We were recently treated to a backstage look at KW Suspension’s plant in Fichtenberg, Germany. Not familiar with Fichtenberg? You’re not alone.
This mostly rural town of about 2500 people sits 45 minutes or so northeast of Stuttgart. Most of the local economy revolves around farming, some tourism, and supporting the locals. On the south side of town lie the ultramodern …
Each kit begins life as a drawing on a computer in the engineering department. Here KW gets a feel for the development cycle of the kit while working out several packaging and fitting issues. Then they can move on to the prototype.
Klaus Frank is the head development engineer for KW, and he oversees the development of the prototype units as well as the entire project from concept to execution. (Trivia: Not all German men are named Klaus. Some are named Horst, and some are named Jurgen. We also met an Ed.)
A prototype kit is assembled in the KW engineering department. This kit will undergo bench testing as well as plenty of real-world development.
One of the best development tools KW has access to, besides Klaus Frank’s highly tuned butt (wait, that came out wrong), is this seven-post chassis dyno. This sort of testing device is usually reserved for F1 teams and OEMs. KW engineers use it to give their products a serious suspension workout in a compressed time frame, all inside a single room.
Frank performs the final tuning of each kit on both the road and the track. For much of their development, KW uses an excellent mountain road located minutes from their facility. Of course, there’s also the legendary Nürburgring just a couple hours away.
Part of the development of each kit includes loading a coil-over-equipped car with several times its rated capacity in dead weight. KW does this to check for bottoming…
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