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Engineering Failure Analysis 48 (2015) 153165

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Engineering Failure Analysis


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/engfailanal

Failure analysis of frame crack on a wide-body mining dump


truck
Sen Zheng a, Kai Cheng a, Jixin Wang a,, Qingde Liao b, Xiaoguang Liu c, Weiwei Liu a
a

School of Mechanical Science and Engineering, Jilin University, Changchun, China


Xiamen XGMA Heavy Industry Co., Ltd., Xiamen, China
c
Aviation University of Air Force, Changchun, China
b

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 24 March 2014
Received in revised form 15 November 2014
Accepted 17 November 2014
Available online 27 November 2014
Keywords:
Wide-body mining dump truck
Frame
Crack failure
Dynamic test
Stress concentrations

a b s t r a c t
The wide-body mining dump truck is a type of heavy-duty, off-highway truck that is
mainly used for transporting rock and ore in open-pit mines. Because of various potholes,
obstacles, slopes and curves on the bumpy road, the frame of the truck is impacted by the
multiform large loads from ground. After ve to six months in service, cracks tend to
appear in the frame of the truck, near the rear seating of the front leaf springs. To identify
the cause of these failures and propose an approach for improving the design, a practical
method combined with nite element analysis (FEA), as well as static and dynamic testing,
was applied. FEA was used to analyze the cause of the cracking, after which the design of
the frame was improved. Static and dynamic tests were conducted to verify the FEA results
of the improved frame. Analysis results indicated that the stresses are concentrated in the
frame near the rear seating of the front leaf springs, which results in the premature appearance of fatigue cracks. A solution for preventing the appearance of these cracks was proposed. The improved frame has been in service for more than twelve months in the
mine and no cracks have appeared to date.
2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
The wide-body mining dump truck (WMDT) is used in many small-scale mines in China. Considering the bad mine roads
having potholes, obstacles, slopes and curves, and the inuence of manufacturing cost and service cycle, with a short designlife of 2 years, the WMDT uses leaf spring for its suspension instead of hydro-pneumatic suspension. Hence it is a transition
vehicle between traditional mining dump truck and the highway heavy dump truck. One type of WMDT is shown in Fig. 1.
The model that was the subject of this study has an unladen weight of 24 t, a maximum load capacity of 72 t, and a normal
speed of 10 km/h when carrying a full load or 50 km/h when empty. However, after ve to six months in service, cracks tend
to appear in the frame near the rear seating of front leaf spring (RSFLS), which results in signicant downtime.
Either nite element analysis (FEA) or testing alone could not fully analyze the causes of these frame failures. Rather, any
analysis of the cracking would require a method that combined both FEA and testing [14]. Mi et al. presented a method for
predicting the fatigue life of the frame of a 220-t mining dump truck through multibody dynamic analysis and the application of the nite element method [5,6]. Feng et al. analyzed the static, modal, and response spectra of the FEA model and
conrmed its feasibility as a means of verifying the failure of a dump trucks push rod [7]. Shao et al. presented an analysis
Corresponding author. Tel.: +86 130 6920 1036.
E-mail address: 66227616@qq.com (J. Wang).
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.engfailanal.2014.11.013
1350-6307/ 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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S. Zheng et al. / Engineering Failure Analysis 48 (2015) 153165

