Projects:2017s1-105 “CARLOS TC” Tow Bar Testing Facility

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Project Members

Thomas Barone, Joe Kelly

Supervisor  : Professor Michael Liebelt
Technicial supervisor: Dr. Braden Phillips
Sponsor  : Milford

Project Motivation

Traditionally , for trailers and caravans weighing up to 3500kg in the domestic market, the trailer coupling ( towbar ) design and compliance has been driven by Australian standards , the most recent being AS 4177.1 – 2004 . Whilst this standard continues to serve the local towing industry, there have been several developments in the dynamic testing of these components globally, driven by the vehicle manufacturers need to provide a better simulation to actual road conditions with their contemporary vehicle architecture and materials to understand fatigue failures. CARLOS TC was born from this endeavour and is considered current state of art and is now being used in the homologation of some OEM trailer couplings. eg United Nations Regulation ECE R 55.01-Mechanical coupling.

Project Proposal

In order to capitalise on this increasing body of knowledge, it is proposed that Milford acquire some capital equipment to enable in-house CARLOS TC testing. This equipment would be sourced by a manufacturer of such testing apparatus and comprise of a true 3 dimensional load on the load coupling device and can also be used to test the load coupling device or the complete car body with a load coupling device fitted . The latter would be of use to the car companies to confirm the integrity of their body in white assemblies during towing. This is achieved by 3 hydraulic cylinders arranged in the X, Y and Z directions driven by a suite of actuators, controllers and software. Due to the forces involved and the variation of set-ups required, the testing facility will incorporate a large “T” slotted solid base to attach vehicles, frames and equipment to. Working with and under the supervision of mechanical engineers at Milford, the project team will be required to investigate the requirements for the testing apparatus and to design, implement and test software and sensors to control the hydraulic actuators to apply sequences of 3 axis forces to the towbars under test, according to the requirements of CARLOS TC, and to log data that captures the response of the towbar. Some of the work will be carried out at Milford’s premises in Camden Park.