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Zwick solutions for testing of solenoid actuators support automotive supplier quality initiatives

Zwick solutions for testing of solenoid actuators support automotive supplier quality initiatives

Zwick offers products that support off-line, in-line and end-of-line testing of solenoid actuators for a range of applications, including automotive assemblies.

Proper function of solenoid actuators relies on consistent application of force and motion, performance under specific environmental conditions, and integrity of individual components such as coil anchors and springs.  Customer requirements for testing vary widely and require testing machines that offer exceptional flexibility in hardware and software. 

To support a spectrum of customer needs, Zwick offers a line of electro-mechanical testing actuators for integration into fully automated, hybrid, and manual assembly lines for production level testing.  In addition, single-column zwickiLine testing systems are available as a stand-alone configuration to enable testing in product development labs or production areas.  Twin-column ProLine and AllroundLine testing systems deliver outstanding performance for applications involving higher forces.  Together with the testControl measurement and control platform, these solutions offer the flexibility customers require for solenoid testing.  The testControl measurement and control electronics can be equipped with up to eight measuring channels and integrated with a variety of different sensors. 

While the test sequence varies in accordance with customer needs, many suppliers of solenoid actuators require measurement of various characteristic curves.  Solutions from Zwick calculate all required characteristics of solenoid components:

  • Forces at defined strokes
  • Forces at defined currents
  • Hysteresis at or above travel or at current
  • Electrical characteristics  

While customer needs vary depending on the design and purpose of each solenoid actuator, commonly applied tests involve measurement of the force-stroke characteristic curve and the force-current characteristic curve. 

Force-stroke characteristic curve measurement details

Customers apply this type of test to ensure that the solenoid nominal force is achieved at a given stroke and preset nominal field current (plus or minus given tolerances).  Such information is useful for product development and quality assurance.  In this test, the component is inserted in the clamping device and electrically connected.  The field coil is energised with its nominal (rated) current and the armature moves to its end position.  The testing machine then moves the push rod at a low speed to a defined pre-load to determine the stroke-zero-point.  Force, stroke and time (and optionally, current) are recorded simultaneously during the test.  The armature is then moved over the complete stroke and returned to its end position at a defined test speed.  The test may be repeated over a given number of cycles. 

Force-current characteristic curve measurement details

This test employs an identical procedure to that of the force-stroke characteristic curve to determine the stroke-zero-point.  Once this has been determined, the current is switched off.  The testing machine then moves the armature of the de-energised solenoid to a defined stroke position.  From this point, the testing system records the measured force, current, stroke and time.  The current is then ramped to the nominal current value and back to the current-zero-point at a defined rate.  The test may then be repeated with different stroke values.