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Actuator and motion control for Team Bath tyre test rig

Actuator and motion control for Team Bath tyre test rig Helping to set the final touches for the Formula Student 2014 racing season, Team Bath Racing have been busy developing a much advanced tyre test rig which utilises a single axis linear actuator and precision servo drive supplied by LG Motion.

The team of 100 undergraduate engineers at the University of Bath have benefitted from improved analysis for the cornering grip produced by the various race tyres used on their single-seater racing car that competes in the worldwide Formula Student competition. After almost 18 months from initial design to the race track, the 2014 event culminates through the summer with events at Silverstone in the UK, Hockenheimring in Germany and at the Red Bull Ring in Austria where over 100 Universities from all over the world will compete for racing as well as design innovation, manufacturing, logistics and many other factors that thoroughly test the team's skills.

Replacing the old system, which required manually adjusting the tyre's steering angle relative to a rolling road dynamometer, the new rig is controlled via a PC to precisely locate the tyre and measure the resulting cornering force at several pre-programmed slip-angle positions using an array of sensors. This automatic method has dramatically increased the amount of data that can be extracted from the rig in a given test period and has reduced the experimental uncertainty caused by the manual process. The increased information will also guide the design team during development stages for the Formula Student 2015 car and will be used extensively for the winter tyre tests which precede the competition season that begins in February 2016.

The single axis ballscrew driven actuator includes a linear motion guide support bearing arrangement and the integrated servomotor with encoder feedback provides more than the level of accuracy required for the tyre steering mechanism. Programming and set-up is made easy with the supplied PC software.

The simple yet effective motion solution also provides an added benefit for engineering students who will develop their motorsports skills and engineering experience using motion control;  the single axis set-up uses similar motion programming and positioning mechanics as the multi-axis systems LG Motion has supplied into the motorsports industry that are used for applications such as wind-tunnel testing.
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