MTS Systems Electric Actuation

Transforming Test & Simulation Technology

Responding to industry demands for increased performance and efficiency, MTS continues to pursue the integration of rotary and linear electric actuation throughout its portfolio of ground vehicle test and simulation solutions.

MTS’ integration of electric actuation started in the late 1990’s with its development of optimized permanent magnet electric motors to power Formula 1 Transmission Test Systems.

Compact and power-dense, the innovative rotary drives were further optimized for deployment on the new additions to MTS’ Flat-Trac® line of tire force & moment measurement systems, the CT Plus and LTRe. These systems combine permanent magnet electric spindle torque drives with conventional hydraulic linear actuators to increase system torque capacity and response, yielding dramatic improvements in performance and real-world tire motion simulation. System operation is simplified as the electric spindle torque drive does not have to be decoupled from the system during high speed testing, unlike hydraulic drives. System maintenance, too, is streamlined as the electric drives require no hydraulic fluid or hydromechanical infrastructure.

MTS Tire Rolling Resistance Measurement systems, too, have undergone electrification. A new all-electric option features both electric actuators and an electric rotary drive. It requires no hydraulic power generation, distribution or cooling infrastructure, greatly simplifying maintenance and facilities requirements.

The most recent example of tire test system electrification is the MTS Tire Tread Wear Simulator. The latest design of this system combines two permanent magnet electric rotary drives with conventional hydraulic linear actuators. This results in significantly increased energy efficiency for this system, which is available in versions for both passenger car and truck & bus tires. Also, maintenance and hydromechanical infrastructure requirements are simplified and reduced.

Electric rotary drives are also deployed on Flat-Trac Ride Comfort Roadways, four corner road simulators used for evaluating automobile suspensions for ride comfort and performing damper tuning. The electric drives power four moving belts that spin test vehicle wheels to ensure that hydraulically generated vertical inputs are distributed realistically through tires and into the test vehicle chassis. The system enables more realistic and accurate ride comfort testing in a controlled laboratory setting, which reduces the time needed at the test track for final vehicle tuning and validation for NVH and ride comfort characteristics.

Linear electric actuation technology was also pursued by MTS in the 90’s for driving materials testing load frames, and is today manifested in the monotonic MTS Criterion® and dynamic MTS Acumen® materials test system product lines.

2014 saw a significant leap in MTS’ embrace of linear electric actuation with the acquisition of patented ElectroMagnetic Actuation (EMA) technology. Used currently to power damper test systems and tire-coupled road simulators, EMA technology is renowned for highly accurate and repeatable performance; clean, quiet and energy efficient operation; and compact, low-maintenance designs.

Originally born of the racing industry’s need for portable, cost-efficient damper test solutions, EMA technology delivers higher velocities at higher forces than mechanical or hydraulic solutions, without having to compensate for the temperature, oil column resonance or friction considerations endemic to those technologies. In addition, electrically actuated systems require far less capital investment and infrastructure than hydraulic solutions, are cleaner and quieter, faster to setup, and easier to maintain and repair.

MTS Roehrig EMA Damper Test Systems are deployed worldwide for damper characterization and in-line production quality testing, as well as custom applications such as NVH, high-velocity testing and road profile playback. They are renowned among product R&D engineers, leading damper manufacturers and race team engineers alike for their high frequency response, programmability and unmatched operational efficiency. Compact and portable, MTS Roehrig EMA systems are well-suited for factory, laboratory, proving ground or race track deployment.

The precursor to EMA damper systems is the MTS Roehrig Crank Dyno. Deployed by racing teams worldwide, MTS Roehrig Crank Dynos provide the basic sinusoidal testing capabilities needed to quickly and accurately optimize vehicle performance for specific track and race day conditions. These all-electric systems feature a compact and efficient, scotch yoke dynamometer that is accurate, easy-to-use, clean and energy-efficient.

The Model 320 ePost Tire-coupled Road Simulator is a compact, highly efficient four-poster designed for a variety of full vehicle test applications in both production and test laboratory environments. The system employs four hybrid EMA/ pneumatic actuators to replicate road profiles and obstacles, providing test engineers with a highly accurate means for subjecting full vehicles to real-world conditions in controlled laboratory environments. When compared with hydraulic simulators, electric ePost systems enable a cleaner and more eco-friendly testing environment, reduce operating and maintenance costs, and provide quieter operation that is more conducive to effective Buzz, Squeak and Rattle (BSR) and Noise, Vibration & Harshness (NVH) testing.

The latest addition to MTS’ electric portfolio is the MTS Vehicle Dynamics Simulator (VDS), a next-generation driving simulator engineered to provide automotive OEMs, motorsports teams and Tier 1 suppliers a revolutionary means for accelerating and streamlining development processes. Born of Formula 1 vehicle modeling and simulation innovation, the VDS employs a “driver-in-the-loop” approach and sophisticated low-latency sensory cueing that allows engineers to test drive conceptual vehicle designs through numerous virtual environments and scenarios, well in advance of the availability of physical prototypes. The resulting high-fidelity simulation and driver feedback enables vehicle designers and test engineers to identify and resolve handling issues and study the impact of design changes in early-stage development, avoiding the need for expensive, time-consuming rework during late-stage validation. The all-electric VDS features a compact, low-impact modular design that makes it well-suited for office, test lab or track.

Contact MTS today and explore how electrically-actuated test and simulation solutions can increase your testing performance and efficiency.


MTS Systems

14000 Technology Drive
Eden Prairie, MN USA

Tel: 952.937.4000
Tel: 800.328.2255
Fax: 952.937.4515