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HBM helps automotive supplier to achieve total traceability

11 March 2011

HBM measuring equipment is being used by the German automotive supplier, DURA, to ensure that steering gear fitted to the latest Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG sports car meets high specifications for responsiveness and accuracy

DURA Automotive Systems Reiche GmbH is using the latest measurement technology from HBM to ensure that a special steering coupling it manually assembles for a rather prestigious client meets demanding production and quality control standards.

The steering gear in question is fitted to the latest Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG sports car, powered by a 420kW, 6.3litre engine that propels it from 0 to 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds. The forces created by such a high-performance car places high demands on the steering coupling, which connects the steering wheel to the steering gear. This comprises a corrugated tube, a smooth tube and a double universal (constant velocity) joint, this last component having a decisive influence on steering precision.

To ensure high responsiveness, all components of the steering column are checked using HBM equipment, including the company’s PW4M platform load cell and MP85A FastPress process monitoring system. One of the key functions of this equipment is to provide the manufacturer with complete traceability of every working step in the steering coupling assembly, each one of which leaves the factory with a unique serial number.

The bending torque in the joint connecting both tubes of the steering coupling is checked using the PW4M platform load cell, which is also used to measure movement in both directions on a test bench. Once the joint has been checked, the tubes are fitted with threaded inserts. The force and displacement during the press-fit process is then carefully monitored using the MP85A FastPress process monitoring system.

All measured data are directly evaluated in the process controller, which ensures that press forces lie within the specified tolerance window. The process controller delivers an ‘OK’ signal and transmits the measured process data simultaneously to the test bench control computer via a factory network.

Similarly, the torque on all screw fastenings is measured and recorded during the tightening process, and all these parameters are recorded and maintained in a database.

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