Alu Tech - testing the Bailey caravan
British brand Bailey has decided to develop its own structure of caravan, different from that, which was used by manufacturers for the past 30 years. Introduction of the Alu-Tech system was preceded by intensive testing.
Already in the '80s the concept was born, according to which the caravan’s body has several layers. Till these days, the "sandwich-like” construction, usually with the use of few elements of a little moisture-resistant plywood, are used by many manufacturers.
Bailey has decided that 30 years is enough time for technology to go forward. The company started to work on a new design, which was supposed to be more resistant to weather conditions (the interior should be dry and warm as long as possible), more durable, more aerodynamic and stable at the same time. It was also important that the design changes didn’t have a negative effect on the weight of the caravan.
After many researches and tests, in which University of Bath and company Millbrook Proving Ground Bath were involved, Bailey has decided to enter the developed design to mass production. The construction of caravan used an extruded aluminum (without the external joints between elements) and fiberglass-reinforced plastics (GRP). The entire body structure doesn’t include any pieces of wood.
Without going into the intricacies of a technical nature, it’s worth noting that the design received a third degree of heat resistance according to the British classification, and the manufacturer decided to give a 6-year warranty on the tightness of the body.
But before Alu-Tech caravans were put into production, they were subjected to a very rigorous testing.
A survival for the caravan
On the track in Milbrook advanced utility tests were carried out. The car towing the caravan was moving on various surfaces at different speeds. It was tested on pavement, on potholed roads, on humps and bumps, but also on the road resembling a highway at a high speed. As a result, the car made around 1000 km in highly varied conditions, which was a simulation of 3 years of service use.
Another important tests were carried out in the cold. The first was a test for thermal performance. The caravan, with 20 degrees inside, was placed in a chamber where the temperature was at -15 degrees. The heating in the caravan was turned on, and the inside temperature raised up to 20 degrees. Fresh water supply was also tested under these conditions.
The second was a test for thermal efficiency. In this case, it was a measurement of the power needed to maintain the interior temperature of the caravan at 20 degrees for two hours with the outside temperature of -15 degrees. The caravan was heated using an electric heater (2 kW). The manufacturer claims that gas heating could be applied as well, but that electric is more efficient. The maximum value for this test can reach 1.2. In the case of a caravan Bailey Pegasus the achieved score amounted 0.96, which indicates a much lower power consumption.
Alu-Tech caravans were also subjected to other tests. Torsional stiffness test showed that the caravan based on the new design is less susceptible to bending while driving. The tests have also shown that the new caravans are 5% more stable in comparison with conventional caravans. This was possible thanks to the center of gravity located in the central part of the vehicle.
And finally - Bailey conducted its trial of strength, putting his own employees and Ford Mondeo on the roof of a new caravan! There were no victims, and no damage was done, which means that the British design coped with the challenge very well.
Motorhomes were also testes
Similar tests were carried out also for motorhomes, but in this case they were enriched with crash tests at a speed of 50 and 80 km/h. On the basis of the results, the distribution of certain elements was changed, so as not to threaten the safety of passengers in the event of an accident.
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