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Backhoe Loader Case Study

Rising global popularity

Backhoe loaders are the most popular construction equipment on the market, primarily because they are so versatile. They can be used to perform a wide variety of tasks, from earthmoving and landscaping to small demolition projects, equipment transportation and even paving roads. Owners of backhoe loaders don’t really need to own another piece of construction equipment, and most don’t. But what they do is put their equipment through its paces. Backhoes must be rough-and-tough enough to handle any type of job on any type of terrain, and they must be durable and versatile enough to perform job after job.

With the demand for rock-solid durability, backhoe engineers clearly need to lock into load capabilities early in the development cycle. And they need to look at a variety of usage scenarios: high loads for hauling heavy equipment and variable loads for different types of earthmoving tasks, such as soft ground compared to rocks and gravel. As a durability engineer, you need to understand complex load distribution as well as guaranteeing the machine can handle the heaviest lifting time after time without mechanical failure.

Designing it right has always been the motto of Hidromek, a leading Turkish construction equipment manufacturer. Founded in 1978, this family-run backhoe loader and hydraulic excavator manufacturer is headquartered in Ankara and employs about 2,000 people. Today the company makes machines ranging from 4 to 54 tons, including the design awardwinning Alpha and Supra-series backhoe loaders, GEN-series excavators, wheel loaders and motor graders created by the company’s in-house Hidromek DesignStudio.

The firm is seeing a rise in worldwide popularity as it is selling in over 80 countries and producing more than 5,000 backhoe loaders and excavators annually. The challenge for the owners, Hasan Basri Bozkurt and his two sons, Ahmet and Mustafa, is to maintain the momentum, making sure Hidromek products maintain a high standard for aesthetics, ergonomics, quality and performance. One way to do this is by focusing on durability engineering.

Engineering for durability

Durability plays a mission-critical role when designing any type of vehicle, especially off-road construction equipment, which puts the laws of physics to the ultimate test. From an engineering perspective, much can be done upfront in the development process to explore the workability of the final design, but the main difficulty in durability issues is gaining a realistic understanding of the loads the equipment and its components can handle. Normally, steps in the development process to check design durability include obtaining on-site measurements, quickly and accurately processing the data and feeding it back into the respective test rig or simulation model to confirm design feasibility.

Rather than offering just a basic data acquisition tool, the Simcenter™ portfolio provided Hidromek with a durability solution that covered the complete development process.

“The Simcenter portfolio is better for our design vision and helps us to understand the real loads capability,” says Ferhan Ficici, Backhoe Loader and Wheel Loader Engineering Manager at Hidromek. “In the end, this translates into improved equipment performance, better ergonomics and longer lifecycles.”

Simcenter tools support Hidromek’s efforts to better understand realistic loads for improved equipment performance and a longer lifecycle. Hidromek uses the Simcenter portfolio to build multiple possibilities for dynamic fatigue assessment, block-cycle test definition, accelerated testing and fatigue life prediction.

Across-the-board improvements

By using the Simcenter system in-house, Hidromek’s team has taken durability engineering to the next level with acrossthe- board improvements not only in the overall process, but also in the quality of the measurements, more thorough data analysis and faster processing times.

During a normal durability test cycle, the first task at hand for the engineering team is to acquire real-life operational data. For this, Hidromek engineers can access a total of 112 channels by combining the power and capacity of their two LMS SCADAS™ Recorder hardware data acquisition systems. One LMS SCADAS Recorder measures strains, stresses and other loads in the cabin, and the other LMS SCADAS Recorder, mounted under the machine’s frame, acquires the real workaday load data.

The two systems remain synchronized thanks to Global Positioning System (GPS) time data, which eliminates the clutter of additional cables between units. With simultaneous personal computer (PC) free data acquisition, the Hidromek engineers can easily acquire all the durability data they need in a single test run.

“The Simcenter solutions are very userfriendly, especially the LMS Test.Xpress data acquisition software,” says Ficici. “Tests are quickly set up so the overall test preparation time decreases. Just one click is enough to balance all channels. Before, test preparation and execution used to be a lengthy process. I felt the time we spent in measuring data was out of proportion to the results we got. Today with Simcenter solutions, overall measurement times are reduced by half.”

Heavyweight champions

Durability testing is already a tough job. When you consider Hidromek manufactures machines that weigh anywhere from 4 tons to a 54 tons – that is almost the weight of six adult elephants – you can understand why the testing hardware needs to be tougher than tough.

