TCP/IP-compatible servo drives from Baldor have simplified the construction of an innovative automotive component tester.
Developed by Dynamic Testing & Equipment (DTE), the new machine fully automates the accelerated life testing of the flexible boot seals used to protect ball joints in steering assemblies in automobiles. The use of programmable AC servos – instead of conventional hydraulic actuators – provides an unprecedented level of control flexibility, enabling test parameters such as joint articulation angles to be varied on the fly.
Capable of testing up to six boot seals simultaneously, testing regimes can include continuous articulation of the ball joints, hot and cold brine sprays, elevated humidity levels and air temperature cycling from -25 to +80 degrees Celsius.
DTE’s boot seal testing machine employs two motorized movement axes – one vertical and one horizontal – each driven by a Baldor MotiFlex e100 3-phase servo drive and servomotor fitted with a multi-turn absolute encoder. The precise feedback signals enable both axes to be programmed to absolute zero, facilitating optimal positioning of the machine’s tooling for parts loading and unloading, and ensuring ease of start-up.
The servo drives are connected via industry-standard Ethernet to the test machine’s host computer, which runs National Instruments’ LabVIEW software, and are controlled via TCP/IP using the built-in ActiveX commands in Baldor’s Mint programming language.
Designed primarily for automotive component manufacturers, DTE’s boot seal testing machine can be used to influence component design, or to demonstrate conformance with end customers’ performance standards.