method based on dynamic strain measurements of actual road surface conditions combined with FEA, which was applied to
the analysis of the failure of the drive axle housing of a mining dump truck, using ANSYS software [8].
These previous efforts provided important guidelines for this study, given that the application of the nite element model,
the loads to be applied, and the boundary conditions can be referenced in these papers [914]. The interaction between the
frame and the leaf springs also plays an important role in the appearance of cracks in the frame. The design of the frame must
not only provide sufcient mechanical strength, but also satisfy the technical process requirements. With a goal of solving
these practical problems, we set out to devise an effective method of improving the design of the frame. To identify the reasons for the frame cracking and improve the mechanical strength, FEA and static/dynamic tests are carried out. The frame
was analyzed using FEA, after which measures were implemented to improve the stress distribution. A static test was conducted to verify the improvement in the frame design by comparing the measured results with those obtained with FEA. A
dynamic test was performed to further conrm the improvement, after which the results were compared with those of the
static test to determine a matching coefcient. Based on the FEA and static test results, the dynamic test data for the original
frame could be acquired by multiplying the FEA results by the matching coefcient. The research conducted during this
study is shown in Fig. 2.
2. FEA models
2.1. Frame and leaf spring seating
The frame, which connects the engine, cab, dump body, and other major parts, is a supportive and connective component
of a mining dump truck. The frame supports its own weight and other complex loads, such as impact loads from the suspension and gravitational loads imposed by other components. Therefore, the reliability of the frame directly affects the service
life of the WMDT and the technology that it employs. As shown in Fig. 3, the frame consists of two side rails and seven
welded crossbeams of different thicknesses. The side rails are designed as D-type box beams, and the second and third crossbeams are connected to the side rails through the leaf spring seatings. The other crossbeams, however, are welded to the
inner plates. The frame is fabricated from high-strength, low-alloy quenched and tempered Q460CFD steel, the specications
of which are listed in Table 1.
The leaf springs transfer forces and torques from the ground over which the WMDT is traveling. The leaf springs are rigidly xed to the front axle by two U-bolts, and their ends are connected to the frame through the leaf spring seatings, which
are bolted to the bottom surface and outside plates of the frame. Fig. 3 shows the openings in the frame near the RSFLS that
are required in order to access and tighten the xing bolts. When the truck travels over rough ground, the frame is subject to
alternating dynamic loads that cause bending and twisting. The leaf springs are connected to each RSFLS with pin rolls,
which bear more force than the slide of the front seating of the leaf spring, as shown in Fig. 3. Based on the results obtained
for the combined effects of TX, TY, TZ and RX, RY, RZ, it is clear that each RSFLS plays a pivotal role in transferring loads.
When the WMDT is turning or traversing a tilting surface, there is an X-direction force in the spring seating, which acts
toward the outer plate of the frame, while the main loads in the Y direction are the weight of the WMDTs dump body,
its payload, and its powertrain. When the WMDT starts to move or brakes, an inertia force is generated in the forward
direction, that is, the Z direction. Given the tight interfaces between the bolts, seating and frame, a torque is applied that
is a function of the distances, in the X, Y, and Z directions, between the bolts in this area. As a result, forces are generated
between the leaf spring and the side rail in all three directions [15,16].

Fig. 1. Crack failure of frame.

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S. Zheng et al. / Engineering Failure Analysis 48 (2015) 153165

Fig. 2. Paper analysis ow chart.

Fig. 3. RSFLS on the frame.

Table 1
Physical properties of Q460CFD.
Material

Density (kg/m3)

Elastic modulus (GPa)

Poissons ratio

Yield strength (MPa)

Ultimate strength (MPa)

Q460CFD

7850

200

0.3

460

510

2.2. Finite element model


To create a nite element model, those frame components of different thicknesses were analyzed separately using
SHELL181. The leaf springs were simulated using the COMBIN14 axial spring damper, which is a one-dimensional tensile
or compression unit. Regardless of bending or twisting, each node has three degrees of freedom (DOF), namely, the X, Y,
and Z axial movement. BEAM188 and LINK180 elements were used to model the connection between the frame and axles,
and the nodes were coupled to limit the DOF of the trunnion shaft. The nite element model had a total of 226,018 nodes and
234,097 elements, as shown in Fig. 4.
2.3. Loads and boundaries
In this analysis, 72 t and 8.3 t are selected as the quality as the payload and dump body respectively, giving a total of 80.3
t, uniformly distributed along the upper surface of the frame side rails and in the same position as in the actual WMDT. The
weight of the cab, engine, and dump body are simplied to a single downward force acting on a corresponding node on the
upper surface. Furthermore, the X, Y, and Z directions of the translational DOF of the tires are constrained, while the X, Y, and

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S. Zheng et al. / Engineering Failure Analysis 48 (2015) 153165

Fig. 4. FEA model of frame.

Fig. 5. Loads and boundaries.

Z directions of the translational DOF at the trunnion shaft are coupled. In addition, the translational DOF limits the leaf
springs in the X direction at the corresponding positions. If no special instruction is given, the previously mentioned loads
and constraints are applied to the following operating conditions, as shown in Fig. 5.
3. Static analysis
3.1. FEA of the original frame
Due to the versatility of the truck and the diversity of the conditions in which it is operated, several typical cases were
carried out in detailed analyses.
3.1.1. Static case with full load
The frame experiences pure bending when the WMDT is static on at ground. The deformation and stress in the frame
were analyzed for this case. It was observed that the maximum stress at that point in the side rail where a crack appears
is 165 MPa, as shown in Fig. 6(a). The overall strength of the model is expressed by the von Mises stress.
3.1.2. Hoisting condition
When the dump body is being hoisted up, the stress in the frame varies as the angle of the dump body increases. The
frame experiences the maximum bending load when the dump body is lifted up at the hoisting moment, which corresponds
to a typical pure bending working condition. From Fig. 6(b), the frame experiences large amounts of stress, peaking at
197 MPa.

