Bilstein, the automotive shock absorber and suspension specialist, has opened a new facility In Meuspath, adjacent to the Nürburgring, to better serve automotive OEMs and racing teams. Many OEMs operate their own test centres in the vicinity, while numerous international racing teams also have their headquarters there, to take advantage of the unique test facility.
The facility brings in new possibilities for suspension analysis and development at Bilstein, in addition to the easy access to the track. A key feature of the facility is a seven-post vertical dynamics test rig, which can be used for suspension analysis and development. The rig can be used to analyse the body behaviour of a wide range of vehicles, from road vehicles and prototypes, to racing cars.
The rig’s four hydraulic posts simulate road excitations in the vertical direction. Acceleration sensors and spring travel transducers on each wheel and on the suspension then measure the vehicle and wheel movements resulting from the excitations of the hydraulic posts. In this way, an optimal spring-damper design can be determined.
The three additional hydraulic posts make it possible to take a closer look at the complex driving dynamics – and can even reproduce the influences of aerodynamics on the suspension, by simulating not only downforce but also the pitch and roll movements of the body.
The rig can also be used to simulate the road conditions and layouts of proving grounds or racetracks, allowing OEMs and racing teams to test different setups and characteristics in a short time – useful for reducing logistics costs, and for teams with busy racing calendars. The rig enables users to gain a precise understanding of the suspension under test and to examine and optimise the handling using specific parameters, as well as to develop the optimum settings jointly with Bilstein engineers.