Active Air Suspension System | 5 Compositions and Advantages.

Active Air Suspension System is a part of the Air suspension system used in automobile vehicles. Recently, the demand for heavy vehicles has increased to a certain number. So, the vehicle’s safety always matters if its suspension system provides enough comfort to the drivers.

I will discuss the Active Air Suspension System and its compositions and advantages in this article.

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Active Air Suspension System

The active air suspension system is a better option for heavy-duty vehicles, especially trucks or buses. In this system, the active air suspension adjusts the height of the vehicle according to the surface condition, even when carrying the loads.

This active air suspension system can take any road challenges like load, speed, friction, bumps, etc. It can adjust to all these unconditional things depending on its various control strategies. Some active air suspension systems are equipped with adaptive damping, which means they can adjust the stiffness of the suspension in real-time based on driving conditions. This enhances both comfort and performance.

The system can adapt to changes in driving conditions, providing better handling and stability. This is especially beneficial during cornering or sudden maneuvers.

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Compositions of Active Air Suspension System

This system is composed of air springs, shock absorbers, a guide mechanism, a height sensor, an ECU, a solenoid valve, and other parts. All the composed parts are discussed below-

1. Air Springs

Air springs bear the weight of the vehicle and its occupants. The amount of air pressure in the springs can be adjusted to accommodate varying loads, ensuring a consistent ride height and preventing the vehicle from sagging when heavily loaded.

By varying the amount of air in the springs, the active air suspension system can adjust the ride height of the vehicle. This feature is beneficial in different driving scenarios. For example, the ride height can be increased for off-road driving to provide better ground clearance, or lowered at higher speeds for improved aerodynamics and handling.

2. Shock Absorber

If the suspension springs are rigid enough, they will not absorb road shocks efficiently, and if they are flexible enough, they will continue to vibrate for a longer time even after the bump has passed. Therefore the spring device must be compromised between flexibility and stiffness.

Shock absorbers are provided as a part of the suspension system of motor vehicles for this purpose. When the vehicle wheel strikes a bump, the spring is compressed enough, and only a little verticle upward motion is transferred to the frame.

The shock absorbers in the active air suspension system absorb the vibrations and the bumpy road surface problems in a better way. The shock absorber contains an electric motor, which can adjust the size of the shock absorber’s air vent, so as to change the shock absorber’s damping and realize the change of the attenuation force. The damping force control of shock absorbers can be divided into low, middle
and three levels.

3. Height Sensor

The active air suspension system has a height sensor that indicates the air springs actuators to adjust the height according to the undefined bumpy roads. The height sensor can be linear displacement type or angular displacement type, depending upon the analog or digital height sensor, and the design of the vehicle.

A photoelectric digital height sensor is commonly used in most vehicles. This type of sensor employs light-sensitive components to determine the distance or presence of an object based on the way light interacts with it.

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4. Guide Mechanism

The steering wheel, which holds the driver is the most important component, that needs to control and be steady and the time. So, the steering mechanism needs to be perfectly all right when the driver is on bumpy roads.

The vertical force not only affects the vehicle, but the lateral force will also impact the riding comfort of the vehicle. The guide mechanism actually helps to reduce the effect of the steering geometry and the overall comfort of the vehicle.

5. Electronic Control Unit

ECU, body sensor, height sensor, guide mechanism, and air suspension actuators are included in the Electronic Control Unit(ECAS). This is in an active air suspension system is a sophisticated network of sensors, processors, and actuators designed to monitor, analyze, and adjust the vehicle’s suspension characteristics in real time.

The ECU is the brain of the system, processing data from various sensors and making decisions based on predefined algorithms. It determines the optimal air pressure in the air springs to maintain the desired ride height, comfort, and stability.

Some active air suspension systems integrate an adaptive damping system that adjusts the stiffness of the suspension in real time. This is often controlled electronically based on sensor inputs.

Advantages of Active Air Suspension System

This type of suspension system gives several advantages for vehicle safety and comfort. The advantages of an active air suspension system are-

  1. One of the primary advantages is the ability to adjust the ride height of the vehicle. This feature allows drivers to raise the vehicle for off-road driving, providing increased ground clearance, or lowering it at higher speeds for improved aerodynamics and handling.
  2. This system automatically adjusts to changes in load, maintaining a consistent ride height even when the vehicle is carrying passengers or cargo.
  3. The air springs in active air suspension systems provide a smoother and more comfortable ride.
  4. This system can adapt to changes in driving conditions, providing improved handling and stability.
  5. The versatility of active air suspension systems makes them suitable for a variety of vehicles, including luxury cars, SUVs, and off-road vehicles.
  6. The system’s automatic leveling feature ensures that the vehicle remains level even when parked on uneven surfaces.

Conclusion

Active air suspension systems are commonly found in high-end luxury vehicles, SUVs, and some off-road vehicles. They represent a technological advancement in automotive suspension design, offering a combination of comfort, performance, and adaptability to varying driving conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ’S)

What are the benefits of an active air suspension system?

The benefits include adjustable ride height for different driving conditions, load leveling for consistent performance, improved comfort due to the air springs’ ability to absorb shocks, enhanced handling and stability, and adaptability to various driving scenarios.

Can the ride height be manually adjusted in a vehicle with active air suspension?

Some vehicles equipped with active air suspension systems offer manual adjustment options, allowing the driver to select different ride heights based on preferences or specific driving conditions.

Is active air suspension maintenance intensive?

While active air suspension systems generally require regular maintenance, they are designed to be durable and reliable. Maintenance typically involves checking and adjusting air spring pressures, inspecting components for wear, and addressing any issues with the electronic control system.

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