New suspension technology from BWI Group enables engineers to reduce vehicle weight

New suspension technology from BWI Group enables engineers to reduce vehicle weight

Krakow, Poland – A new technology that replaces conventional hard bump stops with hydraulic compression stops (HCS) integrated into the dampers is being developed by global braking and chassis systems specialist, BWI Group. The product reduces the peak force transmitted to the vehicle body at the limit of compression (the so-called ‘spike’ loads), which means the vehicle body can be lighter because the strength and stiffness requirements are lower for the same standard of refinement and durability.

The new system is not only more tuneable than traditional bump stops, leading to better vehicle dynamic performance, but improves NVH. The reduced load peaks, which are now better cushioned by HCS, allows chassis designers to make greater use of the available damper travel. It improves occupant comfort and chassis refinement while ensuring that a heavily laden vehicle, that is more likely to bottom its suspension, can do so without transmitting damaging loads into the body structure.

HCS is being developed in two different key areas, one to suit applications where high levels of damping are required and one for low levels. The development is being carried out at the company’s Technical Centre in Krakow, Poland.

“We are developing two HCS technologies in order to provide optimum solutions for all our customers because they each have specific priorities,” explained Roman Bielak, BWI Group’s Technology Development Manager. “Both approaches improve the comfort, refinement and durability of the vehicle but one offers greater potential for fine tuning while the other provides higher levels of damping.”

The high level damping HCS was created by re-optimising the company’s proven hydraulic rebound stop (HRS) technology for use in compression, and is achieved by the addition of a sealed hydraulic chamber with a by-pass to the damper’s existing compression valve. For applications requiring lower levels of damping, BWI Group uses a damper tube swaged to give two diameters. The larger diameter is the main damper valve, the smaller engages a second valve at the chosen threshold of travel, before the limiting stroke is reached.

“The benefits of HCS are particularly helpful in hybrid or electric vehicles which are derived from existing models,” said Bielak. “The technology copes well with the additional weight of a large battery pack and the lower cabin noise levels when driving in electric mode demand equally low levels of transmitted noise from the suspension.”

HCS is also applicable to many other vehicles too; both the high and low-damping technologies under development by BWI Group are aimed initially at medium-range premium passenger cars. Customers are already evaluating the low-damping HCS system, which has been confirmed for production in 2018.

“As vehicle manufacturers increase their demands for ride comfort, body control and load carrying capacity, it is increasingly important to provide controlled deceleration at both ends of the damper travel,” said Bielak. “The ability to control both compression and rebound travel hydraulically, with HCS and HRS, has enabled us to extend the performance range of passive dampers, providing more of the functionality associated with adaptive dampers but at lower cost and weight.”

BWI Group

BWI Group is the strong and well-funded company that acquired the business of Delphi Chassis Systems on November 1st2009. The product portfolio is split into two complementary groups: ride & handling technologies and braking technologies. In both areas, the offering ranges from high value items such as twin-tube dampers and brake system components, through to highly sophisticated active systems and the expertise required to integrate them with premium vehicle programmes. BWI Group’s engineering philosophy can be summarised as ‘innovation with design simplicity’: a strategy that is clearly demonstrated in world-class technologies such as electronically controlled braking and stability systems, the MagneRide controlled damping system and the award-winning MR Powertrain Mount.

The substantial product portfolio is supported by technical centres in North America, China, Japan, France and Poland and by applications support centres in Australia, Germany, India, Taiwan and the United Kingdom, complemented by hot weather and cold weather test centres in North America.

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