Adjustable damping trickles down to B and C segments

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Chassis technology supplier, BWI Group has developed a switchable two-position suspension system, which it says can enable OEMs to offer the ride performance quality associated with premium adaptive suspension systems, but at a lower price point. Depending on the application, the system, named DualRide, is switchable between ‘normal’ and a ‘sport’ or a ‘loaded/trailering’ mode, for example, offering personalized ride performance.

A simple electro-magnetic control mechanism selects between one or both pistons in-series to create the two different damping modes. For OEMs, the tunability of the passive twin-tube damper valving is maintained in the ‘normal’ mode, and a second valving system is used to provide the ‘sport’ or ‘loaded/trailering’ mode.

“Driver-selectable ride controls shouldn’t be expensive,” stated Marla Hughes, BWI Group’s suspension product team manager. “DualRide provides a very comfortable normal mode while also offering a very different and higher secondary damping mode for increased road feel and control. A standard suspension system is usually outfitted with passive dampers, and those passive dampers – often with struts in the front and shock absorbers in the rear – offer a single damping performance characteristic. In many situations, that’s sufficient, but there are other situations where one damping level just isn’t enough.”

DualRide has initially been configured for twin-tube dampers of 32mm and 36mm in diameter. Future developments will include monotube applications and an ‘automatic’ feature that will select seamlessly between ‘comfort’ and ‘sport’ or ‘loaded/trailering’ modes. The system will then respond to driving style and chassis inputs, ensuring that damping is optimally selected.

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Adam divides his time as an editor between the worlds of aviation and motoring. These worlds may seem a little diverse today, but autonomous technology and future urban mobility is bringing them ever-closer. Adam is also chairman of the Vehicle Dynamics International Awards.

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