Playing a role in wind tunnels

With most of its wind tunnel test rigs exported, Aerotech ATE works closely with international suppliers of wind tunnels to provide a global operation.

All products are custom designed and rigs are mounted either above or below the wind tunnel with systems to support models in the tunnel. Rigs measure six aerodynamic loads which, in racing car models for example, translate into drag, downforce and pitch.

This means six systems, one to measure each component, plus two systems to compensate for model weight. Each system is designed for low maintenance and high reliability. Rigs are insulated and air conditioned to minimise thermal effects on the mechanics.

The drive systems throughout these rigs use Huco Engineering rod ends, universal joints and couplings. Load is measured with strain gauge load cells or weigh beams where a lead screw and travelling mass are driven by an electric motor through Huco couplers.

The system acts as a precision pivot beam with a link at one end to take the load. As the load is applied, the motor rotates the screw to move the jockey weight to correct the balance of the system. An optical encoder on the far end of the screw converts rotation into digital signals so movement of the mass can be converted into a load measurement.

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