Issue: Dec 2009


LORD Corporation Awarded Contract for Evaluation of MR Suspension System on HMMWV



by Rob White

LORD Corporation - a leader in the management of vibration, motion and noise - has received a contract from the U.S. Army Materiel Command for the test and evaluation of their proprietary Magneto-Rheological (MR) semi-active suspension systems for the HMMWV.

The scope of work includes the integration, testing and evaluation of LORD Corporation's MR active damping technology for a suspension system on a M1152 HMMWV. This system will incorporate LORD Corporation's latest refinements with respect to the magneto-rheological controllable damping system. The objective is to determine the impact of a matured LORD MR Semi-Active Suspension System (MR Suspension) on the HMMWV with respect to performance, cost, space-claim, weight and feasibility of retrofit to the family of legacy HMMWV vehicles.

On- and off-road as well as durability testing will be conducted by a third-party and will include the evaluation of half-round, various profiled Root Means Square (RMS) courses, and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) lane change maneuvers. Following the performance tests, LORD will provide maintenance support during the vehicle testing of the MR suspension system hardware, which will be subjected to endurance tests of the MR suspension system per the vehicle mission profile and as defined in the vehicle specification.

LORD Corporation's MR suspension systems have already been demonstrated as original and retrofit equipment for various military and commercial utility vehicles. Current projects include work with the U.S. government and vehicle OEMs on several vehicle platforms including the FMTV and MRAP. According to Steve Hildebrand, LORD Engineering Manager for MR suspension systems, LORD MR suspension systems are well-suited for a wide range of military applications, from lightweight tactical vehicles to line-haul tractors and heavy MRAP vehicles.

"These systems have already been demonstrated on a wide variety of military vehicles and the results are positive. Vehicles outfitted with our system experience less wear and tear, leading to longer vehicle life without reducing fuel efficiency. Our product enables greater stability and vehicle body control, allowing increased safety for the driver and occupants, and significantly improved ride quality," said Hildebrand.

Unlike traditional passive suspensions with fixed characteristics, LORD Corporation's controllable MR suspension systems react nearly instantaneously to both changes in terrain and vehicle dynamic maneuvers, allowing the suspension to adapt its characteristics to the situation. This provides improved dynamic stability over passively damped systems, providing significant benefits. The system includes a controller, dampers, sensors, and software that can be tuned to optimize the vehicle's performance.

In response to market interest for their MR suspension system, LORD recently completed the expansion of a 1,000-square-foot production cell within their Cambridge Springs, Pa. plant. The cell is believed to be the first of its kind related to heavy-duty MR dampers for military and heavy trucks in the world.

Proven Technology

LORD Corporation's MR technology has been thoroughly proven through the licensing and broad intellectual property portfolio used in developing Delphi's MagneRide(TM) suspension system. First introduced on the 2002 Corvette, more than 500,000 devices appear in more than a dozen models from a wide range of manufacturers including Audi, Acura, Ferrari, GM, Holden and Honda. The rapid acceptance of the technology by a wide range of manufacturers, from high-performance sports cars to SUVs, demonstrates the confidence the automotive industry has in the performance, reliability and durability of LORD MR technology.

In recent lab tests conducted by LORD, MR suspension systems for HMMWV and other military vehicles surpassed 4-million cycles of durability testing. In some cases, the LORD MR damper exceeded 5-million cycles, greatly exceeding the requirement with no degradation of the MR fluid.

In a related effort, LORD has completed qualification testing of the MR damper system controller. The controller is designed to accommodate any vehicle, wheeled or tracked, 4x4 up to 8x8 wheel-ends with one standardized box. The controller is ruggedized to meet harsh environmental conditions including MIL-STD-1275 for power quality, MIL-STD-461 for EMC/EMI and MIL-STD-810 for environmental factors for both military and demanding commercial applications. Further, it is capable of a 40-inch fording submersion (box depth), the connectors are MIL-DTL-38999 compatible and the system is J1939 data bus compliant.

In the last several years, LORD has been designing and testing production-intent MR suspension hardware built for the needs of military and heavy commercial vehicles. According to Jesse DePriest, LORD Sales and Marketing Manager, support from the Michigan and North Carolina Congressional Delegations as well as the U.S. Army's Tank and Automotive Command (TACOM) and the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) organizations has been critical in transitioning this commercial dual-use, strategic technology to address the military's ground vehicle mobility needs.

About LORD Corporation

LORD MR technology is based on commercial proprietary and patented fluid, damper, mount, brake and clutch designs and sophisticated computer control algorithms. When exposed to a magnetic field, MR materials change state nearly instantaneously and with complete reversibility. As a result, MR technology provides fast and infinitely variable control of energy dissipation for industrial and automotive devices. As the only provider of commercial MR fluids with more than 110 MR fluid, device, and controller algorithm patents worldwide, LORD is the largest manufacturer of MR devices and systems. For information about LORD MR applications, visit www.lord.com/mr.

With headquarters in Cary, N.C., USA, and sales in excess of $700-MM, LORD Corporation is a privately-held company that designs, manufactures and markets devices and systems to manage mechanical motion and control noise and vibration; formulates, produces and sells general purpose and specialty adhesives and coatings; and develops products and systems utilizing magnetically responsive technologies. With manufacturing in nine countries and offices in more than 15 major business centers, LORD Corporation employs more than 2,500 worldwide. Visit www.lord.com for more information.

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