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VB-Airsuspension ready for new ESC rules

Placed on 18/09/2014

ESC (Electronic Stability Control) has saved many lives since its launch on the automotive market by Bosch (ESP) and Mercedes-Benz in 1995. ESC is an active safety system that supports the driver in critical situations where the vehicle is likely to deviate from the intended course. If the beginning of a slide is detected the ESC will intervene by selectively applying the vehicle brakes and modulating the engine power. Click on the link to see a short video clip showing how ESC works.

The ESC system has gone through many stages of development. Every major vehicle manufacturer now includes ESC as standard in its options package or fits the system in its vehicles as standard. The ESC system is so effective that in Europe its installation has been a legal requirement in all newly developed passenger and commercial vehicles since 1 November 2011 and as of 1 November 2014 will be required in all passenger and commercial vehicles sold as new. The requirement to fit an ESC system has been deferred for a number of commercial vehicle models.

 

Under the EU regulations all vehicles with a total weight of more than 1735 kg on which a modification to the centre of gravity is made that lies outside the vehicle manufacturer's tolerances (by installing a superstructure, tailgate, crane, etc.), or on which a modification is made to the chassis (by modifying the suspension, wheels, stabiliser, etc.), must undergo an ECS test to check whether the modification impairs the ECS system. If the results of the ESC test are negative, the manufacturer's warranty will be invalidated and the vehicle will not be given a number plate. So, this is an important issue for companies that convert vehicles or fit superstructures, one whose significance has been seriously underestimated to date.

The ESC system can be tested in a number of different ways, i.e. by testing the vehicle on a test circuit or using simulation on a computer model (virtual). When testing on a circuit each of the test(s) described in the regulations must be carried out, and must be performed for every single vehicle. These tests are relatively time-consuming, and therefore costly, for each vehicle. The legislators do however allow for the option of simulating the test. With a virtual simulation model each test only takes a few hours once the basic model has been incorporated. After this, it is a simple matter to simulate any modification made (change to the centre of gravity, change to the superstructure, change to the wheelbase, etc.) in the simulation program. As a consequence, vehicles only need to be tested once, modifications can be quickly calculated and there is no need to test every vehicle afresh.

Working with TÜV-Nord, VB-Airsuspension has developed a complete process for creating a valid simulation model for a vehicle, to avoid the need for each vehicle to be tested individually. This process was presented to the KBA, following which VB-Airsuspension received official approval from TÜV/KBA to carry out ESC validation using simulation. This makes VB-Airsuspension the only non-vehicle manufacturer authorised to carry out these simulations and to release the ESC for your superstructure or conversion. 

VB-Airsuspension is proud to be the first accredited non-vehicle manufacturer ready for the new ESC rules.

Victor Benno