Poling Group News   |   Volume 4  |   Issue 1

It has been said that today’s vehicle suspension system represents automotive engineering at its best.
Tires and wheels have played an increasingly important role in the evolution of the suspension system, to the point they are typically engineered as an integral part of the vehicle’s design.
Delivering a Quality Ride
Both tire and wheel manufacturers are familiar with the exacting specifications of their original equipment customers and continually strive to deliver quality products that meet and exceed them.
And yet, car makers have discovered that while they mount and inflate a quality tire on a quality rim, it may not be enough to ensure the satisfaction of consumers who are no longer content to “kick the tires” in a car lot.
Modern consumers expect a smooth ride, and a less than ideal test drive not only increases anxiety related to the purchase, but may preclude it altogether.
Tire/Wheel Uniformity Testing
To meet consumer expectations, modern car manufacturers are turning to uniformity testing for tire/wheel assemblies. This testing typically occurs in the automotive factory or tire/wheel assembly facility prior to balance testing and weight application.
Tire/wheel uniformity testing seeks to ensure that force variations introduced in the assembly process are within an acceptable limit. Excess force variation degrades vehicle rideability by introducing:
• Excessive, “cyclical” tire noise.
• Vibration in the steering wheel.
• Lack of stability in the vehicle’s suspension system.
Radial Force Variation
A key uniformity test measurement of current concern for car makers is radial force variation.

The tire/wheel assembly applies radial force perpendicular to the road. Excess radial force variation is transmitted into into the vehicle suspension system, where it can cause ride disturbances that actually increase with vehicle speed.

Poling Group’s TWA-18

In the testing environment, Poling Group’s newly improved TWA-18 machine simulates a “perfect” road with a loadwheel so it can measure “real world” tire/wheel assembly force variation with load cells – the same, reliable technology historically used to test tires in the laboratory and on the production floor.
TWA-18 Improvements
Akron Special Machinery, a Poling Group company, recently achieved its goal for modernizing the TWA-18 machine with robust improvements that include:
• Use of precision linear bearings provide smoother, more accurate loading.
• Addition of servo drives that improve machine control & product positioning.
• Highly repeatable and more reliable data acquisition.
ASM listened closely to car makers who asked for a machine to help them keep pace with assembly lines.

Fast, as well as accurate, the self- contained TWA-18 provides automatic centering for tires received from a plant handling system. Product marking is optionally available.

To provide mixed mode operation, the machine controller is designed to accept product identification data the plant typically provides via a vision system or TPMS reader.

It also features storage and reporting for up to 10,000 tests that QA can upload in spreadsheet form for additional analysis of pass/fail, measurement, and load statistics, as well as product traceability management.

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