Power windows were once a tony option on cars; now they’re standard equipment. The same shift may be on the verge of taking place with suspension systems. At the recent Vehicle Dynamics Expo, held in Novi, MI, Wabco introduced a new line of high- and medium-power compressors for electronically controlled air suspension systems, specifically designed for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.
These systems, which originally appeared in BMW’s high-end 7 series cars, adjust constant vehicle ride height, even when the vehicle is fully loaded. This increases vehicle safety and enhances passenger comfort, the company said in a statement. The first generation of these compressors appeared in the rear axle air suspension in the new BMW 7 series. The newly announced compressor series is designed to improve suspension performance, while at the same time making air suspension systems potentially more affordable for end-users. “From 2000 to 2008, the global demand for air suspension systems for passenger cars has nearly tripled and we expect continued growth in this market,” said Daniel Samson, Wabco vice president car systems and products, said in the statement. “In addition, original equipment manufacturers seek to increase fuel efficiency further by introducing the air suspension function, which improves vehicle aerodynamics by appropriately lowering the vehicle body at high speeds.”
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For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.