Maxon's Young Engineers Program Tackles Active Rear Wheel Steering

One recent program is an active rear wheel steering system (RWS) for a Formula Student Electric race car.

One recent program is an active rear wheel steering system (RWS) for a Formula Student Electric race car.

March 22, 2017—
Starting something new is always difficult. This is particularly true for engineers who are trying to get a project off the ground. Often they have creative ideas, but not the necessary equipment or funding. The Maxon Young Engineers Program (YEP) supports innovative projects that use electric drive systems. Participants enjoy benefits such as motors, gearheads and controllers at discounted prices or even free of charge, technical support from Maxon experts and promotion and communication through Maxon channels.  

One recent program is an active rear wheel steering system (RWS) for a Formula Student Electric race car. Thus, two independent actuators integrated in the rear tie-rods set a steer angle of the rear wheels up to 3° per side. This helps to improve both the handling and the overall driving stability of the car.

The actuator itself is based on an electric driven spindle drive, which converts the rotational movement into a linear movement. To gain enough actuating power, a 200 W Maxon EC-4pole motor is fitted to the RWS. A Maxon GP 32 C planetary gear is connected to the motor to provide enough torque. It drives the spindle nut through a belt drive. The power is supplied via the internal 24V LV-electrical system of the race car. To set the right steer angle, two Maxon EPOS2 position controls together with Maxon HEDL encoders are used, whereas the race car’s internal controls calculate the needed steer angle.

As the RWS will be fitted in a race car there are three big issues the designer has to cope with:
Firstly, the electric components have to have enough power to set the desired steer angle in every driving situation. Secondly, the components have to be light and compact, as Formula Student is a design competition where low weight is almost everything. Thirdly, the system has to work reliably. The rear wheel steering system’s safety relevance is very high in terms of handling stability. Failures may have fatal consequences. For that it is important to have electrical components which fit together.

Maxon provides all three: The motors are powerful and compact, the range of gearboxes available is wide and they do have position controls and sensors especially made for their motors. There may not be any compatibility problems within the used components. That makes Maxon kind of unique and helps finishing projects successfully.

For more information on Maxon's Young Engineers Program visit the website below:

Maxon Precision Motors
Phone: 
(508) 677-0520
URL: 
www.maxonmotorusa.com