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How Adjustable Shock Absorbers Play a Critical Role in Prototyping

Selecting shock absorbers (dampers) for any application is much more complex than simply satisfying the dimensional requirements. Shock absorbers of all shapes and sizes come with varying valving and force capabilities. Many people purchase several shock absorbers and try one after another until the ideal valving is found, but this route is costly and time-consuming. QA1 can speed up this process by using an adjustable shock absorber during the prototype and validation stage, testing a wide range of force curves and allowing back-to-back testing through a multitude of scenarios.

Force and Velocity  

When evaluating the appropriate shock absorber for your application, the force and velocity your system travels plays a critical role in defining proper shock valving. It is this process that slows movement and enables smoother, controlled system operation. Light duty applications such as a man-door typically don’t see high velocities with a lot of force.  As such, smaller light duty shock absorbers can be used to dampen the movement, thus eliminating an undesirable harsh ‘slamming’ effect. Other systems, like a suspension on a vehicle, can move at much faster velocities while simultaneously exerting several tons of pressure on the system. In these applications, a heavier duty shock is needed to dampen this movement and smooth operation.

How to select the correct valving

From the examples above, it’s easy to see why shock absorbers aren’t a one-size-fits-all item. Your application may require stiffer or looser valving depending on the environment it’s operating within. Selecting the appropriate valving does not need to be a daunting task.  However, many people purchase several shock absorbers and try one after another until the ideal valving is found.  This route is costly and can cause significant project delay due to excessive time between tests.  QA1 has proven product solutions to speed up your prototyping while optimizing the proper valving for your particular application.

The key to this is using an adjustable shock absorber during the prototype and validation stage of your design. QA1’s adjustable shocks can test a wide range of force curves with a simple turn of the dial for quick shock valving adjustments and back-to-back testing through a multitude of scenarios. This can expedite your prototyping phase and, ultimately, your product’s time to market.

While an adjustable shock may not be the long-term solution when your project enters production, QA1 can use your prototype test results to produce and supply a production-intent model. With our dedicated on-site engineering team and vast manufacturing and sourcing capabilities, QA1 can significantly minimize excessive time and costs and help speed optimize your time to market.


About QA1

Founded in 1993, QA1 is an industry leader in shock absorbers, suspension components, composite driveshafts, rod ends, spherical bearings and related accessories for the motorsports and industrial markets. QA1 has more than 100,000 square feet of office and manufacturing space in Lakeville, Minnesota. The state-of-the-art facility includes a complete line of CNC machines, hydraulic presses, filament winding and laser cutting equipment that permit all-inclusive shock absorber, suspension component and composite driveshaft manufacturing and assembly operations. QA1’s quality system is certified to the ISO 9001 standard.

For help with your next project, please send your inquiries to or call 952-985-6387 – We would love to hear from you.