Using Simcenter SCADAS Recorder enables farming equipment firm to enhance durability of its products
Kverneland Group develops, produces and distributes agricultural machinery and services. It has factories in Norway, Denmark, Germany, France, Netherlands, Italy, Russia and China. The Group has its own sales company in 19 countries and exports to another 60 countries.http://www.kvernelandgroup.com
- Kerteminde, Denmark
Kverneland Group Kerteminde AS (Kverneland Group) is a leading international farming equipment company that develops, produces and distributes agricultural machinery and services. The company’s focus on innovation enables it to provide a unique and broad range of highquality products, including seeding equipment, forage and bale equipment, spreading, spraying and electronic solutions for agricultural tractors and machinery.
The Kverneland Group, which was founded in 1879 and is headquartered in Norway, has factories in Norway, Denmark, Germany, France, Netherlands, Italy, Russia and China. It has its own sales companies in 19 countries and exports to another 60 countries.
One of the key metrics for farming equipment is durability, and Kverneland Group was very interested in reinforcing and branding the durability of its implements. The challenge for Kverneland Group engineers is to design implements that are durable, meaning that the lifetime of the implement fulfills customers’ expectations. The machines are used in conditions that vary greatly from market to market. Individual users also operate machines withvarying degrees of roughness, so Kverneland Group engineers suspected that their existing durability testing process resulted in over-testing designs, leading to results that weren’t indicative of the true durability of the products.
To overcome this issue, Kverneland Group adopted a testing system consisting of Simcenter SCADAS™ Recorder hardware and Simcenter™ Testxpress software and Simcenter™ Tecware software from Siemens Digital Industries Software. The newly acquired equipment will help engineers validate different load scenarios and design realistic lifetime tests. Simcenter SCADAS Recorder and Simcenter Testxpress are used jointly to collect dynamic load data during field and laboratory tests, and Simcenter Tecware is used to streamline the process of consolidating load data and analyzing durability characteristics.
Implements typically must withstand high loads, so loads must be measured accurately. For instance, with every cut, 50 to 60 kilograms of grass can flow through the mower. Two to three tons can flow through the machine every minute. Many local constraints exacerbate the need for extensive testing. Therefore, Kverneland Group is using Siemens Digital Industries Software testing products to collect more data to determine a number of possible load profiles.
To illustrate the local nature of this issue, consider the following: crops are heavier in Ireland than in the Benelux. Clover is denser compared to grass. Some Asian countries harvest sorghum Sudan grass hybrids, a very thick type of crop almost like bamboo. Benelux farmers cut and harvest several times a year. Some American farmers cut only once a year. Kverneland Group exports to the United States, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and Korea, so its equipment needs to operate effectively under a variety of conditions.
Experience shows that the greatest damage can be caused by driving on a road. Modern tractors are more comfortable and less sensitive to noise and vibration. As a result, farmers tend to drive at excessive speeds on bumpy field roads, exposing implements to severe conditions.
New designs are also influenced by economic trends. With rising fuel prices, implements need to be as light and as efficient as possible to reduce fuel consumption. Both the weight and size of the implements need to be optimized.
It is critical that the Kverneland Group gains a precise understanding of the lifetime loads its farming equipment will undergo to succeed at durability engineering. As such, testing teams determine dynamic loading through physical testing in the field, on the road and in the laboratory.
Collecting more proof points
By using Simcenter SCADAS Recorder, Kverneland Group has received more detailed information about load profiles. Using these products increases the company’s knowledge of the load history, and enables it to reproduce more realistic load conditions and test according to the majority of load conditions.
Previously, Kverneland Group used manual testing with five or six points (typically, strain sensors) of reference on its teststand. Now strain gauge sensors are placed on up to 30 measuring points, providing much more accurate results. Consequently, Kverneland Group is able to perform:
Practical measurements of how the equipment will react to field work
Practical measurements of how the equipment will react to road transport
Measurements of how the equipment will react to standardized bumps
An evaluation of results, determining how high the strain was on the equipment
An analysis of which sensor signals are most important
A check on values used for accelerated lifetime testing
Kverneland Group is very satisfied with Simcenter Testxpress for data acquisition. The company has been recording time data in the field using the Simcenter SCADAS Recorder embedded global positioning system (GPS) sensor. Engineers are able to acquire the most diverse loading data from various sensors, including strain, pressure, flow, position and acceleration sensors. They are able to visualize events on the map using Simcenter Tecware exported to the Google Earth feature.
“Our engineers are very happy with the insight delivered by this information,” says Jan Vestergaard Madsen, head of the design department at Kverneland Group. “Over time, this improved insight will help define standard profiles to reproduce realistic tests in the lab.”
Henrik Christensen Aarenstrup, a project engineer at Kverneland Group, adds, “It is particularly easy to check values and to find back-measured data. The engineers get a complete overview of the measured data in the easiest way.”
Kverneland Group engineers have found that Siemens Digital Industries Software testing solutions enable them to get better data more quickly, enhancing their knowledge about loads.
They are able to accurately measure loads in various conditions, such as mowing with one side of the implement folded and mowing with unequally suspended implements. They are also able to perform direct measurement of loads for use in calculations, and use strain gauges and acceleration, position, pressure and temperature sensors to measure the effect across a number of factors.
Kverneland Group engineers have already tried pressure, flow and temperature measurements for hydraulics applications and have been very pleased with the ease of use and results. The engineers expect a lot from additional sensor information, such as measuring the hydraulic folding and unfolding of the implement, which will provide more insight into the hydraulic forces on the implement. Ultimately, they intend to use loading data as input for fatigue life analysis using finite element analysis (FEA).
Seeking continuous improvement
Meanwhile, engineers continue to work on improving Kverneland Group’s durability engineering process, looking to add torque and power requirements and provide full information about the load history. The collected data can also be used as input for finite element modeling (FEM) and fatigue life prediction using Palmgren-Miner Rule (measuring damage accumulation). Since it’s impractical from a cost and time management perspective to travel around the world to collect information on every machine, Kverneland Group engineers use Simcenter Tecware to provide a verified test track or procedure that matches the customer’s usage.