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Structural strength analysis of a rotary drum mower during harvesting

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article number1557
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>16/02/2024
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Agricultural Engineering
Issue number1
Number of pages23
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date16/02/24
<mark>Original language</mark>English


A Rotary Drum Mower (RDM) is a tractor-mounted mechanism used for harvesting green fodder crops. It faces dynamic forces from rough field surfaces and cutting resistance, posing design challenges and potential failures. This study aims to present a well-designed procedure for analysing the structural strength of an RDM during harvesting, employing both experimental and engineering simulation methods. A specific harvesting scenario was created to simulate realistic load conditions. Experimental testing and advanced computer-aided engineering (CAE) simulations were conducted. Tractor Power Take-off (PTO) torque measurements during harvesting revealed values of 231.07 Nm, 264.44 Nm, and 269.39 Nm at speeds of 8.56 km h-1, 12.6 km h-1, and 16.23 km h-1, respectively. Finite element analysis (FEA) was conducted to determine stress levels in the RDM components (RDM165-A-004, RDM165-B-003, and RDM165-B-004). The FEA stress results ranged from 5.070 MPa to 20.600 MPa, 13.800 MPa to 28.600 MPa, and 5.400 MPa to 27.550 MPa, respectively. Experimental testing yielded stress results ranging from 2.127 MPa to 18.600 MPa, 14.618 MPa to 33.229 MPa, and 8.838 MPa to 31.248 MPa, respectively. The comparison between experimental and FEA results showed reasonable correlation. FEA visual outputs provided insights into the maximum equivalent stress and deformation distributions on the RDM, with no indications of failure in the machine's structure observed in either the experimental or numerical analyses. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that the machine analysed operates safely under harvesting conditions. Moreover, the combination of experimental and advanced CAE methodologies presented in this research offers a valuable approach for future investigations into the complex stress and deformation evaluations of rotary drum mowers.