Quality that will make jaws drop: Drop tests at STIHL

Whether it’s a chain saw, hedge trimmer or a blower, STIHL puts all tools to a thorough test. Cars have to prove their safety in crash tests before they leave the factory, and the same applies for STIHL products. From time to time, we let our tools take a real hit to see what happens when they do. These drop tests − whether simulated or real − help us to design our components even better.

Drop tests

During a drop test, we intentionally drop a product in our test station from a specific height and position. Cameras help us observe the tool’s fall and impact.

Drop test

The high-speed camera captures more than 7,500 images per minute.
Damage and deformation can then be analysed later in slow motion.

The crucial moments of impact are over within just a few milliseconds, which is why the key details are only visible with a high-speed camera in super-slow motion. For example, this technique is used to film the moment when a tool strikes the ground so that it is possible later, when reviewing the fall in slow motion, to find out where and why deformations and damage occurred and to localise potential weak points.

Simulations help us discover the kinks early on

During real drop tests, the tools are so greatly affected by the fall that a new tool is needed for every test. This is both costly and wasteful, which is why computer simulations are also extremely important to STIHL. Simulations help us discover the kinks early on, saving us test tools and money.

Since almost any kind of impact is imaginable with back- or hand-held work equipment, a number of different scenarios have to be enacted. Simulations enable all kinds of perspectives. The calculation models that are used for a simulation also enable us to make projections about durability already during the development stage. That helps us improve parts before production even begins.


Comparing results with reality

The calculation results are compared with the images recorded during the drop tests to verify the simulation’s findings. Discrepancies between the calculation and actual measurements help to refine the simulation models, which in turn provide increasingly accurate durability projections.

We are able to exactly line up the machines before impact in our drop test station so that we can carry out reproducible drop tests. We reconstruct the drop position simulated in a calculation and compare the actual results with those from the simulations. What’s more, this means that different versions of components can be tested and compared to each other.

Drop test

Calculation and measurement: Recorded images help
refine the results of a simulation. This image shows the impact of a handle bar housing of a battery hedge trimmer

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