A New Tool for Design and Analysis of Optimized Rack and Pinion Steering Mechanisms 2009-01-1675
Rack and Pinion steering systems are increasingly common in automobiles due to their superior performance characteristics. Because of differing vehicle parameters, even very similar vehicles must have different steering systems. Small changes in linkage dimensions, to accommodate space constraints, can result in significant changes in steering performance. Thus, each proposed design must be thoroughly analyzed and evaluated. A new, analytical engineering tool has been developed to help design engineers find optimum 2-D steering mechanisms quickly. It provides designers with the capability to input vehicle parameters, run a simple solver, and converge to an optimized steering system in seconds. Designers can also search through different possibilities quickly and find the best solutions for the constraints that are present. It also allows the design of leading or trailing systems, provides the ability to select the percentage of Ackermann steering desired, input estimated production tolerance or position errors, see the calculated structural and tolerance errors displayed graphically over the steering range, and compare two different systems. Because of its simplicity, the tool is applicable for design iteration as well as design optimization.