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Miniature servo actuators bring high power density to Formula 1

Miniature servo actuators bring high power density to Formula 1

Moog is helping its global Formula 1 (F1) customers to help them meet the challenges of 2014 Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) rules changes. Formula 1 cars are the highest class of single-seat auto racing that is sanctioned by FIA and are the most technologically advanced racing cars in the world. These new technical regulations encourage F1 auto designers to focus on new technologies, that are more relevant to road cars, and in particular techniques of improving fuel efficiency. Moog is able to help teams meet these challenges through their range of sub-miniature hydraulic F1 products and systems for actuation, supporting completely new systems on this season's cars such as brake pressure limiting and turbocharger waste-gate control.

The key advantage of hydraulics in motorsport applications is the high 'power density' of the technology. This is illustrated by the ability of very small and light actuation devices to deliver extremely high power levels. Integral to Moog's range of products is an ultra-light weight Moog E024 Servo Valve, weighing just 92g. This servo valve is crucial in the conversion of signals from the car's Electronic Control Unit (ECU) into hydraulic flow providing the motive force of the actuators, and can control up to 2.8kW of hydraulic power from an electrical signal of just 10mA. During the 2014 season, a typical F1 racing car will contain up to eight variants of this product, as well as servo hydraulic actuators, pressure limiting valves and power assisted steering valves.

Martin Jones, Moog's business development manager for motorsport, says: "Moog has been at the forefront of sub miniature actuation in motorsport since 1982, initially supplying active ride height equipment to Team Lotus for use on their Lotus 92 Formula 1 car. Over the intervening years, Moog has developed a range of products and systems for actuation in many types of motorsport including Formula 1, World Rally Championship (WRC), Moto GP, Touring Cars, and Le Mans prototypes, often drawing upon technology originally developed for use on airplanes."

The challenges of these different motorsport disciplines are not always the same. Whereas Formula 1 looks for low weight, small size and performance, rallying looks for rugged-ness and the ability to perform in fairly brutal conditions such as extreme temperatures, adverse weather and demanding time constraints. Alongside the E024 servo valve, Moog has also had considerable success with its E085 actuators in motorsport applications such as throttle barrels, inlet trumpets, turbocharger waste-gate, turbocharger inlet guide vane, clutch and gear shift. Many of these designs incorporate a robust integral eddy-current position sensor along the external conditioning electronics, chosen because of its ability to withstand high temperatures and vibration levels.

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