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S. Zheng et al. / Engineering Failure Analysis 48 (2015) 153165

A.140MPa

A.88MPa

B.197MPa

B.165MPa

(a) Static case with full load

(b) Hoisting condition


A.139MPa

A.166MPa

B.200MPa
B.235MPa

(c) Obstacle surmounting condition

(d) Sinking condition

A.132MPa

B.143MPa

(e) Braking condition


Fig. 6. FEA results of the original frame at RSFLS.

3.1.3. Obstacle surmounting condition


The frame twists as the truck travels over uneven ground. The stress of the frame is worse under these conditions because
of the combined effects of bending and torsion. In this condition, the left front tire was lifted 200 mm above the ground to
simulate the surmounting of an obstacle. As shown in Fig. 6(c), the maximum stress was 235 MPa near the crack.
3.1.4. Sinking condition
Sinking is experienced as frequently as the surmounting of obstacles during actual driving and has a signicant effect on
the frame at the RSFLS. To simulate this condition, the left front tire was allowed to sink 200 mm below the ground surface.
As shown in Fig. 6(d), the maximum stress was 200 MPa at the bottom surface of the frame side rail near the RSFLS.

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S. Zheng et al. / Engineering Failure Analysis 48 (2015) 153165

3.1.5. Braking condition


Cracks most frequently occurred at that part of the frame where it connects to the suspension. This phenomenon is closely related to emergency braking. Therefore, it was necessary to analyze the stress intensity in the frame under the inuence of emergency braking. The RSFLS experiences greater impact forces than the front seating of front leaf spring because
the rear one is connected to the leaf spring by the pin roll. As a result, the reaction force acting on the bottom surface of the
frame is even larger. As shown in Fig. 6(e), the maximum stress was 143 MPa when the truck was in static balance.
3.1.6. Summary of FEA results for original frame
The FEA results show that the stresses at the crack position were larger and changed more abruptly than in other parts of
the frame. The maximum stress at the bottom surface of the frame at the crack position was 235 MPa when the WMDT was
surmounting an obstacle and 200 MPa when the WMDT was sinking. It is a load-transfer point between the bottom surface
of the frame and the RSFLS, and the stress increases as the RSFLS becomes narrower. The U-shaped hole forms a discontinuous section in the inner plate. This gives rise to the discontinuous and high-level stress. Modifying the shape of the hole
could decrease the level of the stress at the point where the cracks occur.
3.2. Improvement of the frame
To overcome the problem of cracking, measures should be implemented to improve the strength of the frame. Increasing
the thickness of the frame side rails would increase the strength but the stress concentration would remain as is. Using the
FEA method, while referring to design experience and the technical process requirements, the following methods were
adopted to improve the frame, as shown in Fig. 7.
 The U-shaped hole was changed to a circular hole, moved forward 135 mm, and elevated to the middle of the inner plate,
corresponding to the stress neutral layer. The number of holes and their total area are kept to a minimum while conforming to the technological requirements and the stress demands.
 By widening the RSFLS by 100 mm and increasing the distance between the two bolts on the bottom surface, the bending
moment acting on the frame is reduced.
 The section of the frame is changed from a D-type box beam to a form congured by welding two C-bend plates together.
This enhances the bending strength of the cover plate.
As shown in Fig. 8(a)(e), the stress of the improved frame is reduced at the RSFLS, and structures are implemented easily.
Overall, the stresses of frame are reduced signicantly. Comparison of the FEA results between the original and improved
frames is shown in Table 2. As the WMDT is surmounting an obstacle, the stress at the point where the cracks occur falls
from 235 MPa to 43 MPa, a reduction by 81.7%. The maximum stress of the improved frame is lower than of the original
frame. These ndings show that the maximum stresses of the dangerous areas are decreased. Furthermore, by modifying
the geometrical shape, the fatigue life of the frame could be greatly extended. In short, the use of FEA provides a reasonable
means for nding the position at which fatigue cracks occur. To further verify the rationality and practicality of the improved
frame, however, static and dynamic tests are necessary.
4. Static and dynamic tests
4.1. Static test on the test site
To check the validity of the FEA results, a static test of the improved frame design was carried out. The 32 measuring
points with 60 response channels consist of sensors and temperature compensators, which access to KYOWA strength testing system, as shown in Fig. 9. Based on the FEA results, the cases where the WMDT surmounts an obstacle and sinks into the
ground are shown in Fig. 10. For the complex stress state under such operating situations, the frame was measured by 45

D-type

two C-bend type

(a) Original frame

(b) Improved frame


Fig. 7. Original and improved frames.

