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Optimizing the Suspension System with KONI

By Anne Kemmeren | July 11, 2019

Throughout the year, KONI has been providing Delft Hyperloop with advice and test facilities for multiple mechanical matters. As a company specialized in making shock absorbers for various modes of transport, they possess broad and hands-on knowledge on suspension systems.

During the conceptual phase at the start of the year, we met with a team of their engineers multiple times. Despite their experience with various suspension systems in other types of transport, our case was still wholly different than they had ever encountered. With extremely high speed, high performance requirements and a complex design space, it seemed challenging to make a reliable design that performed well enough. Thus, we had to get creative. Due to a shared enthusiasm to get the most out of the situation, fruitful sessions led to a dozen design improvements. Meanwhile, the KONI engineers shared a lot of theoretical as well as practical knowledge with us, leading to a better insight into the problem at hand.

For example, at one point we decided we needed a mechanism which could be easily adjusted to fine-tune the suspension behaviour. A sliding mechanism seemed optimal, but a problem was raised as to how we could ensure it stayed in its place with no risk on vibrations shaking the mechanism loose. The KONI engineers quickly helped to assess the severity of the problem and supported us in finding a suitable solution.

After the design had been decided on, KONI helped us out in the testing phase later in the year as well. The performance we expected from our design was high, so now was the time to prove our suspension design could meet these expectations. KONI offered us their facilities to test our suspension. At their facilities in Oud-Beijerand, we tested various settings of the shock absorbers which we would use. With our vehicle dynamics model we could analyse these test data to determine which shock absorber settings would give the best performance. For every setting, an analysis was done on how it would affect the dynamic behaviour of the complete pod, making sure we could get the most out of our suspension.

All in all, KONI has helped us greatly with both advice and test facilities, which gave us the insight we needed to design and fine-tune our system. Therefore, we are now sure our suspension is ready to smoothly guide our pod to top speed!