New MPA Axle Technology passes tests with flying colors
Presented by Goldhofer Aktiengesellschaft as a world first at this year’s Bauma, the pioneering »MPA Axle Technology« – named after the MacPherson axle system – has delivered impressive proof of its extraordinary performance potential and functionality in extensive tests conducted on test rigs and circuits in the last few months. The new MPA semitrailer generation is now ready for series production, which will begin after the summer holidays, and the first shipments to customers are scheduled to take place before Christmas.
With the Munich premiere of its innovative »MPA Axle Technology«, for which patents are pending, Goldhofer – as the leading global producer of special transport vehicles – has made a big splash in the heavy-duty haulage industry. In the meantime, the independent suspension system presented at Bauma as this year’s »Innovation in the Box« – comprising just one wheel carrier, strut and suspension arm – has been subjected to numerous tests focusing on the functional and safety-related parameters of the individual components on the one hand and the overall system in combination with the vehicle frame with reference to the technically permissible axle load on the other.
“We simulated vehicle performance with MPA axle technology on a hydropulse test rig,” says Volker Schmidt, Chief Design Engineer at Goldhofer AG, “and all the components passed the tests with flying colors, for example for the maximum load cases and alternating load cycles. We are highly satisfied with the results.”
Among other things, the test rigs at Goldhofer’s systems partner BPW were used to simulate the performance of the wheel suspension under continuous high loads, the forces to be absorbed by the suspension arm and strut, and their effects on the interface with the vehicle frame. A special measuring system was employed to analyze the loads imposed on the various components and also on the frame. “We wanted to know exactly what happens to the individual components, and when and how they react to which load,” Volker Schmidt explains. Among other things, that provided the Goldhofer engineers with a precise analysis of road contact forces and cornering forces and enabled them to measure the impacts of hard braking with the world’s lightest axle system in continuous operation. For this purpose, lateral and braking forces were introduced into the MPA system in addition to the vertical loads. “The fact that the Goldhofer components were tested on our partner’s hydropulse test rig in accordance with BPW’s high standards makes the extremely positive results all the more significant,” Volker Schmidt adds.
The ongoing continuous tests on the test circuit serve to study the performance of an MPA semitrailer designed for a technically permissible axle load of 12 tons in various load states and road conditions. “To see how the suspension must work, for example, we have fitted the vehicle with various sensors and are using the latest software for data capture,” says Volker Schmidt, who has no doubts about the superiority of the MPA system. In addition to the 60° steering angle, which greatly improves maneuverability and auxiliary steering, it is the 315 mm suspension stroke with minimum track difference over the full stroke, the 780 mm minimum loading height and the extremely low deadweight that give the MPA so much more functionality than other steering axle systems and greatly increase the payload limits.
In line with the principle that less is more, Goldhofer AG - in collaboration with its partners BPW, Neumeister and Heyd – has reduced the number of components in the MPA axle system to an absolute minimum. That guarantees long service life and – with no grease points on the assembly – it is also an extremely low-maintenance solution. “It is astounding to see how few components we have employed to adapt the principle of the MacPherson axle, which has been in successful use in the car manufacturing industry for years now, for application as a standard item on heavy-duty vehicles,” says Stefan Fuchs, CEO of Goldhofer AG. The keys are a specially developed suspension arm (Heyd), a strut with integrated steering (Neumeister) and a wheel carrier with the proven ECO-Plus wheel bearing and braking system (BPW). Volker Schmidt: “You can’t do individual suspension for heavy-duty vehicles with less components than that!”
The outstanding functionality of the MPA axle system has triggered an unusually high level of demand for the new technology since Bauma. “In response to the extremely positive market response, we have expanded out product portfolio,” says Renato Ramella, Sales Manager Europe at Goldhofer AG. “We are now offering the new axle system for all semitrailer variants including drop decks.”