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Ford of Europe has completed tests on the 2000th vehicle to be assessed on the Suspension Parameter Measurement Machine (SPMM) at the company’s Lommel proving ground in Belgium.

Designed and installed by Anthony Best Dynamics (ABD), the SPMM is a moving body, fixed ground plane K and C test machine that faithfully simulates the motions of the vehicle on the road in terms of bounce, roll and pitch.

The SPMM is used to provide parameter values and characteristics essential to understanding a vehicle’s performance in terms of steering, handling and ride.

Fully automated and computer controlled, the SPMM is capable of completing a full suite of suspension and steering measurements in hours.

With an electro-mechanical design that offers a safe, clean and quiet working environment, SPMM machines have been installed at the R and D sites of vehicle and tyre manufacturers across the world, including the USA, Europe, Japan, Korea and China.

The Vehicle Dynamics team at Ford of Europe has upgraded the UMAC control system on the company’s SPMM.

The SPMM at Lommel measures the quasi-static suspension characteristics that are important to ride and handling in a range of vehicles.

Using the four wheel stations on the SPMM at Lommel, Ford can measure both axles of a vehicle simultaneously, subjecting the vehicle under test to a variety of forces and displacements.

These inputs are applied slowly, so as not to generate significant damping or inertial forces, and allow the kinematic characteristics due to the suspension and steering system geometries, and compliances due to the suspension springs, anti-roll bars, elastomeric bushes and component deformations to be measured.

The SPMM records the wheel displacements and the forces and moments occurring at the tyre to road interface, caused by bounce, roll and pitch of the vehicle body and also by the application of simulated cornering, braking and traction forces.

Parameters such as suspension rates and hysteresis, bump-steer, roll-steer, roll stiffness distribution, longitudinal and lateral compliance steer and steering system characteristics may be evaluated.

Anthony Best Dynamics

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