Vibration Analysis of an Excavator to Investigate the Effects on the Operator

Chambers, Brad (2022) Vibration Analysis of an Excavator to Investigate the Effects on the Operator. [USQ Project]

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Health and safety are a major consideration for all engineering projects, and it is the engineer’s responsibility to ensure designs meet adequate health and safety requirements. If an engineering design is not safe, it can put the lives of the community or an individual at risk. This project aims to investigate this idea in relation to the operation of a 24-tonne excavator and the possible effects that the operator may experience due to exposure to whole body vibration. Several firsthand accounts and a survey of 410 machine operators in a previous study by Chris L Zimmerman highlighted that lower back pain is highly common between machine operators and thus posed the questions, what is causing this pain? Are the vibration controls in place sufficient? Past research has provided vibrational data and information for mining machinery and the causes of vibration; however, it was evident that this data was quite limited for excavators and so this gap in knowledge was the origin for the focus of this project. Research was conducted to gain a strong understanding of vibration and how to effectively measure it and analyse it, with a focus on its effects on the human body. Vibrational data was collected from an excavator during general operation using an Arduino and MPU6050 accelerometer which collected acceleration data in the X, Y, and Z axes. The data that was collected was able to be modified to produce the vibrational data present during operation, this data was used to create vibration graphs for each axis. Computational simulations were conducted using the experimental data collected to model and observe the forces acting on the lumbar vertebrae of the operator. Results from data analysis and simulations were analysed, compared, and evaluated against international and national standards from which judgments and conclusions could be made about the safety of machine operation in term of vibration. Collected data and results aligned reasonably well with what was predicted, however, due to some unavoidable variables during testing such as uneven gradient of ground and varying speed of the excavator, the resultant outcomes for vibration exposure and magnitudes were not accurate. This error opens the opportunity for further work to resolve these issues and produce results that present accurate conclusions.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current – Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Engineering (1 Jan 2022 -)
Supervisors: Saleh, Khalid
Qualification: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Mechanical)
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2023 02:01
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2023 01:06
Uncontrolled Keywords: Health and safety; engineering design; body vibration; excavator

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