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Mechanical Design for Concept Earthmover

Introduction.
Design 3D models for a track-type earthmoving equipment which integrates the dozing, scraping,
materials loading, hauling and dumping operations into a single piece of machine.
The machine has a unique bowl structure design that articulates around the chassis of the machine
in several directions. A dozer type blade is used to seal the bowl when it is fully loaded and serves
as a typical dozer blade in other earthmoving tasks. An ejector is incorporated to unload the
materials out of the bowl.
The machine is an autonomous equipment with all driving and operating functions controlled by
its onboard computer. There will no operator cab, seat, joysticks and other control inputs on the
machine. Instead, a sensor tower is disposed on the top of the machine to sense and collect the
terrain and surrounding environment data for the real-time AI control.
Here is an animation we created a few years ago to demonstrate the concept (click to view it on
YouTube)

YouTube link: https://youtu.be/fM-hzOMgE9o


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We are ready to make a stride to put the concept into an engineering reality at the current stage. In
case you have some difficulties to view the video, I put a few additional pictures here for your
reference:

Scraping and loading materials into the bowl

Dozing as a regular bulldozer

Dumping the materials out of the bowl by using the ejector

Design Granularity.
If we mark a 3D rendering created for a pure concept presentation or a marketing campaign with
a score of 60, and an engineering design that is ready for manufacturing and assembly with a score
of 100, then this project has a scope of 75 or 80. That means, the structure, shape, look and function
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of each machine component should make good sense and engineering sound, but we dont need to
make every bolt account.
In other words, we would like to see the machine body frame, chassis, bowl, dozer blade, material
ejector have well-defined shapes, structures, couplings, joints, and maneuvering behaviors; while
the powertrain and hydraulic system could have median granularities which means we can
integrate or modify some existing models to fit them in, rather than sketching everything from the
ground. And the machine cover, sensor tower and other accessories only need to be look all right.

Pure concept

Middle point

Ready for manufacturing

Target Audience.
The deliverable of this project targets for engineers & managers in a machine manufacturing
company. It serves as a middle point between a pure concept and detailed drawings for
manufacturing. When engineers see the outputs of this project, they will grasp the ideas with
confidence and feel comfortable to start finishing the design from a mid-way, instead of scratching
heads and drinking tons of coffee to configure out the routes from the zero.

Detailed Tasks
1. Implement Unit Structure Design
Design the work implement units including the bowl, dozer blade, material ejector and associated
supporting structures, joints and couplings.
1.1 Bowl
Serves as a container to hold, load and unload dirts. Similar to the bowl on a wheel tractor scraper,
our bowl component has a blade in its front to cut and scrape the mateirals into the bowl while the
machine is driving (pushing) forward. Instead of being towed by a tractor, our bowl is placed
bewteen two tracks of the machine. The bowl can pivot (pitch) around the machine body and adjust
its height through hydraulic cylinders. It will be great if we can make it have the tilting function
(tilt left and right) so that the bowl can adjust its cutting slope angle for more operational versatility.
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The challenging part will be how to design the connection or supporting machenism between the
bowl and undercarriage frame or the machine body (depends on how the bowl is mounted) so that
the bowl can pitch up and down, tilt left and right (desired), while the connection/supporting
structure is strong enough to bear the heavy load from the cutting operation and materils own
weight.

Task:
a) the shape and structure of the bowl.
b) The supporting mechanism between the bowl and machine body or undercarriage.
c) The manuvering mechanism to give the bowl pitching and tilting behaviors.
1.2 Dozer Blade
Works as a regualr dozer blade for dozing, cutting and pusing materials, and seals the bowl when
it is fully loaded. The dozer blade will lift up to open the bowl when the machine pushes forward
to scrape the materials into the bowl. After the bowl is fully loaded, the dozer blade will lift down
to close/seal the bowl to prevent materials coming out. At the same time, the machine can continue
the dozing operation to achieve a higher productivity by removing more dirts in a signle round of
operation. And the addtionial weight of the materials in the bowl will provide better traction for
the dozing process.

Task:
a) the shape and structure of the dozer blade.
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b) The connection mechanism between the dozer blade and the bowl.
c) The manuvering mechanism to lift the dozer blade up/down relative to the bowl.

1.3 Material Ejector


Works as a tool to push the loads out of the bowl since the materils could be sticky. The ejector is
placed at the rear side of the bowl and moves along the bowl back and forth.

Task:
a) the shape and structure of the ejector.
b) The control mechanism to push the ejector forward and retract backfoward.
c) The supporting / holding mechanism that secures the ejector inside the bowl.

2. Body Frame and Undercarriage


The design of the machine body frame, chassis and undercarriage frame are critical since they
provide connection / supporting structures to bear the high impact and shear forces passed from
the bowl during the operation.

Task:
a) the shape and structure of the machine body or undercarriage to support the bowl and its
manuvering components (hydraulic cylinders)
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3. Powertrain
The machine has a diesel-electric powertrain to offer good drawbar and fuel efficiency. Instead of
using a transmission, the diesel engine will couple with an AC generator to provide electricity for
two AC motors to propel the final drives. A battery unit is deployed to balance and smoothen the
high variation of the power demand. The powertrain of the Caterpillar D7E dozer is a good
reference for this project, but we would like to incorporate an additional battery unit, AC-DC
converter and DC-AC inverter to further boost the fuel efficiency and performance.

Powertrain of CAT D7E dozer

For this section, the job is fairly straightforward, we integrate and modify some existing 3D models
to make the powertrain looks comparable to the D7Es, but add an extra battery unit, an AC to DC
converter to charge the battery, and a DC to AC inverter from the battery to the AC VFD device
which controls the AC motors. Here are some engine and engine-generator models I integrated,
we can do the same thing for the remaining part of the powertrain.

4. Hydraulic System
Similar to the powertrain part, after defining hydraulic cylinders used for controlling the work
implements unit, we can create the pump, manifolds and other accessories by using some reference
models or from scratch.

5. Machine Cover & Accessories.


After creating the bones and muscles, we need to add the skin to the machine to make it look good
and realistic. So the final part of this project is to create the cover and sensor tower for the machine,
and fine tune the outside appearance to make the machine look tough but also elegant.

Tool & Background Preferred


I am using the Autodesk Inventor 2016 as the design tool, so the same software or highly
compatible file formats are preferred. Mechanical engineers or designers with experiences of
designing heavy machinery or engineering vehicle are preferred.

Work Flow
I understand this is a relatively big project, so lets break it down into five sections / tasks as
mentioned above. For each task, you give me an idea or proposal about how to attack the task, if
both parties agree on the plan and the design approach, we will proceed for the actual design phase,
after reviewing and approving the deliverables, you will get paid immediately for the associated
portion. Then we move on to the next task. In other words, by dividing a big assignment into five
or six small jobs, we can work more effectively and manageably with step by step progress and
feedback.
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Contact
If you are a hardcore mechanical engineer/designer who would like to do something challenging
and interesting, please share your passion with me via leon@aee.us.com. You can also get more
information about what we are doing from our website: http://www.aee.us.com
Sincerely,

Leon Wang
Autonomous Earthmoving Equipment
leon@aee.us.com
http://www.aee.us.com