Operator and Machine Models for Dynamic Simulation of Construction Machinery

University dissertation from Institutionen för konstruktions- och produktionsteknik

Abstract: VIRTUAL PROTOTYPING has been generally adopted in product development in order to minimise the traditional reliance on testing of physical prototypes. It thus constitutes a major step towards solving the conflict of actual increasing development cost and time due to increasing customer demands on one side, and the need to decrease development cost and time due to increasing competition on the other. Particularly challenging for the off-road equipment industry is that its products, working machines, are complex in architecture. Tightly coupled, non-linear sub-systems of different technical domains make prediction and optimisation of the complete system’s dynamic behaviour difficult.Furthermore, in working machines the human operator is essential for the performance of the total system. Properties such as productivity, fuel efficiency, and operability are all not only dependent on inherent machine properties and working place conditions, but also on how the operator uses the machine. This is an aspect that is traditionally neglected in dynamic simulations, because the modelling needs to be extended beyond the technical system.The research presented in this thesis focuses on wheel loaders, which are representative for working machines. The technical system and the influence of the human operator is analysed, and so-called short loading cycles are described in depth. Two approaches to rule-based simulation models of a wheel loader operator are presented and used in simulations. Both operator models control the machine model by means of engine throttle, lift and tilt lever, steering wheel, and brake only – just as a human operator does. Also, only signals that a human operator can sense are used in the models. It is demonstrated that both operator models are able to adapt to basic variations in workplace setup and machine capability. Thus, a “human element” can be introduced into dynamic simulation of working machines, giving more relevant answers with respect to operator-influenced complete-machine properties such as productivity, fuel efficiency, and operability already in the concept phase of the product development process.