SKF and Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) engineers have jointly developed computer controlled electromagnetic suspension that can also regenerate energy.
The Eindhoven suspension as it is called is not only electronic but also active, it is connected to a variety of sensors and accelerometers via an onboard computer which adjusts the suspension as per the road conditions within a fraction of a second.
We have reported on a number of regenerative suspension systems based on both electric motors and hydraulic systems. Eindhoven researchers say hydraulics cant match the speed of an electromagnetic system.
About the same size as a conventional shock absorber, the system consists of a passive spring, a tubular linear actuator, a control unit and batteries.
Unlike in a similar system developed by Bose, the spring provides springing action, while linear stepper motors provide active control. If the batteries should fail, the system will still work as a purely mechanical suspension.
With a peak consumption of 500 watts, the suspension uses about a quarter of the power of hydraulic systems. It also stretches its battery life by using road vibrations to generate electricity.
The company has tested the system on a simulator and claims that it offers a 60% ride improvement. Eindhoven University developed the system in collaboration with Swedish mechatronics company SKF, which has patented the technology and is looking into marketing it.