Foundrax develops suspension component hardness tester

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Foundrax, a specialist in Brinell hardness testing, has announced that it has shipped a second bespoke system for the inspection of automotive suspension components to a full-service supplier of aluminium and plastic automotive vehicle parts, based in Mexico. The unnamed supplier manufactures automotive parts including aluminium powertrain, structural and transmission components, which are distributed to automotive manufacturers across the world. Last year, the company commissioned Foundrax to address a complex requirement to test a range of suspension parts it was producing for a “prestigious German car manufacturer”.

According to Foundrax, the main challenge of the commission was that the hardness test location as specified by the car manufacturer was in an extremely tight space, hemmed in on three sides by vertical sections, with almost no spare area to test within. As many of the parts are hollow, there is no other position which would be strong enough to allow for a reliable test.

Foundrax believes it solved the challenge by developing a customised BRIN400B; a shop floor Brinell hardness tester with customised automatic Brinell microscope to carry out fully automatic indentation and hardness measurement without operator influence on the test or the results. This machine was designed with custom features in the form of an extended indenter in order to access the restricted space, and an external BRINtronic microscope with a special narrow nose to enable the customer to measure their indentations. This design meant the customer could test exactly where the automotive manufacturer required, rather than having to ask for a dispensation to test elsewhere. 

Details are vague, but Foundrax added that the part design specification affects the performance of the vehicle’s suspension: if the material is too hard, the part cracks, too soft and the material bends; so, in either scenario, this is a safety-critical test of the component material.

The machines are now being used in two areas of the Mexican site as an integral part of the production process for quality testing prior to shipping.

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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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