Moog has delivered a high-performance test system for Piedrafita Systems that the company now uses to design vehicle suspensions.
Piedrafita is using the new test rig, installed in July 2023, for the SRB Project, which aims to develop a revolutionary hydro pneumatic rotary suspension for armored vehicles.
The catalyst for the new test system was Piedrafita’s desire for technology that could deliver forces up to 500kN at a speed of 8m/s, and up to 200Hz. Piedrafita called Moog, a maker of high-performance motion control systems, with whom it had collaborated in 2012 to design a fatigue test bench for developing a shock absorber. The fatigue test bench Moog designed in 2012 delivered up to 80kN at 4.4m/s velocity.
“Piedrafita asked if this new system was feasible,” said Juan Carlos Molinero, project manager and engineering leader for Simulation & Test at Moog. “After our study and performance tests, we again collaborated with Piedrafita to develop a concept that could test an armored vehicle’s suspension.”
“Working with Piedrafita, our engineers designed the new test bench with a high-performance controller and customized actuators reproducing vibration up to 100g,” added Ian Whiting, chief engineer for Moog. “It’s an example of how we innovate with our customers to design and manufacture the most advanced motion control systems for incredibly demanding applications.”
The newly developed test bench simulates the passage of an armored vehicle’s tracks over undulating terrain. This level of vibration is essential for evaluating the resistance and performance of shock absorbers as well as suspension systems in combat.
“Our new test system is capable of carrying out tests for 70-ton tracked vehicles, with a weight of around 5.5 tons per wheel,” said Vanesa Recio, head of Communication and Marketing for Piedrafita. “Our engineers can test wheel stations under very demanding profiles for main battle tanks such as the Abrams, Challenger, Leclerc, and Leopard.”
The test system includes a Moog Test Controller, two hydraulic actuators with Moog Digital Servo Valves, an HPU with Moog Digital Pumps and a power cabinet, and an accumulator bench with the required piping. As part of the design and installation, Piedrafita asked Moog to select and size the new test system’s respective components. Along with its commissioning, Moog trained Piedrafita to operate the system.
“The high-performance test bench minimizes costs and enables tests in a controlled manner rather than driving over a proving ground, thereby protecting a crew who would otherwise have to be on board a vehicle,” Recio added. “Manufacturers such as General Dynamics and KNDS can also test their vehicles’ suspension on our new test system.”