– Touching a metallic object we expect to be cold and finding it to be warm can have a negative effect on our perception of quality. That’s just one example of the complex relationship between materials, temperature and touch.
Ford is making sure the contact (or touch) temperature of materials in its vehicles complements their visual appearance through the use of an advanced “thermometer”. This measures both the temperature of a surface and helps identify the degree to which people associate the warmth of materials to a perception of quality.
“Perceived quality is a fundamental factor for Ford customers buying their next car,” said Alexander van Laack, research engineer, vehicle interior technologies, Ford of Europe. “The ability to measure and assign actual values to those judgments is a major step in meeting and exceeding customer expectations.”
The compact, hand-held, thermometer-like tool has been developed by engineers at Ford’s European Research and Development Advanced Engineering Centre, in Aachen, Germany. It can accurately measure the contact temperature of interior components and help identify those that customers believe best convey the impression of quality.
The device both warms the chosen component and measures its surface temperature. The resulting data enables Ford engineers to assign a quality rating to each component and feed that knowledge into the production process.
“Consciously or not, we all judge the quality of the items we interact with using all our senses, experience, expectations, preferences and even cultural factors,” said van Laack