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BPW relies on intensive testing for caravan running gear

25.07.2013 | Pressemitteilungen

Arriving safe and sound: Running gear, overrun hitches and axles for caravans have to satisfy exacting requirements in order to function reliably and safely. The large surface areas of the front and side walls of a caravan are fully exposed to wind blast and side winds. This factor, combined with the often high centre of gravity, presents a special type of risk. Every new and ongoing development from BPW Fahrzeugtechnik GmbH & Co. KG is accompanied by extensive studies and driving tests, mostly conducted together with the caravan manufacturers. The objective is to achieve the best compromise between driving safety and comfort.

A compromise between driving safety and comfort

If the caravan has a high centre of gravity, this leads to increased rolling about the longitudinal axis during lane changing manoeuvres. BPW measures the exact wheel loads, calculates the differences between right and left and records the drawbar load. The best recipe for safety is a hard and firm running gear. Every racing driver swears by it. But it's no use in a caravan if you arrive to find your crockery smashed to pieces in the cupboards! As a result, BPW sets up its caravan running gear to strike an optimum compromise between driving safety and comfort. The axle manufacturer also uses tests on the test track here. The body acceleration forces are measured when driving. The level of rolling and suspension comfort is examined and brought into line. We mustn't forget the braking system in a caravan running gear. Nowadays, BPW is achieving deceleration values far in excess of statutory regulations.

From the computer directly to the BPW test laboratory

The development of new axles and running gear at BPW has always gone hand-in-hand with tests and material studies. It starts with a mathematical simulation on the computer. The Finite Element Method (FEM) is used to ascertain the stiffness and strength of all components and to define their dimensions. These theoretical results are then tested on real prototypes. A hydropulser and a driving test help to put the finishing touches on modules and individual elements. Complete vehicles can also be tested on the hydraulic modular test rig. The time, effort and precision that BPW puts into developing running gear are fully in accordance with the normal high standard of the automotive industry.

BPW equips running gear for caravans with semi-trailing-arm axles and either rubber suspension "Swing" or torsion bar suspension "RONDO". The technical high quality offered by independent wheel suspension is currently the state-of-the-art. The engineers at the Paderborn Plant are currently working to achieve further weight reductions, for example by defining the dimensions of the components even more precisely so as to boost the payload by having even lighter chassis.

AL-KO Technology Paderborn GmbH | Pater-Ewald-Str. 29 | 33104 Paderborn