Significant hailstorms result in millions—and sometimes billions—of dollars in damages to roofs, siding, and outdoor and roof-mounted equipment, which is why hail research is a top priority for the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS).
After creating the first full-scale indoor hailstorm in 2013, IBHS initiated an effort to automate realistic hailstone creation (replicating and controlling the size, hardness, and density of actual hail). Working with Accudyne Systems, Inc., IBHS developed a one-of-a-kind custom hail production machine that is capable of manufacturing 1,000 hailstones per day to precise specifications. The ability to automate the process of creating realistic hailstones significantly reduces the amount of staff time required, as previous methods were only able to produce approximately 100 hailstones per day. Most importantly, the quick freezing process also results in hailstones that are remarkably consistent from stone to stone, a vast improvement over IBHS’ initial process of freezing the hailstones in molds.
This equipment significantly advances IBHS’ hail research project and has a pending patent. With the hail machine efficiently producing laboratory hailstones, the hail research program will be able to accelerate the impact testing of roofing products and the evaluation of current impact rating standards.
The new hail-making machine (above) significantly increases the number and consistency of stones created at the IBHS Research Center, improving impact testing on commercial roofing products.