TrelleborgVibracoustic develops the first air spring for compact SUVs

TrelleborgVibracoustic developed the first air suspension for the compact SUV segment. The system will be used for a new model of a premium German OEM.

Developing the air suspension system including level regulation presented the engineers with certain challenges. They were the first to succeed in fitting such a system into the space available in a sporty compact SUV in the premium segment. After a development time of just two and a half years, the result is best-in-class handling properties with excellent comfort, regardless of loading conditions. The system enables consistent ground clearance while driving and enables the body to be raised by up to 40 millimeters above the standard level of 190 millimeters for better handling of rough terrain. This brings the maximum ground clearance at the higher setting to 230 millimeters (this is the benchmark for the segment). With the Sportplus or low level setting, the body is lowered by 10 millimeters from the normal level. The lower center of gravity improves drive quality and reduces fuel consumption at higher speeds.

In order to reduce unsprung masses the air springs at the five-link front axle are designed with high aluminum content and as a lightweight construction with plastic at the trapezoidal-link rear axle. A patented flexible mounting system is used at the front axle air spring struts which compensate the conical and torsional movements. Stress in the dynamic area of the air spring is reduced and its rolling behavior is significantly improved. Suspension behavior is optimized thanks to harshness-optimized rubber composites combined with axial sleeve with external guide and a thin-walled cross ply sleeve at the rear axle. Thanks to the separate layout of the air springs and dampers at the rear axle, there is also significant loading width in the trunk.

TrelleborgVibracoustic is the leading provider of anti-vibration solutions for the global automotive and commercial vehicle industries. Founded as a joint venture by Freudenberg and Trelleborg in 2012, the company generated sales of approximately 1.6 billion Euro in 2012. TrelleborgVibracoustic has around 10,000 employees at 38 locations in 18 countries who develop and produce driveline and chassis components for anti-vibration control. 

download presskit