Ridewell Corporation, Springfield MO, has installed a state-of-the-art, four-axis test rig that was two years in the making. With market demands for optimum strength versus weight ratios, integration of working components, and speed in validating engineering efforts, Ridewell found that the investment in the proprietary fatigue test rig, dubbed Big Blue, would benefit the buyers and aftermarket users of the suspensions they engineer and build.
The Big Blue test equipment doesn't eliminate field testing, but enables Ridewell to put a suspension on the road with confidence that the product will meet durability and performance requirements. The computer-controlled system consists of four servo-hydraulic actuators capable of measuring and controlling force and displacement. This new equipment compresses test time by accelerating fatigue loading, increases accuracy of measured and controlled variables, and provides continuous or intermittent data acquisition of desired test measurements.
The brains of the system are a Windows-based PC, a dedicated controller, and software capable of acquiring data and programming both block cycle and road load tests. Braking force, lateral loads, curb loads, and vibration are applied by overloading the suspension, thus accelerating the test. In this manner, most suspensions are tested to failure.
By utilizing the Big Blue four-axis test rig, Ridewell will continue to apply weight savings and new materials to enhance product life and performance based on results. For more information contact Jason Dillard, R & D Engineer, Ridewell Corporation, PO Box 4586, Springfield MO 65808.