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    Home : Application Briefs : Excavator Component Supplier Reduces Effort, Improves Results, and Satisfies Clients by Replacing Aging In-House Software with Modern Modeling Tools

Excavator Component Supplier Reduces Effort, Improves Results, and Satisfies Clients by Replacing Aging In-House Software with Modern Modeling Tools

Application Briefs
 
The Challenge
A machine component designer company needs an excavator model to illustrate how well its components would fit within the whole excavator system. As it is a component supplier, the company does not have the resources or sufficient knowledge to create a detailed model of the full system using traditional tools. Yet, it needs to be able to assure prospective customers that its components will perform within the desired specifications.

The company’s challenge is to easily create a model of the entire system that is detailed enough to predict the behavior of the system accurately when its component is attached. Would the addition of the component affect the safety and stability of the excavator operation? Would the loading capacity (performance) of the excavator be severely affected by its components? These are among the questions that the excavator system model has to answer.

In the past, the company would use custom software to address some of the basic design and safety issues. However, this software package, which was developed many years ago, provided only narrowly focused functionality that over time became inadequate as demands for system capability grew. In addition, it became increasingly difficult to maintain the software package in-house. Issues such as backward compatibility with upgraded hardware and software contributed to the need for a replacement solution.
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The Solution
MapleSim, a modern, high-performance physical modeling tool, is particularly suitable for modeling a multi-domain system, such as the excavator, where mechanical, hydraulic, and electrical components have to work smoothly side by side for proper operations. With the MapleSim multibody library components, it is a straightforward task to create the mechanical components of the excavator as a series of rigid bodies connected through revolute joints. It involves simply dragging and dropping the appropriate components into the drawing area and connecting them together. Literally, the task takes only a few minutes to complete. The resulting mechanical model is fully parameterized so that it can be applied to a range of excavator models sharing the basic linkage configurations, such as having two-piece or three-piece arm sections.

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With components from multiple physical domains (such as electric motors or hydraulic cylinders) readily available in MapleSim, modifying and expanding the basic model for further design analysis is simple and intuitive. Example tasks that can be performed using a MapleSim excavator model include the following:

  • Easily define and visualize the range of motion of the end bucket of the excavator arm of a given dimension
  • Create a 3-D visualization of the dynamic operation of the excavator system
  • Observe the dynamic response of the system when carrying a load
  • Perform stability analysis, such as identifying tip-over conditions
  • Analyze the loading force at various joint locations along the excavator structure
  • Execute parameter design optimization through Maple’s optimization procedures
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