In order to ensure safe vehicle handling, even in the event of extreme roadholding, it is important that the movement of the wheels is transferred quickly and precisely. For this purpose, intelligently designed control arms with joints are used within the wheel suspension.

Securely in contact with the wheels

LEMFÖRDER provides many different, vehicle-specific types of control arms, also for complex axle constructions: From guide rods, track rods, and tension struts to control arms and through to suspension ball joints or supporting joints. When dealing with independent suspensions, the wheel carrier can be connected to the vehicle body with up to five control arms. Depending on the customer requirement, the components are either set-up for comfortable or dynamic driving properties. According to the construction type, either 2-point links, 3-point links, or, on rare occasions, 4-point links are used. Besides steel control arms, LEMFÖRDER also develops and manufactures light, premium aluminum control arms.

The control arms assume the task of wheel guidance and often the transfer of spring, damping, and stabilizer forces.

What he does at ZF:

What materials does ZF need for production facilities in the Region of Asia-Pacific? How do the commodities get there? By land, sea, air or rail? How, where and how long can they be warehoused? These are the questions that Chen, who works in the Freight Purchasing Asia-Pacific Department (SPNF3 Dept.) in Shanghai, deals with every day. He supports and coordinates the daily logistics routes and handles other associated activities in the region’s plants. Chen is particularly focused on streamlining reporting processes and information flows.

“My job continuously drives me to further exhaust my potential.”

  • Accurate wheel guidance
  • Increased ride comfort thanks to vibration damping
  • Increased driving safety thanks to specific individual steering behavior.

The connection and mobility of the control arms is established via the different suspension joints.

How he came to ZF:

After completing his degree in “International Economics and Trade” at Shanghai University followed by studies in “International Business” at the University of Technology in Sydney, his path led him directly to logistics at ZF. After a 15-month internship here, Chen had become very familiar with the world of ZF and, after completing his degree, got his first full-time job with the company. “I have always worked in purchasing and this position aligned perfectly with my studies,” explains Chen, a passionate sports fan. He started out as a contact buyer exclusively for ZF China, but later switched to the commodity team for the entire Region of Asia-Pacific. “It is important to me to constantly grow and develop in my career and to never stop learning. That’s why this job suits me so perfectly. I’m always looking for ways to do things better.

“At ZF, I don’t have to sit in front of a laptop all day, instead I can be on the move and communicate with a lot of people.”

Chen, Buyer, Shanghai

The control arm – tailor-made drivability

LEMFÖRDER lightweight aluminum control arm

Dynamic or comfortable? With the independent suspension, this, amongst other things, depends on the design of the control arms that connect the vehicle body with the wheel and its tire.

LEMFÖRDER control arms are precisely tailored to the individual requirements and driving properties of a vehicle. Furthermore, alternative materials such as aluminum that make the wheel suspension lighter overall are used in the manufacturing process. Lightweight design is one of the key technologies when it comes to reducing the energy consumption of vehicles.

The guiding control arm and the supporting control arm

LEMFÖRDER guiding and supporting control arms

Depending on the function that a control arm assumes, either a guiding control arm or a supporting control arm is utilized when it comes to wheel guidance. A guiding control arm absorbs braking, driving, and lateral forces. A supporting control arm also supports the vehicle weight. It also assumes the suspension and damping of the body and is designed in a more stable manner. Supporting control arms are often used by automotive manufacturers in the lower level of double wishbone axles and multilink rear suspensions.

The SMiCA sheet metal control arm

LEMFÖRDER SMiCA sheet metal control arm without rivets and screws.

Control arms are subjected to severe forces and must therefore satisfy high requirements: Buckling resistance, bending strength, and durability. At the same time, a low weight is desired within the context of modern, automotive lightweight construction.

A ZF lightweight solution that is already ready for the start of production is the SMiCA control arm (Sheet Metal integrated Control Arm). The control arm requires no rivets or screw connections and is therefore up to 23 percent lighter than conventional sheet metal control arms. Furthermore, it requires less installation space and allows more design freedom when designing the chassis.

The design core: the ball joint

LEMFÖRDER ball joint

Ball joints are used in control arms, tie rods, and stabilizer links for instance. A ball joint consists of a ball stud and ball socket and is free-moving in three directions. Traction forces, compressive forces, and radial forces are transferred in these three directions without hardly any losses at all. Low losses occur as a result of friction. Therefore, LEMFÖRDER uses premium materials for the ball and shell and consequently achieves:

  • Low deformability
  • Excellent glide characteristics
  • Outstanding damping

The exact designation of the ball joints is derived from the transferred direction of force: Angle joints transfer radial forces, inner ball joints transfer axial forces.

Further information

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