KXI's Technical Blog is produced by our Chief Technology Officer Geby Wager and offers findings through our research & development of our revolutionary patent-pending automated suspension.
October 26, 2018
Dependant (Fixed) vs. Independant Suspension Systems
A dependent suspension must have a beam or live axle that holds wheels parallel to each other and perpendicular to the axle. When a dependent suspension hits a bump, with one tire, it impacts the entire axle. When the camber of one wheel changes, the camber of the opposite wheel changes in the same way - a positive camber change on one side will cause a negative change on the opposite side. The rigidity that causes all this additional body movement negatively impacts both vehicle handling and tracking. Making precise directional adjustments on the fly is nearly impossible, even for the most trained 4x4 driver.
Compounding the problem, when a dependent vehicle hits a bump with one wheel, it forces the entire axle including differential, housing, brakes, hubs and both tires toward the vehicle frame and body. Shocks and the suspension system are compromised and often fail when attempting to mitigate this large mass transferring upward to passengers, particularly on complex varying terrain.
Furthermore, a dependent axle needs to be held in place by bars. The only practical way to do this is for the bars to go on an angle up to the frame. These bars then travel in an arc as the suspension goes up and down. The more suspension travel the bigger the arc. Looking at the front and most critical end of the vehicle, two very important things happen when those arcs hit a bump:
- The bar arc pushes the axle forward into impending obstacles & all approach impacts become more severe; and
- With the opposite side arc offsetting, the axle is forced into a continuous steer (or bumpsteer) in one direction
Conversely, an independent suspension allows wheels to rise and fall on their own without affecting the opposite wheel's ability to maintain contact and thus traction. Not only have we considerably lightened our vehicle's mass by removing the need for arc bars and other modifications, our suspension systems ensures that every wheel travels up and down with no change in camber, caster or toe in and out in any terrain. Each vehicle corner only has to control only one tire, wheel, brake and hub, weighing approximately 200 pounds. The results is a controlled, deliberate and assured navigation over challenging terrain and complex slopes. Given the minimal impact of every terrain variance, operators and passengers alike have commented that it feels more like floating than driving.
October 11, 2018
When Track Vehicles Won't Work
Many people are fascinated with track vehicles and tend to think that they can do anything. In reality, they are expensive to buy and wear out quickly, making the real cost per mile is very high. In most cases they need to be trailered for on-road sections, requiring a tow vehicle and trailer and possibly another driver. Not only does this mean additionally wasted miles towing to and from with a 2nd vehicle, as well as the down time and logistical problem of coordinating the pick up.
Track vehicles are typically much slower in all conditions which adds hourly cost and unproductive time. They are much rougher riding in uneven terrain making them slower and resulting in more passenger fatigue. They are also virtually impossible to drive on side hills as they will slide sideways or the tracks will pack with debris and degrade them or force a track derailment resulting in further limitations in route choices. With only moderate flotation and the abrasion of the track, fragile ecosystems are almost always compromised.
Commercial and government operations that are currently using track vehicles to navigate to remote and rugged areas should consider all the ancillary costs, including extra labour hours, specialized skills and environmental harm. Another solution now exists. KXI Suspension for any job, anywhere.