Moog Inc.
Test rig for vehicle suspension systems with digital hydraulic motion control components

Moog Motion Control Technology Aids Creation of High-Performance Test Rig

Nov. 27, 2023
Use of digital hydraulic solutions enabled a test system to achieve the high forces and speeds necessary for the development of suspensions for extreme applications.

Testing heavy-duty vehicles can be a difficult job, requiring reliable and high-performance components. When looking for a test rig capable of handling the testing needs of suspensions for armored vehicles, Piedrafita Systems – a Spain-based developer of mobility solutions – turned to Moog Inc.

The company was looking for technology which could deliver forces up to 500 kN at a speed of 8 m/s, and up to 200 Hz to assist in the development of vehicle suspension systems. Having previously worked with Moog on the design of a fatigue test bench providing 80 kN at 4.4 m/s velocity, used for development of a shock absorber, Piedrafita felt confident Moog could aid with the design of its newest test bench.

“Piedrafita asked if this new system was feasible,” said Juan Carlos Molinero, project manager and engineering leader for Simulation & Test at Moog in the company’s press release announcing the partnership. “After our study and performance tests, we again collaborated with Piedrafita to develop a concept that could test an armored vehicle’s suspension.”

Close collaboration between the companies led to Moog delivering a high-performance test system to Piedrafita which met its high force and speed requirements. The new test rig was installed in July and is being used for several projects including development of a hydropneumatic rotary suspension for armored vehicles as part of the company’s SRB Project, funded by a grant from the EDIDP (European Defence Industrial Development Programme).

Custom Motion Control Components Benefit Real-World Testing

The test rig is designed to simulate the passage of an armored vehicle’s tracks over undulating terrain, creating a level of vibration similar to what would be experienced in the field. Enabling this capability through the use of various Moog motion control technologies allows Piedrafita to evaluate the resistance and performance of its shock absorbers and suspensions, ensuring the vehicle will perform as desired in combat scenarios.

“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.”

Moog technologies on the test rig include:

  • a test controller
  • two hydraulic actuators with digital servo valves
  • hydraulic power unit (HPU) with digital pumps and power cabinet
  • an accumulator bench with the required piping.

“Working with Piedrafita, our engineers designed the new test bench with a high-performance controller and customized actuators reproducing vibration up to 100 g,” noted Ian Whiting, chief engineer for Moog.

The combination of force, velocity and acceleration help make the new test rig unique to the market Moog told Power & Motion. To provide context of its capabilities, the company said the system combines the heavy-duty loading typically found in a high-capacity hydraulic press with the speed and fidelity of a motorsport 4/8-poster rig.

An aspect which aids the high-performance capabilities of the test system is the hydraulic actuators’ digital servo valves. Moog said they are custom turbocharged versions of Moog’s standard offering which enables them to achieve the 500kN, 8m/s, 200Hz, and 100g operating envelope required by Piedrafita.

As part of the design and installation process, Moog was tasked with selecting and sizing the various components for the new test rig. The company also provided training on the operation of the system to Piedrafita’s staff.  

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Recio said the new test bench helps to reduce the time and costs associated with testing by minimizing the amount of physical testing required. OEMs can also utilize the test bench, enabling Piedrafita to provide customers with additional services which help get their vehicles in the field faster.

“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,” he said. “Manufacturers such as General Dynamics and KNDS can also test their vehicles’ suspension on our new test system.”

About the Author

Sara Jensen | Technical Editor, Power & Motion

Sara Jensen is technical editor of Power & Motion, directing expanded coverage into the modern fluid power space, as well as mechatronic and smart technologies. She has over 15 years of publishing experience. Prior to Power & Motion she spent 11 years with a trade publication for engineers of heavy-duty equipment, the last 3 of which were as the editor and brand lead. Over the course of her time in the B2B industry, Sara has gained an extensive knowledge of various heavy-duty equipment industries — including construction, agriculture, mining and on-road trucks —along with the systems and market trends which impact them such as fluid power and electronic motion control technologies. 

You can follow Sara and Power & Motion via the following social media handles:

X (formerly Twitter): @TechnlgyEditor and @PowerMotionTech

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