Critical tracking and stress analysis of Transnet engineering trailers.
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Transnet Engineering (TE) produces specialised trailers that are not commercially available. The design of the trailers is based on experience plus knowledge of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) designed and operational trailers. Since trailers are a new specialised product to TE no design data is available and for safety and reliability the trailer is “over”- designed. The risk of any part failing during operation is however minimised, if the trailer is soundly designed throughout, rather than focusing on critical areas and optimising the structure. Since no trailer analysis has previously been undertaken in Transnet, the design had to be monitored and validated with the aim to reduce material costs and tare weight by approximately 10%. The aim of this project was to undertake and improve a theoretical simulation analysis and implement a practical system to measure and capture critical data on bath-tub and multi-purpose trailers. This would allow a better understanding of the loading characteristics of the trailers in the port environment and validate the existing design with the data acquired from practical field testing. Based on the theoretical simulations and data acquired during field testing, an efficient design is proposed that will save on material and labour thus reducing the net tare weight. A reduction in tare weight will allow for better tractive power from the hauler and improve the life span of the parts such as the brakes, tyres and bearings. Worldwide knowledge regarding this project is limited; OEMs and tertiary institutions have undertaken similar projects but only for highway trailers and related topics. The current open market does not offer a study which meets this project’s needs; by adapting this practice to other aspects of the mechanical design, the product can be optimised for its application.