight­ens bent steel back to its orig­i­nal shape.

The heart of his ma­chine is a hy­draulic ram ca­pa­ble of a 10 tonne re­tract­ing force. The frame was pro­file cut from G350 mild steel and is ar­ranged around the ram with ad­justa­bil­ity to suit a range of small ve­hi­cles.

“Car ver­sus ob­ject im­pacts tend to bend the ve­hi­cle around a road­side in­stal­la­tion such as a power pole, leav­ing the driver and any pas­sen­gers trapped in­side.

“The cur­rent method of get­ting pas­sen­gers out is to use hy­drauli­cally pow­ered cut­ters and spread­ers to dis­as­sem­ble the car's struc­ture,” says Andrew.

“The prob­lem is that mod­ern cars are made from stronger steels and can con­tain high cur­rent elec­tri­cal cabling and airbag pro­pel­lant tanks that can make it un­safe for first re­spon­ders to cut a car apart.”

Andrew, a for­mer Waiuku Col­lege stu­dent, be­gan with a ma­chine con­cept from Pukekohe com­pany Belcher In­dus­tries. Along with work­shop space, the com­pany pro­vided su­per­vi­sion from en­gi­neer­ing man­ager Kael Roberts, who was a co-su­per­vi­sor of the project along­side univer­sity en­gi­neer­ing lec­turer Dr Rob Tor­rens.

Fol­low­ing pre-test­ing with beams of steel, they tested the spreader on a Ford Tel­star sedan that had been in a side-im­pact col­li­sion.

“The ma­chine was fixed to the side of the ve­hi­cle and pow­ered by a mo­bile hy­draulic power pack, which con­tracted the ram,” said Andrew.

“The force pushed the left and right pil­lars back­ward, while pulling the cen­tre of the car out­ward.”

Univer­sity of Waikato me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing stu­dent Andrew Ger­bich with his al­ter­na­tive to the ‘Jaws of Life’. Photo / sup­plied

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.