The team at Hidromek didn’t hesitate to mount its LMS SCADAS Durability Recorder right under the frame of its heaviest machines since the reinforced case on the LMS SCADAS Durability Recorder can withstand the toughest conditions and is Ingress Protection (IP) 54 certified, so dust, dirt, mud and water on the construction test site don’t affect it.

Crunching the data

Once the team obtained the data and validated it, LMS™ Tecware software was used to analyze and compare the measurements with previous ones.

“Thanks to the data management and durability-specific characteristics of LMS Tecware, it is really easy to create an overview report that can be used by other departments for simulation or studies on hydraulic test rigs,” says Ficici. “We also appreciated the fact that LMS Tecware accelerated the testing phase without having to omit nondamaging events from the measured loads, or oversimplifying a test to a uni-axial block cycle test.

“Today we base our design criteria for structural parts on some assumptions and then perform strength analyses and calculations. The new process, implementing the LMS SCADAS Recorder and LMS Tecware, allows us to verify if these assumptions are true or not. Hence, it is possible to validate the structural parts of our products. This results in truly more reliable products. Our Simcenter durability solution is very versatile. Even our noise and vibration engineering team uses it to perform human body vibration measurements and confirm ISO compliance for sound power. The Simcenter solution is easy to use in every way and has really helped us exceed our goals relating to durability, performance and ergonomics.”

For development studies, octave-band analysis and fast Fourier transform (FFT) analysis are performed. Similar spectrum analyses in frequency domain are performed for vibration measurements. FFT and power spectral density (PSD) graphs are generated by using time-series data. Also, weighted root mean square (RMS) values are calculated for different maneuvers of earthmoving machines. Using the same hardware and software platform for different types of applications saves both costs and time, but not at the expense of job-specific tasks that are fully supported by the platform.

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The Simcenter portfolio is better for our design vision and helps us to understand the real loads capability.Ferhan Ficici ,Backhoe Loader and Wheel Loader Engineering Manager Hidromek

Legacy backhoe loader line gains round of enhancements to hydraulic and electrical systems, drivetrain, serviceability and more. 

CASE Construction Equipment​ has introduced several machine enhancements to its N Series backhoe loaders incorporated throughout the machine—from cab and drivetrain improvements to enhancements to the hydraulic and electrical systems. CASE has also made standard several options that were previously optional, and now offers an increased suite of factory options on all N Series backhoe loaders.
 
CASE N Series backhoe loaders now feature an all-new Pilot Control hydraulic system for optimal precision and smoothness, offering the operator more control in critical applications. Improvements have also been made to the hydraulic system in order to reduce cab noise for greater operator comfort.
 
The fuel economy package, which was previously optional, is now standard. This includes ECO mode switches for both the loader and backhoe functions, which allows for greater fuel savings, and optimal power and performance. The package also includes the Auto Engine Idle feature, which brings engine RPMs down to idle when the backhoe controls are not used for a set period of time. The engine will also shutdown if the machine idles for a set period of time.

Both Auto Engine Idle and Auto Engine Shutdown have adjustable settings to customize the timing to the operators’ style and preference. Another great feature now made standard is the Engine Protection Shutdown mode, which turns the engine off if engine temperature, drivetrain fluid temperature or engine oil pressure go out of normal operating range.
 
Several additional enhancements have been made throughout the product line, including:

  • Electrical system features that were previously optional — including a battery disconnect switch and jumpstart terminal — have been made standard on all N Series backhoes.
  • The drivetrain has been updated for improved roading and gradeability, as well as more pushing power under load and greater acceleration around the jobsite.
  • The machines also feature new externally adjustable Extendahoe wear pads that allow for easier maintenance and serviceability while keeping tight tolerances, reducing strain and wear on components.

In addition to the machine enhancements and new standard features, many brand-new factory options are now available on all N Series backhoes:

  • A new LED light option includes four front, four rear and two sidelights that are all adjustable to target the task at hand. These LED lights shine brighter than halogen bulbs while drawing less power, ensuring that the operator sees what they need to while working longer hours for more productivity and improved battery life.
  • A bolt on chaff screen attaches over the standard front grill, protecting the engine compartment and cooling package from finer airborne debris such as straw chaff, grass clippings, leaves or other fine materials.
  • An 18-inch front tire offering (bias ply or radial) and heavy duty front axle option are available on the 580N and 580 Super N models that allows for more float and cushion for a smoother ride and greater tractive effort.
  • New bolt-on front fenders help protect the machine and operator from water, mud, dirt and debris while traveling off-road in rough, muddy terrain.

For more information on these upgrades and the entire line of CASE N Series loaders, visit CaseCE.com​.

Racine, Wis., December 11, 2017 

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