PMC Harvesters Ltd

Optimising the Structural Design of Detasseling Machine using Ansys

Optimising the Structural Design

PDSVISION helped PMC Harvesters Ltd improve the design and performance of the chassis of their new detasseling machine. Using FEA structural analysis, Ansys software and technical knowledge from PDSVISION, design modifications were recommended to optimise the overall performance of the chassis and consequently the machine.

Background

The detasseling machine is used to remove the pollen producing flowers from the tops of corn plants using two sets of interchangeable tooling that are mounted on the front of the machine. One set of tooling provides a ‘cutting’ function, whereas the other set provides a ‘pulling’ function. The rest of the machine must pass through the crop with minimal damage.

Fig. 1: CAD Model (Courtesy: PMC Harvesters)

The results of the FEA analysis enabled PDSVISION to recommend areas of improvement to the current design. This gave PMC Harvesters the confidence to proceed with building the chassis, incorporating PDSVISION’s recommendations.

Challenge

PMC Harvesters wanted to enhance the performance of the prototype detasseling machine by improving the design of the chassis. During use, this machine is subjected to many different loads and combinations, broadly separated into two categories: ‘Road going loads’ and ‘Field operational loads’. During this project, PDSVISION considered four load cases in each of these categories.

In order to provide the recommendations for a new chassis design, PDSVISION used Ansys Mechanical structural mechanics software to closely analyse these 8 load cases each with accelerations of varying magnitudes in different directions to identify the stress contours.

Fig. 2: Stress Contours (Courtesy: PMC Harvesters)

Solution

The initial geometry provided by PMC Harvesters consisted of solid parts. In order to obtain a good balance between accuracy of results and solution time, a model with shell and beam elements was used for the analysis. This was achieved by midsurfacing the original solid geometry.

Using Ansys Mechanical software it was found that the majority of the steel chassis experienced stress levels below the yield stress. However, some areas were identified with stress levels above the yield stress. These results enabled PDSVISION to recommend areas of improvement to the current design. This gave PMC Harvesters the confidence to proceed with building the chassis, incorporating PDSVISION’s recommendations. The process was completed with physical testing which validated the improved design.

Fig. 3: Total deformation (Courtesy: PMC Harvesters)

Business Benefits

The FEA analysis carried out by PDSVISION team along with their close working relationship with PMC Harvesters throughout the project improved the chassis design, therefore optimising the overall performance of the machine. The project met the required objectives and the new chassis are already being shipped around the world.

About PMC Harvesters Ltd

PMC Harvesters Ltd has been manufacturing pea and bean harvesters in Fakenham, Norfolk since 1970. These machines are in use throughout the world. Recently, the company has developed a new machine for detasseling seed corn.

ANSYS

Ansys

Ansys Mechanical is a finite element analysis (FEA) software used to perform structural analysis using advanced solver options, including linear dynamics, nonlinearities, thermal analysis, materials, composites, hydrodynamic, explicit, and more.

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