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Show review: Vehicle Dynamics Expo 2012
News and views from the Stuttgart dynamics showcase, including a wealth of new product announcements
by Graham Heeps
A superb three-day conference was the highlight of the 2012 Vehicle Dynamics Expo, with absorbing presentations from the likes of McLaren, Toyota and numerous chassis specialists pulling in the crowds.
“I was proud to be asked to speak at the conference,” commented Tetsuya Tada, chief engineer of the Toyota GT86. “There were many questions about my presentation, more than I have experienced before – people here are very interested in the vehicle.”
“The conference was brilliantly well attended with rarely a free seat,” added Graham Johnson, managing director of show organizer, UKIP Media & Events. “The feedback on the technologies and techniques was extremely positive. We’re looking forward to making the program even bigger and better next year.
“We’re also delighted with the exhibition,” he continued. “This year we’ve seen over 70 vehicle dynamics components and development tool suppliers participate in Stuttgart.”
There were plenty of interesting new products and services to interest visitors to the exhibition hall. Magneti Marelli has been further developing the innovative, lightweight suspension components it has shown at Vehicle Dynamics Expo in previous years. At the 2012 event, the Italian company showcased a hybrid composite front suspension arm that tips the scales at just 0.85kg, compared with 1.5kg for an ultralight steel equivalent.
Simpack came to Vehicle Dynamics Expo with two important new pieces of simulation software to present to visitors. First up was release 9.1 of the main Simpack Automotive suite, which features a completely new GUI, a parallel solver to take advantage of multiple CPUs to speed up processing time, and interfaces based on FMI (function mockup interface
Meanwhile, Benteler Automotive had a thought-provoking forum presentation and exhibition display. The firm has been working with Magnus Roland and S2AB to rethink rear suspension design. The key change is to the toe gradient, which is to toe-out in bump rather than the convention toe-in setup, a behavior achieved by new kinematics, elasto-kinematics and chassis topology. This year’s expo was a chance for Benteler to present its progress to date, which includes a working and thoroughly tested demo car featuring the five-link ‘Premium’ version of the technology, as well as a FWD demonstrator with the twist-beam ‘Compact’ version that’s about to begin testing, too.
Elsewhere in Messe Stuttgart’s Hall 1, Anthony Best Dynamics (ABD) reported a busy year so far. The test equipment specialist is currently building two Suspension Parameter Measurement Machines (SPMMs) for clients in China and Japan, having recently delivered another SPMM to the CATARC testing center in China.
“We’ve met a lot of old friends and new customers here,” said the company’s founder and MD, Tony Best. “You need to sow the seeds and in the longer term that will prove worthwhile.”
Opinions from the show floor
“As usual I met a lot of interesting people and spent the whole day talking to people – some new faces, as well as people I knew from before.”
Koen Reybrouck, director, Reybrouck Consulting & Innovation
“It’s the first time I have visited this show and I’m surprised at how big it is. The forum was well organized and we appreciated the opportunity to make a presentation.”
Hiroshi Watahiki, deputy general manager, total vehicle performance integration department, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd
“The presentations have been very interesting. One of the subjects was brand new to me, and I guess brand new to most of the guys there. It’s something we’ll definitely follow up on to understand it better.”
Arnold Hoven, manager, CES R&D, Öhlins Racing AB
“The forum is very useful. There are some very good new technologies and interesting ideas. In my position, looking at technology roadmaps for where Lotus needs to develop, then it’s well worth attending.”
Peter Studer, product manager driving dynamics, Lotus Engineering
“We’ve had some decent traffic through the show. We’ve had many OEMs but there are also many networking opportunities, supplier to supplier, and some interesting discussions on possible future technical partnerships. It’s a great opportunity to talk to people we wouldn’t run into on a normal day.”
Martin Reder, director, brake systems engineering, BWI Group
“We’re satisfied with the number of contacts, mostly well qualified contacts. We have about the same number of leads as in previous years, so there’s every chance we’ll be back next year.”
Thomas Richard, application engineer, Maplesoft