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Brake Evaluation
Release Date: September 2006

As common test among major automotive manufacturers, brake testing isn't only required by government regulation, it is also a safety measure that any consumer would definitely want undertaken before putting a vehicle into use.

Brake system testing is normally carried out during various stages of the manufacturing and design process. It starts from the initial development stage, followed by endurance, lab and track testing, and continues through the production process for an added quality assurance.

The instrumentation of brake testing includes the use of various specialty sensors, including the pedal force sensor.

A pedal force sensor operates by being attached to the top of the brake pedal in the test vehicle. The pedal force sensor at the brake pedal accurately measures and records applied forces during scheduled tests. These tests are carried out to validate the integrity of the brake system in order to comply with U.S. government regulations.

To ensure that the pedal force sensors are suitable for brake testing, sensor manufacturers such as Futek have developed these sensors with industry required features. These features consist of low profile height & light weight design to minimize the effect of having the sensor in the braking system. Off-center loading and spike resistant loading are also included to simulate real life conditions while applying the brakes.

Additionally, manufacturers such as Futek are offering these particular sensors with a TEDS (Transducer Electronic Data Sheet) feature. This feature is in accordance with an industry standard known as IEEE 1451.4 Class 2 standard. It allows the sensor to work as a Plug and Play smart sensor. As a result, it helps simplify the configuration of electronic measuring instrumentation and improve the accuracy and reliability of the test data by minimizing any human errors.

TEDS is just one example of the pedal force sensor's improvements. Since its creation in the mid 1960's, the pedal force sensor continues to develop. Future enhancements such as the digital and wireless outputs are in the works, and could be effectively utilized for remote recording of test data for programs such as wall crash testing.

Printed in Automotive Testing Technology International Sept. 2006 Issue.

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