AB Dynamics’ high-end vehicle K&C test systems include Kollmorgen AKD-N servo drives from Heason Technology

AB Dynamics’ Suspension Parameter Measurement Machine (SPMM) is used extensively by global vehicle manufacturers, standards test houses and tier-one component suppliers for the measurement of vehicle kinematics and compliance (K&C) data as part of progressive R&D and for production quality control. The SPMM is a 19-axis motion-controlled machine that makes precise measurements of vehicle body and component deflections whilst loading the vehicle. It delivers a complete and faithful simulation of on-road vehicle behaviour and includes a comprehensive range of upgrades and options including Vision Systems, Moment of Inertia and Centre of Gravity measurement capability.

Heason Technology – the designer, manufacturer and distributor of world-class motion solutions – is a long-term partner for motion control components specified by AB Dynamics. The next-generation SPMM, which has unrivalled measurement accuracy and improved performance utilises Heason supplied AKD-N series EtherCAT decentralised servo drives from its supply partner Kollmorgen. This has significantly simplified the SPMM’s control system design by providing a modular, distributed design approach and with a 78% reduction in servo cables running between machine and cabinet.

AB Dynamics’ SPMM 5000

The moving body platform of AB Dynamics’ SPMM 5000 features a central table which is precisely motion controlled via electric servo actuators in six degrees of freedom. This enables a combination of roll, pitch, bounce and yaw motion to be applied to the vehicle body during K&C and MIMS testing. The design geometry of the machine ensures that the ground plane (which replicates the road) is fixed during cornering and braking simulations. Each wheel station includes additional motion axes that generate X, Y and Delta forces at each wheel contact patch. By utilising high accuracy multi-component piezoelectric load cell assemblies below each wheel and a high accuracy “dynamic arm” wheel position measurement system, the SPMM 5000 is able to precisely measure all of the wheel forces and moments and the X, Y, Z, steer, camber and spin motion of the wheel centre.

All of the 19 motion axes on the machine include Heason supplied AKD-N and AKD-P EtherCAT enabled decentralised servo drives.

The SPMM 5000’s measurement systems and algorithms provide suspension engineers with an essential aid to the thorough understanding of a vehicles performance in terms of ride, steering and handling.

Kollmorgen AKD-N decentralised motion systems

Previous SPMM machine designs had high power servo drives for each of the 19 motion axes centrally mounted in very large air conditioned cabinets. Each drive had motor power and feedback cables going to its associated servomotor out on the machine. Long cable runs and high cable count plus complex cable management were proving to be a burden for machine build, testing and commissioning.

Heason Technology were able to show AB Dynamics a 78% reduction in servo cable count between machine and cabinet utilising AKD-N Decentralised servo drive system. Each AKD-N drive is located out on the machine close to its motor. DC power and EtherCAT comms are daisy-chained from drive to drive via a single 11mm cable with robust IP67 connectors. This greatly simplified wiring and cable management means AB Dynamics’ modular machine design now requires less hardware and spares inventory. Also field upgrades, eg. two to four-wheel set-ups, are more easily achieved. The new SPMM 5000, without the need for a large control cabinet, now has a much smaller footprint which is an important factor for production test area installation.

If the benefit of reduced commissioning and build time sounds compelling, then it is even more interesting to note that AKD-N boasts the option for a single hybrid cable between drive and motor. Motor power and feedback are via a single cable with robust IP67 connections.

EtherCAT fieldbus

Kollmorgen’s AKD-N series decentralised drives have a proven record not just for lower machine complexity but also for the high-speed synchronisation offered by the EtherCAT industry standard fieldbus. The real-time deterministic fieldbus system with low communication jitter is particularly suited to automation applications requiring short data update times. Commissioning and servo tuning is fast and straightforward with the graphical-based Kollmorgen Workbench®.

Heason Technology – a long-term relationship supplier

Heason Technology’s engineers work closely with its customers, providing motion control expertise as well as supporting and delivering a wide range of motion components in its role as a UK distribution partner for a select number of globally recognised motion control companies. In addition, the West Sussex-based motion systems integrator has a comprehensive in-house design and build capability that includes custom-built mechanics with servo, stepper and automation controls for the most demanding applications across industry and research.

For further information, please visit www.heason.com or email sales@heason.com or call +44 (0) 1403 792 300.