Time to market pressure increases the demand to test at the sub-system level, and axle development is one area where designs can be validated prior to having the prototype vehicle available. Complete axles, including sub frames, steering systems, drive shafts, stabilizers, brakes, and active components need to be tested as a system using road loads, strains, accelerations, and vehicle control signals to accurately simulate track conditions and validate service life. Electric vehicle development can add to the challenge by introducing drive motors into the axle design, and the need to simulate characteristics, such as drive and brake torques, reaction torques, motor mass, and control systems.
Instron® axles test systems for passenger cars and commercial vehicles allow development engineers to simulate road loads on a complete axle sub-system. The spindle coupled design allows the introduction of all six axes of force and displacement at each wheel. Further control axes can be integrated, such as steering input, engine mount simulation, and control of active components such as stabilizers. The axle is mounted into a support frame which reproduces the vehicle mounting points and then, using data from wheel force transducers and other sensors, it’s possible to run accelerated durability cycles and validate the service life of the axle assembly. A suite of analysis software is available for on-line monitoring and post-test analysis of the results. A high dynamic performance coupled with a low cost of ownership makes the Instron axle test system a valuable asset in the development process.