Car-makers line up for Hunts-designed pedestrian-safe bonnet

THREE major motor manufacturers could soon be using pedestrian-friendly bonnets made from materials designed and manufactured in Huntingdon.

Business Award-winning Cellbond, in Blackstone Road, which has been working on impact-resistant composite materials for more than 20 years, already has two manufacturers interested in adopting its revolutionary technology, which is aimed at minimising head injuries in collisions.

Anglia Ruskin University, in Cambridge, with which Cellbond has been collaborating, has lined up a third, according to one of the firm’s engineers, Dr Mehrdad Asadi, who designed the bonnet.

“The pedestrian-friendly bonnet idea has been around for a while and, when this European project kicked off, we were involved. The overall aim is enhanced all-round safety, and we got involved in the pedestrian part,” he told The Hunts Post.

“The biggest concern is that there’s not enough gap between the bonnet and the hard bits, particularly the engine and the bonnet reinforcement. So, when the vehicle is hit by a head, it deforms but then hits the rigid part, exerting a severe force on the head.”

The trick was to absorb all the energy before the

rigid structures became involved – an achievement that Cellbond has now not only achieved by had officially verified in a EuroNCAP certified test house.

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The Cellbond bonnet goes even further than it was required to, reducing what are known as the ‘head impact criteria’ by 60 per cent, Dr Asadi said.

The technology actually combines two of Cellbond’s existing structural and impact-absorbing patents, though Dr Asadi would not disclose which manufacturers had shown “very good interest”.

“It’s not the only way of meeting the pedestrian-safety criteria: different manufacturers have come up with their own ideas, such as Jaguar’s pop-up bonnet. But we didn’t want to complicate the system and make it expensive.”

Pedestrians account for 20 per cent of all traffic fatalities in Europe and 14 per cent in the United States – with the majority of injuries being caused by the head impacting on the vehicle.

Statistically, 65 per cent of pedestrians impacting or rolling on the bonnet of a car that is going above 40mph are killed or suffer from serious injury.

Cellbond Composites Limited, a former Hunts Post Business Awards winner for manufacturing and innovation, was the first component of the Encocam Group of companies founded by Dr Mike Ashmead, who was Business Person of the Year in 2006.