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Excavator structural stress - hand calculations
B. Ravindra
Excavator design engineers need to be familiar with methods to calculate pivot forces arising out of the specific kinematics of excavator and structural stresses. Finite Element Analysis methods notwithstanding, doing calculations by hand provides engineers with a keen insight on the magnitude of forces at play and stresses that are set up in his structural designs. These are key inputs to avoid expensive FEA iterations for basic section sizing. This document

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Ravindra

forces arising out of the specific kinematics of excavator and structural stresses.

Finite Element Analysis methods notwithstanding, doing calculations by hand

provides engineers with a keen insight on the magnitude of forces at play and

stresses that are set up in his structural designs. These are key inputs to avoid

expensive FEA iterations. This document gives a method to compute section

stresses once pivot forces are know. It is assumed that readers are familiar with

basic strength of materials and applied mechanics concepts.

force position. Just for the purposes of this sample calculation let’s assume the

maximum breakout force is 45kN and acting at the corner of the bucket. Link

lengths and position for maximum force are assumed to be known to arrive at forces

in the links. Section dimensions of Arm structure are given in later images.

Once the Breakout force vector is completely defined it is not necessary to calculate

the link & pivot forces to get sectional stresses. It is given here only to let readers get

a feel for the magnitude of the forces in links arising out of breakout force and the

linkage system. A Breakout force of 4.5 Tons sets-up pin forces of 16.5 Tons in the

Arm. That is what you get as a consequence of the excavator 4-bar mechanism. A

similar feel for forces in boom pivots can rationally explain why an excavator boom

is more generously dimensioned than the Arm.

For sectional calculations, Arm is oriented with the horizontal axis passing through

bucket pivot and the arm cylinder pivot (on the arm). A typical hand calculation of

stresses would require about four to six sections analyzed and about ten sections

analyzed in the boom. Sections in the arm are numbered from 1 to 4. There would

be at least a couple more passing through the two end pivots. We would

demonstrate the hand calculation in section 3-3.

There is nothing sacrosanct about the orientation of the section. Sections can be

taken any which ways but then interpretations of stresses become meaningless

when section orientations results in plate thicknesses very different from actual.

Also one is interested not just in stresses at one section but in a number of sections

along the length of the structure and a non-uniform distribution of sections just

doesn’t help.

LOAD CASE: MAX BREAKOUT FORCE of 45kN (Forces left of section 3-3)

Subtended angle w.r.t section 5-5

Ff 16414 daN f 1.6 deg

j

Wb

Wb 710 mm W hb

2

br

Section properties: 3-3

4

2 Area moment of Inertia Y-Y Iyy 31924067mm

Sectional area Acc 5369mm

4 4

Area moment of Inertia X-X Ixx 52197335mm Area moment of Inertia, Polar Ip 84121402mm

Dimension to outer fiber of top plate (for stress due to bending about X axis) d bx 127.2mm

Dimension to outer fiber of side plate (for stress due to bending about Y axis of section)

d by 102.5mm

Arm side plate thickness (for stress due to torsion & transverse shear stress) ds 6 mm

Torsion area = Area bounded by the center line of the wall cross-section

At ( 185 6) mm ( 254.4 6) mm

Ixx Iyy

Section modulus X-X Wx Section modulus Y-Y Wy

dbx d by

Shear area

2 2

Areas of side half plates area1 727.2mm area2 1230 mm

A sx 2 area1 60.6 mm area2 124.2mm

f

Fjv Fj sin j

Vertical component of forces Ffv Ff sin f

Horizontal component of Breakout force

Vertical component of Breakout force

Vertical distances from 5-5 axis to section centroid (refer section dimensions above)

254.4 d jv d fv 26.1 mm

d fv 69.8 mm

2

d fh 800 mm d jh d fh 203.3mm

Bending moment at section 3-3 Mbx Ffh d fv Ffv d fh Fjh d jv Fjv d jh

Mbx

Stress due to bending along X-X at 3-3 bx bx 169.541MPa

Wx

M by Fbrh W hb

loading

Mby

Stress due to bending along Y-Y at 3-3 by by 30.003MPa

Wy

.d

d A cc

Torsion 3

f Fbrv W hb .f 1.296 10 daN m

f

Torsional stress s 2 At ds .s 24.283MPa

h Ixx2 ds h 40.899MPa

2

Maximum Principal stress bx by d bx by d 2

max 2 2 s h

max 192.05MPa

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