Effect of Cab Suspension Configuration and Location on Tractor Semi-Trailer Driver Comfort 2016-01-9018
It is well known that the ride quality of trucks is much harsher than that of automobiles. Additionally, truck drivers typically drive trucks for much longer duration than automobile drivers. These two factors contribute to the fatigue that a truck driver typically experiences during long haul deliveries. Fatigue reduces driver alertness and increases reaction times, increasing the possibility of an accident. One may conclude that better ride quality contributes to safer operation.
The secondary suspensions of a tractor have been an area of particular interest because of the considerable ride comfort improvements they provide. A gap exists in the current engineering domain of an easily configurable high fidelity low computational cost simulation tool to analyze the ride of a tractor semi-trailer. For a preliminary design study, a 15 d.o.f. model of the tractor semi-trailer was developed to simulate in the Matlab/Simulink environment. The developed model incorporates the effects of frame beaming. The contributions of the different modes of vibration to the ride comfort were analyzed. It is shown in this work that the ride at the driver seat can be significantly improved by relocating the cab mounts near the nodes of the first mode of bending of the tractor frame and by employing a full cab suspension. The developed simulation tool was used to quantify the improvements in the driver ride comfort.