Shake, Rattle, and Roll

February 24, 2016 - Author: Stephen Klick, Senior Mechanical Engineer

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One of the more interesting pieces of vehicle test equipment that I’ve come across is the Burke Porter Dynamic Rattle and Twist Machine. Traditionally, at the end of production a vehicle was taken to a testing track for final quality and performance checks. These tracks included a series of irregular surfaces (cobblestone paving for example) that the vehicle was driven over at a set speed to see what types of noises came out. Track tests are time consuming and rely on the experienced ear of the test driver to listen for errant squeaks or rattles that indicate possible manufacturing quality issues.

Enter the Dynamic Rattle and Twist Machine. These machines allow manufacturers to take what once was a track test and pull it into end-of-line testing inside the manufacturing space. The machine consists of four rollers, each supporting a wheel of the vehicle. As with a chassis dyno, the rollers can both drive or by driven by the vehicle. Also like chassis dynos, this machine can have a road surface texture or textures on the face of the roller circumference to simulate those irregular road surfaces mentioned earlier.

What really makes the machine unique is its ability to twist the front and rear axles of the vehicle from side to side. Both axles are twisted independently and can even twist in opposite direction. At the end of production a vehicle can be driven straight onto the rattle and twist machine and driven through a preprogrammed test cycle. The data acquisition can be done by the human ear or through in-vehicle instrumentation. The beauty of the Rattle and Twist Machine is that it allows manufactures to increase productivity at the same time they improve test repeatability and data consistency.

Where does ACS come into the process? We leverage our expertise in test equipment and construction management to seamlessly integrate complex test systems like the Rattle and Twist machine into client facilities.

Images courtesy of: The Burke Porter Group

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