How is a latch created?
The drawing board has been passé for more than 20 years – these days, locking systems are designed on computers, which is why Kiekert has a highly developed CAD infrastructure. Computer-aided simulation makes it possible to calculate product behavior to an extremely high level of accuracy. This means the functionality of a latch can be tested even during the planning phase – without the need for prototypes.
Before the first prototype is built, however, something else has to happen – component production. 80 to 90 percent of a Kiekert prototype is made from components made specifically for us. Consequently, the analysis of these parts is an important step. This is where we test whether the items made by suppliers match the CAD model. This is no straightforward task when it comes to latches, which now comprise wide-ranging elements like synthetic materials, plastic and steel as well as electronic and mechatronic parts.
Not until our analysis labs have given the green light is the first prototype of a new latch produced. But before it goes to our customer, it has to prove itself in one of the toughest endurance tests in the automotive sector. From cold to hot, sandy, wet and salty – a Kiekert latch has to withstand a great deal in our testing centers.
Once the prototype has successfully undergone our many analysis and testing processes and exceeded our customer’s requirements, the latch is then released for production. All over the world, Kiekert has around 4,000 employees working on state-of-the-art production lines, making almost 1,200 latches per minute.