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Wind Tunnel Balance

Wind Tunnel Balance - Full Scale System
Wind tunnel balance full size

Full Size System or Model Size System

The aerodynamic optimization of automotive vehicles and aircraft is based on experimental studies of forces and moments in wind tunnels. The HORIBA 6-Component wind tunnel balance system provides the ability to measure the aerodynamic components drag, side force, lift force, rolling moment, pitch moment and yawing moment efficiently and with the highest accuracy. For this reason the wind tunnel balance system has the following standard features:

  • Foundation Frame
  • Beta Drive
  • Balance Base Frame
  • Tension-Compression Units incl. Load Cells
  • Measuring Platform
  • Wheel Base and Wheel Track Adjustment for Wheel Spinning Units or Pad
  • Balance Data Acquisition System
  • Calibration Equipment
  • Proof of Accuracy and Repeatability
  • Zero Polar Calibration Function
  • Balance Overload and Safety System
  • Turntable
  • Electric and Control System
Segment: Automotive
Division: Mechatronics
Manufacturing Company: HORIBA Europe GmbH


  • Highly accurate measurement resolution and repeatability
  • Separation of aerodynamic forces and moments by computer
  • No mechanical levers or hydraulic systems to corrupt measurement data
  • Modular, integrated design for ease of installation and maintenance
  • High quality, performance-selected load cells, developed by HORIBA incorporating 
  • unique torsion ring principle
  • Knowledge and experience based on thirty years of successful balance systems
  • System design, build, test and calibration at HORIBA facility prior to delivery
  • Control and measurement system software based on MS Windows
  • Maintenance free balance system and long-term in-calibration operation. Calibration is good for minimum off five years

The benefits of having one company supplying both balance system and integrated moving ground plane simulation (Rolling Road) include:

  • Low risk integration of the components, interfaces and systems
  • One partner with responsibilities for all systems
  • Low risk system interfaces
  • Complete understanding and technical support for all aspects of the system

Together with our experts you can select the items and options adequate to your testing needs. However, the basic balance is equipped with the high accuracy measuring sensor from HORIBA. To arrange modifications of the vehicle under body within shortest possible time and for this reason cost-effective there is the possibility to integrate a vehicle lift system.

The HORIBA Full Scale 6 Component External Wind Tunnel  Balance is a platform-type balance. A computer program is used to calculate the forces Fx (Longitudinal-Force), Fy (Lateral-Force), Fz (Vertical-Force) and the three moments Mx (Roll-Moment), My (Pitch-Moment), Mz (Yaw-Moment) from the six force sensor signals. This ‘computer-separation’ method is to be distinguished from other balance types using mechanical separation methods.

Robust and maintenance free balance construction

The advantage of the HORIBA balance system is a very robust, simple, long term stable and maintenance free construction of the balance. No lever systems and no hydraulics are used. Also, no tare compensation system is necessary.

Highest accuracy of 0.02 % to 0.05 %

Even small force components in the order of 1 N (100 gram) can be measured while a static preload of approx. 150000 N (15 tons) in Vertical-Force direction is applied caused by the mass of the balance platform, wheel spinner masses and vehicle mass. By using high quality load cells and a precise high resolution digital amplifier system highest measurement accuracies in the order of 0.02 % to 0.05 % of full measuring range can be achieved. The measuring range of vertical force is up to 15000 N. Additionally, the cross interference of different force components is eliminated by special calibration and data evaluation methods.

Improvement of vehicle’s drag coefficient in the wind tunnel
Improvement of vehicle’s drag coefficient in the wind tunnel
In order to optimize vehicles dynamics with regard to their speed characteristics and acceleration, fuel economy as well as handling, it is necessary to improve the vehicle’s drag coefficient (Cd). Drag is the force that impacts the vehicle dynamics in direction of the airflow. The drag coefficient is the main measurement of a vehicle’s aerodynamics. In research and development, manufacturers work on optimizing various performance characteristics in wind tunnel tests, including the drag coefficient.
Improvement of aeroacoustics of vehicles in the wind tunnel
Improvement of aeroacoustics of vehicles in the wind tunnel
The improvement of vehicle’s aeroacoustics plays a major role in the development process regarding comfort and customer perception as well as safety. The necessary acoustic measurements are carried out in a wind tunnel. In order to optimize the wind noise performance for the driver it is necessary to minimize the aeroacoustics noise sources generated by the vehicle's shape.

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