S. Zheng et al. / Engineering Failure Analysis 48 (2015) 153165

159

A.13MPa

B.23MPa

(a) Static case with full load

A.100MPa

B.24MPa

(b) Hoisting condition

A.47MPa

B.43MPa

(c) Obstacle surmounting condition


Fig. 8. FEA results of the improved frame at RSFLS.

strain gauge rosettes to observe the stress distributions in the X, Y, and Z directions. The single strain gauge was used to measure the unidirectional bending strength of the frame. Two crucial locations near the crack were studied, with the aim of
obtaining the stresses labeled 6 and 8. Some of the measuring points are shown in Fig. 11.
As shown in Fig. 12(a)(d), the static full loads and hoisting loads were symmetrical. The values obtained show that the
stresses increased with the load. In the static test under the full-load condition, the maximum stress at measuring point 6
was 12 MPa, while that at measuring point 8 was 22 MPa. Similarly, for the hoisting condition, the maximum stress at
measuring point 6 was 19 MPa while that at measuring point 8 was 22 MPa. The data were reset to zero at 0 t under both

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S. Zheng et al. / Engineering Failure Analysis 48 (2015) 153165

A.45MPa

B.53MPa

(d) Sinking condition

A.83MPa

B.85MPa

(e) Braking condition


Fig. 8 (continued)

Table 2
Comparison of the FEA results between the original and improved frames (unit: MPa).
Position

Position A original
(see Fig. 6)

Position A improvement
(see Fig. 8)

Position B original
(see Fig. 6)

Position B improvement
(see Fig. 8)

Static case with full load


Hoisting condition
Obstacle surmounting condition
Sinking condition
Braking condition

140
88
166
139
132

13
100
47
45
83

165
197
235
200
143

23
24
43
53
85

working conditions. As shown in Fig. 12(e)(h), under the obstacle surmounting and sinking conditions, the data obtained at
measuring points 6 and 8 showed that the stresses on the frame were smaller.
To check the validity of the results of FEA, the FEA stress value was compared with the peak stress obtained in the static
test, as shown in Table 3. This comparison revealed that the maximum stress value obtained with the FEA most closely corresponded to the static test results, indicating that the nite element model of the frame was reliable.

4.2. Dynamic stress test


A dynamic test was performed with the WMDT, carrying a 55-t load over a typical worksite driving route, as shown in
Fig. 13. In the same way as for the static test, 32 measuring points with 46 response channels were glued onto the frame
surface [17]. The rst stage was the loading period, which began at 0 s and had a duration of 3185 s. During this period,
the truck was fully loaded with 26 t of material extracted from the mining site. From 3186 s to 5500 s, the truck was driven

S. Zheng et al. / Engineering Failure Analysis 48 (2015) 153165

Fig. 9. Testing photos of data acquisition system.

(a) Obstacle surmounting condition

(b) Sinking condition

Fig. 10. Typical static testing condition at test site.

Fig. 11. Measuring points.

161

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S. Zheng et al. / Engineering Failure Analysis 48 (2015) 153165

(a) Point6 at static case with full load

(c) Point 6 at hoisting condition

(e) Point 6 at obstacle surmounting condition

(g) Point 6 at sinking condition

(b) Point 8 at static case with full load

(d) Point 8 at hoisting condition

(f) Point 8 at obstacle surmounting condition

(h) Point 8 at sinking condition

Fig. 12. The static test results of measuring point 6 and 8.

on a long route which included combinations of curves and slopes. During this period, the truck stopped to make way for
other trucks for about 1000 s. Then, between 6501 s and 7000 s, the truck stopped to weigh and unload. The sampling frequency was 100 Hz, and the average speed was 10 km/h. The data collection system was DH5902, in which the strain signals
are amplied, ltered, and converted to digital signals. The conversion of the principal stress is done using the following
formula:

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S. Zheng et al. / Engineering Failure Analysis 48 (2015) 153165


Table 3
Comparison of the FEA and static test results at measuring point 6 and 8 (unit:MPa).
Position

P6.FEA (see Fig. 8)

P6.TEST (see Fig. 12)

Error (%)

P8.FEA (see Fig. 8)

P8.TEST (see Fig. 12)

Error (%)

Static case with full load


Hoisting condition
Obstacle surmounting condition
Sinking condition

13
100
47
45

12
19
46
34

8.3
373
2.2
32.3

23
24
43
53

22
22
40
50

4.5
9.1
7.5
6.0

Fig. 13. Practical route on mine.

