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Shock Absorbers

Vibration dampers – General Task, Demands and Operating Principle


General Task
In view of the task they perform shock absorbers should more accurately be known as “vibration dampers”.

Even in the future, conventional shock absorbers will have a broad range of applications on motor vehicles. New technologies devoted to weightsaving, involving the use of aluminium (as cold extrusions), magnesium or high-strength grades of steel (micro-alloyed) are among our core competences.

As new generations of motor vehicles are developed, a demand for spring and shock absorber modules and active damping systems is being expressed to an increasing extent by motor-vehicle manufacturers. In this area too, we have occupied a leading position on the international market for many years.



Basically speaking, the demands that a shock absorber has to satisfy are very simple:

  • To ensure ride comfort, as little damping as possible.
  • To ensure road safety, as much damping as necessary.

Conventional shock absorbers have fixed, predetermined damping settings. These settings are bound to amount to a compromise in favour of safety. This calls for high damping forces that are not always ideal in changing road conditions. This situation has led to the development of variable damping systems that adapt automatically to the driving situation at any given moment.

Effect of intact shock absorbers

Road safety

  • The wheels do not hop on any normal road surface.
  • The vehicle does not swerve when braked.
  • The vehicle does not skid due to insufficient roadholding when cornering.

Ride comfort

  • The vehicle body does not continue to oscillate up and down after the wheels have encountered a bump.
  • The body does not rise and fall to an increasing extent over a series of bumps.
  • No body squat when accelerating and no severe dive when braking.

Shock absorber operating principle

When the wheels pass over a surface irregularity, a jolt is transmitted upwards and compresses the suspension. The suspension itself has the task of preventing the sprung mass M2 = vehicle body and load from coming into contact with the unsprung mass M1 = axles and wheels. After the springs have been compressed they try to force the sprung mass away from the unsprung mass.

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