Mass has a large impact on energy, fuel and material costs, consequently weight reduction analysis is a frequent requirement in many sectors, particularly the transportation industry, where weight has a direct impact on operational costs and profits. Also reducing weight often has beneficial effects on the plant machinery dynamics and response. Aecentus has built up an extensive portfolio of projects in this area and we understand how vital minimising unnecessary mass is to our clients.
We have years of experience in combining various analysis techniques with the view to reducing machinery and vehicle mass. Techniques range from hand calculations for the specification of structural members to more complex non-linear FEA to check for stability or fatigue failure.
Material handling road vehicle
This plant machine had a target weight reduction of 7 tons in order to comply with road legal load limits. This was achieved using FEA to model the vehicle with the aim of removing or reducing the size and thickness of redundant structural members and panels.
Chassis’ for passenger vehicles are a common material removal application. This lightweight chassis was optimised using FEA to model the full vehicle chassis. The solution required the use of weight saving cut-outs in many of the structural members.
Analysis methods used include evaluation of service life (weld fatigue), stability and ultimate capacity.
Another typical application is in the logistics industry. Here the chassis mass will not only affect running costs but also the maximum allowable payload to avoid exceeding road haulage limits. This particular application involved commercial vehicles designed for the transportation of steel coils with a total payload of 28 tons. This left strict limitations on the mass, which was a particular challenge when optimising critical welded junctions.