Moog FCS control system

A ride comfort testing station for Mercedes-Benz has been designed and built by Moog FCS, using its expertise in motion controls, high performance flight simulation and testing systems for automotive, aviation and aerospace.

Working with Daimler’s test laboratory engineers in Berlin, the challenge addressed by Moog FCS was to validate the predicted values of ride and handling characteristics produced by digital simulation. This testing approach forms part of Mercedes-Benz’ first foray into digital car prototyping.

The Moog FCS Suspension Test Rig employs FasTEST software, allowing the user to easily set-up, execute and analyze some of the most sophisticated tests through an easy-to-use user-interface, both for component and full vehicle testing. Developed by Moog FCS in cooperation with several automotive customers, and delivered with all Moog FCS test systems, FasTEST offers a full application suite for the automotive testing market, featuring a revolutionary iteration strategy and unique time saving features, as well as sophisticated fatigue analysis and vibration control software. It is a generic software package that enables the customer to perform complex control and simulation for automotive applications – in this case, it can run this machine either in acceleration or position control. The software is divided in a real time part (HexaTEST or SmarTEST ONE Controller) and a non real time part (FasTEST Manager).  FasTEST is an open architecture environment, allowing connection to any system via a network or dedicated connection to a single system, and this in turn permits the use of suspension test rigs having at least six degrees of freedom.

The test equipment also features Moog FCS’ unique closed loop force control, together with safety concepts to protect users and ensure the integrity of the structure under test conditions.  Three feedback control options are allowed on force, position and acceleration.

The machine’s revolutionary Hexapod technology is new to the Automotive Testing Industry, but has been Moog FCS’ core technology for over 20 years. It is clear this concept is the future for dynamic comfort evaluation and testing. Hexapods are essentially six-legged machining centres featuring a frame (usually six telescoping struts) which operates between fixed ground points. The most common application of hexapods has been in flight simulators, where the hexapod frame and a plate support the simulator cabin. The hexapod has six degrees of freedom, and is very dexterous like a robot, but also offers the rigidity of a machine tool and high levels of accuracy not normally found in conventional robotics.

The hexapod design provides stiffness well beyond the levels that its appearance would indicate. Under load, the struts on a hexapod act longitudinally and therefore exert either tension or compression on the strut. The structure need not be as massive, relative to conventional machine tools, because no axial forces are in play on this design.

 “We were delighted to provide Mercedes-Benz with a test solution that meets their technical requirements and supports their business objectives. Our proven experience in flight simulation and our ability to enable human beings to participate in the testing (e.g. called human-in-the loop in the testing industry) sets us apart from other system providers and was key in developing a test based on a drive and comfort shaker table. In this case, the human being would be able to accurately assess feelings of comfort and realism which is very difficult to do remotely,” declared Pim van den Dijssel, Manager Test Systems Market, Moog FCS.

With a proven track record throughout Europe, North America and Asia, Moog FCS has been developing and marketing advanced electro-mechanical and hydraulic control system solutions for over 25 years. Major customers include BMW, Boeing, DaimlerChrylsler, Lockheed Martin, Ford, Airbus, Indra, General Motors, BAE Systems, NLX, Continental, CSIST, Visteon, Johnson Controls and many others.

“Innovation drives our company and is the key to our worldwide success. We have a long tradition in this – because Mercedes-Benz stands for pioneering automotive innovation for more than 100 years. With an average number of seven patents each day, we secure our leading technological position. We also intend to set new trends in the future with innovations that our customers can experience in our products every day, one of them is to combine comfort and agility in a most ideal way,” said Rüdiger Faul, Senior Manager Analysis Driving Dynamics, Mercedes-Benz.

Moog FCS’ expertise as a turn-key full solution provider for test and simulation equipment in the automotive, aerospace and military industry has resulted in rapid growth in each of these markets. Moog FCS has installed over 1000 systems at more than 250 customers worldwide. Moog FCS has design, sales and field support offices throughout Europe, North America and Asia.

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