Tested to the Extreme
Working with Henkel, the world renowned structural bonding specialists, we build the first and only fully bonded touring caravans and coachbuilt motorhomes.
The benefits of a fully-bonded vehicle are all in the name: SoLiD. Elddis believes that SoLiD Construction makes our vehicles stronger, lighter and drier than any other construction method allows.
Such bold claims are based on over 5 years of in-depth and intensive product development and a gruelling test schedule.
The initial phase of testing involved bonding a single axle, two-berth caravan. "The bonded caravan was then ‘thrown’ around the car park and over kerbs and we just couldn’t break it," Alan Beel, Business Development Manager at Elddis confirmed.
"In fact we still have that original model and it's currently acting as a test vehicle for our harness supplier."
This first success gave Elddis the confidence to continue the development process and the next step was to consider the joint design to provide an even stronger and watertight structure. The result was a keyway joint which effectively increases the bond area by 63%, creating a structure that is at least 10 times stronger than the original.
A New Breed of Touring Caravan is Born
A prototype of a new caravan was constructed whereby all walls and the roof, floor and chassis were bonded together and all mating surfaces featured the new tongue and groove joint. It is similar to a Monocoque car design and as a result the stress is spread across the entire structure so the force at any given point is very low.
SoLiD Construction can contend with 20N per square millimetre of applied force to the bonded structure.
Testing at Europe’s Most Punishing Test Tracks
The next step was to road test the fully-bonded caravan design up to and way beyond BS EN1645 Part 1 - the master standard for caravan construction.
For this purpose Elddis took a newly-built Avante 646 to a number of proving grounds including the Ford track at Lommel in Belgium - a site also used to test the durability of cars, trucks, military and commercial vehicles.
Tests subject the vehicles to all the worst conditions they are likely to encounter including pot holes, kerbs, cobble stones as well as high-speed motorway driving.
Setting a New Benchmark in Caravan Testing
The bonded Avante completed 90 circuits of this proving ground to achieve a ‘pass’ but again, Elddis wanted more. This durability standard was created as a benchmark for the non-bonded, screw fixed structure that is still the predominant method of construction in the industry. Elddis already knew that SoLiD Construction is stronger than this and therefore needed to create its very own measure of performance.
The fully loaded caravan travelled 27,000 miles on the Lommel track alone and the only casualty was the towing vehicle. Indeed, in order to complete the test, the tow vehicle had to be water-cooled after every three laps! The SoLiD Construction Avante 646, however, remained as good as new and, today, is owned by one of the team involved in the project and shows no sign of its punishing ordeal.
Water, Water Everywhere … but Zero Water Ingress
A rain simulator at Millbrook in Bedford then put the bonded structure through tests that mimicked annual rain fall and also subjected it to temperature extremes of -40◦C to +50◦C. No sign of water ingress could be seen but that was insufficient proof for Elddis, the only caravan manufacturer to be certified to the ISO 9001 manufacturing standard.
Our engineers completely dismantled the structure to confirm all elements were dry and that there were no joint failures. And on the strength of this Elddis has been able to introduce its FREE industry-leading 10 Year Water Ingress Warranty.
This process also confirmed that the new design is 100% repairable in a standard workshop, an important factor for the aftermarket. (We have since gone on to complete a mandatory training course in the Basic Principles of SoLiD Construction Repair techniques, in conjunction with Henkel, with every approved Elddis, Compass, Xplore and Buccaneer retailer and repair centre).
SoLiD Construction for Elddis Motorhomes
Pushing the testing further, Elddis provided a bonded motor home to MIRA to undertake its own, fully independent endurance test process.
The vehicle passed with flying colours. Despite wearing out tyres and suspension, no signs of wear and tear were found in the construction.
So confident are we in our fully-bonded construction, that it is used not only on every single one of our touring caravans but also on all of our motorhomes, all of which come backed by our FREE class-leading 10 Year Water Ingress Warranty.
Continuous Testing Ensures We Remain Industry Leaders
A six-month testing cycle ensures that Elddis remains at the forefront of leisure vehicle development and that we are able to maintain our leadership in design and construction.
In a bid to find the absolute limits of durability, we returned to Lommel in Belgium with yet another test caravan. This time it was overloaded by an extreme 500kg for yet another simulated 27,000 mile test.
Yet again the caravan survived and remains an immaculate example in the demonstration fleet. Less can be said about the new 4x4 tow vehicle which needed to be retired from service!
Access All Areas!
At the latest tests at the Markbronn test track and proving ground in Germany, we were permitted to film so that we can show our Customers the intensity of the testing and the unrivalled strength and durability of SoLiD Construction.
Watch it now!