Using Multi-Body Simulation to Construct Agricultural Machinery
07-06-2018 | Posted by Principia
Essential to one of the world’s oldest and largest human activities, agricultural machinery and ordinary farm tools are important for not only keeping farms in-business, but also for feeding the world’s population.
These machines are formed by complex mechanical systems, which must be understood and tightly controlled for them to work properly and efficiently. As agricultural machinery evolves and grows more complex, with intricate mechanical components, simulation software allows engineers to understand the dynamic behavior of these systems in the real world.
And because agricultural machinery is not often in a fixed, controlled location, simulation software also allows engineers to understand the impact that external forces have on the function of these machines. These forces are highly variable, and simulations allow for even highly complex parameters to be assessed.
Software packages like SIMULIA’s Simpack allow for Multi-body Simulation (MBS), which analyses virtual prototypes and allows engineers to predict and visualize everything from minor friction to motion and coupling forces that are important for a machine’s overall function.
From simple potato planters to more complex harvesting machinery, mechanical systems play an important role in the agriculture industry—all the way from planting seeds to getting produce to market. Originally developed from wood and then steel, these tools and machines have diversified in recent years, using a variety of materials and engineering techniques to provide high-tech solutions with great accuracy and precision.
And as new challenges face the industry, agricultural machinery and farm tools continue to improve, using the newest and best available solutions. Examples include digital sensors that are now commonly incorporated throughout machinery and new hydraulic systems which are being developed to improve functionality. These improvements allow for the machines to be optimized to meet real-world conditions, however, that does not mean that they cannot anticipate future challenges as well.
Using contemporary CAD and simulation software, designing an efficient and powerful mechanical tool like those used in farming can largely be done in a digital world. Virtual construction not only saves on time and money, but it also allows engineers to anticipate and correct for many issues even before a prototype is rendered.
Multi-Body Simulation allows engineers to generate three-dimensional models that can be manipulated and optimized, while simulations test for real-world variability. Software packages are powerful tools that provide all necessary components in one CAD program—further streamlining efficiency and precision.
Once a model is optimized, prototypes can be constructed and tested experimentally. Then, based on the data that is obtained, the model can be further adjusted for real-world conditions.
With complex machinery that is used in the field, like that of the agriculture industry, accuracy and precision are equally as important as the machine’s ability to function in a dynamic and often unpredictable world. Multi-body Simulation software allows for some of this unpredictability to be anticipated, and by working with this software from the early stages of design, engineers can not only construct the best tools for the job today, but also the best tools for the job tomorrow.