q
rmax Ee0 e90
E

 p e0  e45 2 e45  e90 2


21  l
rmin
21 l

One strain gauge was afxed to the frame upper surface at measuring point 6, and another was afxed to the bottom surface of the side rail at measuring point 8, both near the crack position. Fig. 14(a) and (b) show the three stages of the test. The
rst stage was the loading period, during which the main impact was the payload being dropped into the dump truck, when
the maximum stress was 55 MPa at measuring point 6 and 42 MPa at measuring point 8. The second stage was the full-load
driving stage, during which the main impacts on the frame originated from the complex and irregular road conditions
including uphill and downhill, the tilting road surface, and the uneven ground. The maximum stress was 62 MPa at measuring point 6 and 54 MPa at measuring point 8. The third stage was the unloading of the truck, during which the maximum
stress was 77 MPa at measuring point 6 and 55 MPa at measuring point 8.
4.3. Determining the matching coefcient for the static and dynamic tests
To determine the relationship between the static and dynamic tests, a matching coefcient is proposed for the two
results. This is obtained from the improved frame by the application of the following equation. Furthermore, the dynamic
stress of the original frame can be calculated by multiplying the FEA results by the matching coefcient. Matching
coefcients of static and dynamic test are showed in Table 4.

Cm

rdmax rbasic
rstc

rstc

n
X

ri =n

i1

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S. Zheng et al. / Engineering Failure Analysis 48 (2015) 153165

(a) Time load history of measuring point 6

(b) Time load history of measuring point 8


Fig. 14. Stress data from measuring point 6 and 8.

Table 4
Matching coefcients of static and dynamic test (unit: MPa).
Position

Measuring point 6 (see Fig. 10)

Measuring point 8 (see Fig. 10)

Static test stress


Dynamic test stress
Basic stress
Matching coefcient

26.5
77.0
8.5
3.2

29.3
55.0
17.9
2.5

Table 5
Dynamic stress of the original frame based on matching coefcients (unit:MPa).
Position

Measuring point 6 (see Fig. 10)

Measuring point 8 (see Fig. 10)

Static case with full load


Hoisting condition
Obstacle surmounting condition
Sinking condition
Braking condition

451.8
283.9
535.7
448.5
425.9

410.8
490.5
585.1
497.9
356.1

Cm: matching coefcient.


rdmax: the maximum stress in dynamic test.
rbasic: the basic stress in dynamic test.
rstc : the average stress in static test.
ri: the working stress in static test.

S. Zheng et al. / Engineering Failure Analysis 48 (2015) 153165

165

4.4. Comparison between original and improved frames


The results of the FEA and static testing for the improved design were found to be consistent. The maximum stress value
of the original frame, as observed in the dynamic test, could be determined by multiplying the static FEA result by the matching coefcient for the same given measuring point. For the modied design under the same loads, the stresses of the
improved frame could be smaller than the original frame. As shown in Table 5, some values of the stresses of the original
structure at the measuring points near the crack were mostly close to or in excess of yield limit of 460 MPa. For this reason,
cracks would appear within a relative short operating time.
5. Conclusions
Through analysis and the calculation of the matching coefcient for the static and dynamic tests, it was possible to calculate the dynamic data for the original frame. The resulting values were extremely large and the stress concentration was
severe. Furthermore, it was proven that the stresses in the frame near the RSFLS were a result of the unreasonable design.
The two main reasons for the appearance of cracking in the original frame were the complex and large interaction loads
between the frame and the RSFLS, and another was the unreasonable design of the original frame at the RSFLS.
The problem of the cracking could be resolved through the application of several improvements. Changing the frame section
enhanced the bending strength of the frame. Modifying the openings in the frame ensured that the interface between the inner
plate and bottom surface was continuous. Making the RSFLS wider reduced the bending moment between the bolts that affects
the stresses. All the above measures were proposed to reduce the stress concentration, which leads to the cracking.
The FEA method indicated that these improvements caused the stress in the frame to fall sharply from 235 MPa to 43 MPa
at the position of the cracking. The required strength and technical requirements continued to be satised. The practicality of
the improved frame was veried through static and dynamic tests. The improved frame has been in service for more than
twelve months without the appearance of any cracking.
The matching coefcient used to calculate the dynamic testing results for the original frame involves a reference function,
for which further research is necessary. In addition, a study should be conducted on a matching coefcient for the frame and
related suspension system, and how it affects the dynamic response of the frame. This topic will be addressed in the next
phase of our research. However, the FEA, and static/dynamic tests conducted as part of this study cannot accurately analyze
or measure the residual stresses in the welds, although these should not substantially inuence the cracking problem.
Acknowledgements
This research was nancially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Contact No.
51075179. The authors also would like to express their gratitude to Xiamen XGMA Heavy Industry Co. Ltd. for their support
of this work.
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