PRETORIA, South Africa – Jaguar Land Rover has developed a unique 3D-printed dog paw to help engineers assess the durability of future vehicles – with a little help from Yogi the Labrador and a new Land Rover Defender.
The ‘RoboYogi’ paw was used to test the rear bumper’s ability to withstand a dog’s claws scraping the finish before and after dog walks. Results showed the bumper could withstand more than a decade of use by scrabbling dogs paws.
Yogi the Labrador, a resident at the National Guide Dog Breeding Centre, was tasked with jumping in and out of the new Land Rover Defender boot, every step recorded by pressure mapping technology.
The team was able to benchmark the real-world outdoor scenario against ‘RoboYogi’; from how a mid-sized dog scrambles in and out to the pressure applied by claws and pads.
Nine-year-old Yogi’s paw was then used to model and 3D-print a spring-loaded replica, allowing the claws to follow contours and apply pressure evenly across the bumper. Spring-loaded claws also proved a cost-effective solution as they are easily replaceable.
The life-like paw is now used by Jaguar Land Rover to complete a standard 5000-cycle abrasion test during which ‘RoboYogi’ scratches the panel at random 10 times followed by a linear scratch to one side, before repeating the process.
The new Land Rover Defender proved an ideal test bed because of its iconic side-hinged door featuring a flat rear bumper for dogs to climb up, compared to the more traditional split tail door or rounded boot opening on other Land Rover
A WORD FROM AN EXPERT
The new method was developed collaboratively across Jaguar Land Rover by experts in materials engineering, working with additive manufacturing and robotic engineering experts.
Julie Nicholls, senior engineer in materials engineering at Jaguar Land Rover, told The Corner in a media release: “Our performance testing covers plenty of scenarios to which cosmetic parts are exposed but sometimes we have to think outside the laboratory for solutions.”
”Creating globally renowned vehicles means applying a quality mindset at every stage of a product’s life cycle to make sure we meet customers’ needs. In this case we were able to achieve it by getting a dog, printing a paw, and using a robot.”
Land Rover also has a range of ”pet packs”, among them a full-height luggage partition, and load-space rubber mats and liners.
- Land Rover produces more than 80 000 parts a year for a variety of applications, among them functional prototypes, design mock-ups, and manufacturing assembly aids and fixtures.