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Hendrickson Trailer Commercial Vehicle Systems






The primary function of heavy duty trailer suspensions is to link the trailer to its wheels. This provides a compliant connection which protects the trailer cargo from the shock and vibration inputs developed at the road surface. In addition, the suspension must meet the customers’ expectations for usable life, and do so while being economical to manufacture. One of the challenges of trailer suspension design is that these requirements often conflict with each other. Trade-offs are often required in order to meet these performance requirements over the suspension’s entire operating range.

Results Validation:

“We can now simulate a new suspension, in a different trailer configuration, for a specific event, in a matter of hours as compared to the days or weeks that are required with physical testing,” Dr. Patterson said. “The fact that we can change the system much faster in the simulation than on an actual trailer makes it possible to evaluate the performance of our product in more configurations, all while spending less time and money building prototypes and performing physical testing. Of course, we always run a final physical test to ensure the accuracy of our simulations. The end result is that we are able to bring products to market faster, and generate larger revenues while reducing our product development expenses.”

  • Simulation results make it possible to see every aspect of suspension behavior.
  • Adams results match very closely with physical test measurements on numerous occasions comparing the tire loads, component forces, and suspension performance characteristics, such as ride height change.
  • Simulation provides a much better understanding of how the proposed suspension design performs than can be obtained by physical testing.
  • Loads determined by the simulation are used to design fatigue tests.

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