Heavy Equipment Certification

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FOPS Impact Simulation

The certification of heavy equipment can be significantly expensive due to the scale of the structures involved. AMCE specialises in simulation analysis using the proven and industry accepted method of Finite Element Analysis. This method enables rapid and accurate structural certification and can be used to simulate drop tests, load to failure and working load (yield) tests. Using simulation eliminates the need for expensive destructive testing to demonstrate compliance with applicable design standards.


Case Study

Recently, AMCE was tasked by an earthmoving company to rapidly redesign and certify a Falling Object Protective Structure (FOPS) to protect an operator from falling objects in accordance with Australian Standard 4988-2002. The certification is typically achieved through a laboratory drop test (227kg dropped from 5.2m), however, the timeframe did not permit an iterative redesign and fabrication process for traditional certification.

Using modern simulation analysis (Finite Element), the physical test was reproduced using ANSYS Workbench and included the realistic but highly non-linear factors such as material yielding and dynamic loading that are typical of a drop test.

A ductile but high strength steel alloy was selected to absorb the impact. This material was carefully modelled to account for yielding and subsequent irreversible plastic deformation which is critical to energy absorption.

The simulated impact occurred over 25 milliseconds at which the kinetic energy of the impacting mass was converted into the potential (effectively spring) energy of the deformed structure.

The final model had approximately 100,000 degrees of freedom and took about 12 hours to solve. This technique allowed several design concepts to be simulated and assessed for compliance before fabrication and the customer received a completed design package within a suitable time frame.

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