Design of Suspension Systems and Control Algorithms for Heavy Duty Vehicles

Grott, Matteo (2010) Design of Suspension Systems and Control Algorithms for Heavy Duty Vehicles. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

PDF - Doctoral Thesis


This work is focused on the development of controllable suspension systems for heavy-duty vehicles, in particular for agricultural tractors. In this field the research activity is not complete, as confirmed by the lack of scientific literature and for the few examples of commercial application for this kind of vehicles present in the market. For off-highway vehicles the load conditions can vary considerably and have an effect on the dynamic behaviour of the vehicle. Moreover, in many cases (such as tractors in agriculture), only the front axle is provided with a suspension. Typical applications of suspensions in off-highway industry include the cabin suspension (known as secondary suspension system) and the front axle suspension (known as primary suspension system). Up to now, the performance improvements have been reached through new solutions developed for the secondary systems, while the primary systems are generally implemented with passive systems, due to economical motivations and their limited energy demand. Obviously, such technical solutions partially satisfy the system requirements. Moreover, during the past few years there has been an increasing demand in power capabilities, loads and driving speeds of heavy duty vehicles. Therefore, off-highway vehicle manufacturers have shown their interest in employing controllable suspension, assumed as a potential way to reach the desired dynamic performances. The main targets of this activity is the study of the dynamical behaviour of agricultural tractors and the design of a cost-effective controllable suspension, capable to adapt the tractor dynamical behaviour, under different operating conditions. This work is part of a collaboration between Dana Corp. and the University of Trento. The main objective consists in the acquisition of competence in relation to the dynamic control of the vehicle. In particular the development of mechatronic systems according to the Model Based Design approach and the rapid prototyping of control algorithms. On this purpose, a simulation and experimental system was developed, for the testing of suspension systems and control algorithms for primary suspension systems. The first part of the thesis investigates the state of the art of the scientific literature of suspension systems for heavy duty vehicles, referring to different technologies and control solutions. In particular, attention was focused on the analysis and experimental characterization of commercial applications for this kind of vehicles present in the market. In the second part of the thesis the design development of a hydro-pneumatic suspension system is presented. The design of the control algorithms is based on the development of different multibody models of the actual tractor, including the pitch motion of the sprung mass, the load transfer effects during braking and forward-reverse maneuvers and the non-linear dynamics of the system. For an advanced analysis, a novel thermo-hydraulic model of the hydraulic system has been implemented. Several damping controls are analyzed for the specific case study. Therefore, the most promising damping strategy is integrated with other control functions, namely a self-leveling control, an original control algorithm for the reduction of the pitch motion, an anti-impact system for the hydraulic actuator and an on-line adaptation scheme, which preserves an optimal damping ratio of the suspension, even against large variations in operating conditions. According to the system requirements, the control is firstly integrated with other functionalities, such as the calibration of the suspension set-points and the procedures for the lock of the suspension. Finally, in accordance to the industrial product development, the control scheme is redefined in a Finite State Machine, useful for the subsequent generation of the ECU (Electronic Control Unit) Embedded Code. The final section of this work presents the development of an industrial prototype of suspension system, composed of a hydraulic suspension unit and a controller (hardware and software units). The prototype is tested by using a suspension bench test and Rapid Prototyping Tools for testing real-time control systems. Conclusions and final remarks and are reported in the last section.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Engineering of Civil and Mechanical Structural Systems
PhD Cycle:XXII
Subjects:Area 09 - Ingegneria industriale e dell'informazione > ING-IND/12 MISURE MECCANICHE E TERMICHE
Area 09 - Ingegneria industriale e dell'informazione > ING-IND/13 MECCANICA APPLICATA ALLE MACCHINE
Area 09 - Ingegneria industriale e dell'informazione > ING-IND/08 MACCHINE A FLUIDO
Area 09 - Ingegneria industriale e dell'informazione > ING-INF/04 AUTOMATICA
Repository Staff approval on:04 May 2010 16:52

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