Analysis and Weight Reduction of a Tractor's Front Axle

Engineering components with optimum use of material and easy manufacturability is a direction where prior simulation through finite element method is found to be very useful. Front Axle of Tractor is one of the major and very important component and needs very good design as this part experiences the worst load condition of the whole tractor. The objective of this paper was to analyse the new design of the front axle of tractor for Thirteen (13) different Certification Test load conditions. The existing design has no field failure reports; so the results of the existing design were taken as basis for comparison with results of the proposed models. Based on the finite element analysis results, redesign was carried out for the front axle for weight optimisation and easy manufacturability. This led to five proposed designs of the front axle which were evolved based on the above objectives. The proposed designs were evaluated for selected worst load cases of the existing design. The finite element analysis of new models yielded displacements and stresses close to the existing design. The increase in stresses were close to 15 % for all five models. The increase in displacement was not significant but all the new designs conceived had met the structural requirement. It was also observed that for the proposed designs there was a significant reduction in weight (approximately 40 %) and the proposed models did not involve a lot of welding, thereby significant savings of manufacturing was observed. The components used in the assembly were also found to be cost effective like smaller diameters bearing, smaller knuckle size etc. The reduction in cost of production and weight significantly reduced the cost of the new design of Front Axle. This analysis work showcases the use of finite element analysis as a method for reduction of cost in terms of materials and manufacturing.

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