In many different industries, linear actuators have found great importance. You find them in applications involving automated household equipment, agricultural systems, renewable energy sources, etc. The automotive industry is no stranger either because linear actuators continue to prove useful for days. Nevertheless, many are unaware of linear actuators’ relevance in non-industrial uses. But there is rather one striking application where they are of great value. This application is in muscle car stimulators. What is a muscle car simulation and how do high-force linear actuators make it possible? Read on to uncover the details.
Muscle Car Simulation, What Is It About?
First of all, a muscle car qualifies as one with large, high-energy V8 engines. They are often medium-sized cars with two doors and rear-wheel drive. You easily recognize these high-force vehicles by how fast they accelerate from 0 to 60 mph within seconds.
In simulation, you imitate the realistic experience involved with a true muscle car. However, you do this with the help of high-force linear actuators.
But why is muscle car simulation a big deal? Muscle car simulation is prominent in car testing purposes. You might as well know that muscle cars do not come cheap. So it’s not common for a company to give every interested client a chance to test-drive these supercars.
In this case, the potential driver uses a high-force linear actuator to build a simulator. A good example is the PA-13 high-performance electric actuator. Although other actuators are suitable, certain requirements favour one above the other.
Using the Right Simulator for the Best Experience
Car factories do not use simulators of any kind for their vehicles. With every car produced, a unique simulator follows. In this way, drivers get the real experience of driving a real car model even while using a simulator. They also get to witness the specific features each car has.
For instance, the muscle car has an acceleration power of 60mph in seconds. At its launch, the car lifts its front end when you hit the throttle. It slowly begins to drop as you continue driving. When you hit the brakes, it tilts forward and the back raises.
These car movements and actions are going to follow in the simulation as well. This is where electric actuators prove essential in muscle car stimulators. To ensure accuracy with each car model, the manufacturer designs a simulator highlighting all those specific elements.
How High-Force Actuators Make Simulation Possible
To simulate a muscle car, you need highly accurate and powerful actuators. Often, you need a total of four actuators. There are two installed in the front part of the suspension and two at the back. This setup enables the simulators to replicate the car actions closely.
In this case, the car suspension uses powerful actuators as a replacement. It has enough power to raise the car in the exact movements they need to simulate. When installing these high-force electric actuators, they should not change the car’s exterior. It should fit in the space occupied by the suspension and allow for easy control.
These are the reasons the PA-13 high-force linear actuator remains a favourite. It is small yet powerful. Also, it does not demand regular maintenance while still offering high performance and reliability.
High-force Linear Actuators in Simulation of a Muscle Car: A Case Study
Introducing the Dodge SRT Demon
Here, we take the case of the Dodge SRT Demon muscle car A.K.A. Born to Run. It is a race car with a very powerful engine that generates up to 1.8 Gs in seconds. The force exerted when it starts means it lifts its front wheels off the ground.
Challenges Faced: High-speed, High-force Lift
The simulators from FCA were real Dodge SRT Demons, although with no drive trains. They positioned the simulators beside each other and recorded a video of the track in front of them. The issue was that the simulator did not accelerate as fast as the real Dodge SRT Demon. Normally, the Dodge SRT hits 60mph from zero in about 2.3 seconds. It also generates 1.8 Gs on drive-off.
Nevertheless, the drag race simulation produced the expected results. On launching the car, its front end rose 12 inches. It then dropped gradually whenever the driver changed gears. The rise and drop responded in line with the driver’s input. Applying the brake after a quarter-mile drive showed the car nose dive. The back end then rose as the car came to a halt.
Solution: Use High-force Electric Actuators
The solution involved four powerful and fast actuators. They were to install them equally in the suspension, at the front and back respectively. These would give the needed force and raise needed for the acceleration.
The electric actuators chosen should be able to generate 2,000 lbf each. They were to replace parts of the car’s suspension. They also needed to be small enough for easy fitting in the suspension space while not changing the car’s exterior appearance.
Despite their high speed and high force qualities, they lacked precise control. They instead chose an engineer-recommended actuator with a roller screw. It turned out to be the best option among electric rod actuators. This was due to its qualities like high force in a compact package, reliability, low maintenance, and the highest overall force.
Result: A Perfect Performance
The actuators performed as expected. It produced the required lifts and acceleration to the simulators through runs of about 172,800 times per car.
High-force linear actuators are the perfect solution for muscle car simulations. Since muscle cars are expensive, test drives are best with simulators. A great example of a high-performance linear actuator to use in muscle car simulation is the rod style actuator. For all the needed power performance, acceleration, movements and control of a real supercar, high-force linear actuators are the most efficient.