DRI opens new K&C test facility

We are proud to announce the opening of a new kinematics and compliance (K&C) test facility at our California proving ground. At the center of the operation is the SPMM test machine from our sister company, AB Dynamics.

The K&C facility has been purpose-built for the testing and development of vehicles and will be used by OEMs, suppliers and motorsport teams to accurately measure and evaluate vehicle suspension systems. It is the only independent site in North America to provide the full suite of K&C tests as well as Center of Gravity (CG) and Moment of Inertia (MoI) measurements.

“Using the AB Dynamics SPMM as a basis, we plan to expand our capabilities to become a virtual one-stop-shop for vehicle dynamics measurement and testing,” said Joe Kelly, Chief Engineer. “Coupled with our existing vehicle dynamics area and full-scale test capabilities and instrumentation, the SPMM will enable us to serve our clients with unmatched flexibility and depth of experience across a wide range of vehicle dynamics related topics. Emerging vehicle manufacturers can now have access to the kinds of equipment that were only previously the domain of legacy manufacturers.”

We offers a full suite of K&C services, including industry standard tests such as bounce, bounce-pitch, roll, longitudinal compliance, lateral compliance, aligning torque and steering. The company will also develop bespoke tests to meet customers’ specific research and development requirements.

The SPMM utilizes a novel moving center table design that manipulates a vehicle's body to generate the necessary movement and force to the suspension. This design means the ground plane (road) remains fixed when simulating vehicle cornering and braking to more accurately replicate on-road vehicle behavior.

The benefit of this architecture is the measurement equipment connected to the vehicle’s wheels remains relatively static. Compared to traditional K&C systems, the travel being measured is an order of magnitude less and the loads being received to the cells are direct, resulting in a highly accurate measurement solution.

The table is precisely controlled in six degrees of freedom by precision electromechanical actuators, which enable a combination of roll, pitch, bounce and yaw motion to be applied to the vehicle body. As a closed-loop system, it requires no iteration to reach the desired drive commands, which significantly reduces testing time.

The SPMM is the only test machine to lift, roll and tilt the vehicle enabling the full MoI and CG properties of the vehicle to be derived. Alongside the standard suite of K&C tests, this provides all of the chassis-based data required to create highly accurate digital vehicle models. The measurement data can be directly exported into CarSim, CarMaker and MathWorks.

Further developments are planned including the addition of a highly accurate 3D Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM). It calculates the exact coordinates of the pivot points as well as the locations of key components, such as inboard bushings and damper mountings. This data is important to assess manufacturing tolerances on pre-production vehicles.

The facility will also offer high-resolution video synchronized with the test program. This will make it quick and easy to playback and review any anomalies in the data to better understand their source.