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Working with its customer, Sun Test Systems, Matrix has developed a bearing-less, rotating cylinder clutch for use on the company’s multi-axis rolling road for testing trucks and buses.

The clutch design allows repeated safe loading and unloading of today’s heavier, more powerful vehicles onto the rig that projects a cinema-style display for the operator, recreating more realistic and higher-speed driving patterns.

Sun Test Systems, based in the Netherlands is a European developer of advanced multi-axis test systems for trucks and buses.

The company’s products allow manufacturers to conduct what are essentially ‘indoor test drives’ under perfectly reproducible and controllable conditions.

This facility enables manufacturers to be 100 per cent sure that their vehicles comply with all quality and safety requirements in a risk-free environment.

One of Sun Test Systems’ recent projects involved the supply of an advanced rolling road for a major truck manufacturer.

The application was demanding due to the high-torque, high-speed operation of the rolling road; factors that dictated the use of a special clutch – one flexible enough to handle many different vehicles and test sequences.

The function of the clutch is to engage and disengage a roller drive to allow vehicles to drive on and off the rolling road.

In addition, by enabling the rollers to be held fast while different vehicles are loaded and unloaded, the clutch also takes the load burden off the test equipment.

Previous designs used a pressure applied tooth clutch that relied on a large central bearing that proved difficult to update in order to handle torque up to 5,000Nm at higher running speeds up to 2,650rpm.

A collaborative design initiative was undertaken to overcome the bearing problem and resulted in the customer suggesting a non-bearing version; a challenge that was taken up by Matrix.

The problem was passed to Matrix’s team of design and production engineers at the company’s technical centre in Brechin, Scotland.

Each of the products in the Matrix OEM range has the facility to be configured to meet specific requirements of a particular application.

This application experience was put to use to design and manufacture a rotating cylinder, spring-applied clutch.

The clutch was subsequently supplied via a Matrix agent in the Netherlands, Renold Continental, and integrated into the rolling road, meeting all the demands placed upon it for high-torque, high-speed and longer operating life.

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