Meeting the diverse demands of market applications with sophisticated, and market leading mechanical solutions has been the simple principle which KONI has used to develop the technical features of all its shock absorbers. Having made such components since the late 1940s, the company has gained extensive experience in the field and is among the leaders when it comes to high performance.
Vehicle damping has always been a compromise between comfort and roadholding. An obvious example is a Formula 1 racing car which offers the best possible roadholding but with minimal comfort. In a personal or sportscar, one expects comfort combined with safe road-holding. Minimum damping is required for comfort whilst strong damping is needed for stability. This conflict of goals cannot be effectively solved with conventional front and rear shock absorbers.
Position-dependent shock absorbers will give you extra comfort, as they allow more movement of your car but then the roadholding is inferior. Sudden bumps in the road will still be very unpleasant. Pneumatic and electronic-adjustable shock absorbers may improve roadholding and give variable peformance but the disadvantage of such complex systems is that they are very expensive and time-consuming to set up correctly.
KONl offers what is an ideal solution with Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) technology in its shock absorbers. Specifically designed for personal and sportscars, the technology is purely mechanical in nature, thus removing any cost, reliability, or complexity problems which can arise from using electronically-controlled suspension components.
In general suspension terms, the conflict between comfort and handling can be split in two different frequency areas: for comfort, with the suspension moving in a high frequency area (± 10 Hz), it is necessary for low damping forces for the vehicle to remain comfortable. For handling, with the suspension moving in a low frequency area (± 1 Hz), it is necessary for high damping forces for the vehicle to remain safe and in control.
Conventional shock absorbers are unable to solve this conflict; however, if you are able to create a shock absorber which can change the damping force level in relation to the frequency of the movement, you will be able to solve this conflict. KONI’s FSD technology does just that.
In standard shock absorbers, the main damping characteristic is defined by the oil flow going through the piston assembly. Combining this standard damping characteristic with the FSD feature, KONl added a special valve which is able to control a parallel oil flow next to the one going through the piston. This parallel oil flow is closed by the FSD feature, giving a rise in damping force almost linear to the time that the piston is moving in one direction.
Put simply, the FSD feature is a hydraulic amplifier that delays the build-up of pressure. In effect, an extra tuning option has been created in order to get the best possible combination of handling and comfort. Since it is an integrated part of the hydraulic valve system inside the damper, no additional cables, sensors or any other electronic devices are needed to operate an FSD unit.
In comparison with costly systems which work on the basis of computer technology, complex electronics and sensors, FSD is presented as the simplest and most economical way to significantly improve the ride and driving characteristics of every car.
Now, the company has used the technology for its new Special Active damper product line to provide what it claims to be ‘an unparalleled ride and handling experience’. The Special Active damper recognizes the road condition and driving style, providing a superior ride and handling.
“The KONI front and rear dampers, with Frequency Selective Damping technology, optimize the driving experience by offering greater roadholding, handling, stability and comfort, guaranteeing maximum safety in all conditions”, said Concetto Maletta, Design Responsible Engineer, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
KONI’s Active technology rivals the expensive electronic ride control systems built into many new cars at a fraction of the price. Additionally, those complicated electronic damping systems cannot be retrofitted into existing vehicle applications, whereas KONI’s Special Active dampers have a broad range from older cars through modern sedans, light trucks, and SUVs. They will be available in selected markets from this month.