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Mining Contract: Engineered Solutions - Dump Truck Vibrations and Impact on Operator Safety in High-Impact Shovel Loading Operations

Contract #200-2011-40817
Start Date9/1/2011
Research Concept

This contract aims to reduce or eliminate the impact of root mean square (RMS) accelerations due to vibrations on large dump truck operators during high-impact shovel loading operations (HISLO). Experiencing severe truck vibrations during HISLOs can lead to operator injuries. Improved operator seats and shock absorption in large dump trucks to reduce vibration will lead to improved operator safety and health.

Topic Area

Contract Status & Impact

This contract is ongoing.

Large machines are deployed regularly to accomplish production in surface mines, and heavy mining machinery exposes the human body to extreme conditions that affect operator health and the system performance. Shovels load large dump trucks with 100-ton passes. This high-impact shovel loading operation (HISLO) causes severe truck vibrations that expose operators to whole body vibrations (WBV). The operator’s lower torso, lower back, legs, feet and hands are exposed to these WBV levels. The operator seat, lumbar, and cervical regions are severely impacted by high WBV levels. In ISO 2631-1, the International Standards Organization provides recommendations on safe limits beyond which long-term exposure can cause health problems and long-term disabilities.

This research contract addresses improvements to an engineered operator seat, with specifications defined by the ISO 2631-1 standard; a reduction in impulse force; an enhanced engineered add-on suspension system; a correlated impulse force-ground conditioned calibrator; and an aging truck suspension efficiency calibrator.

As the above technologies are developed, laboratory testing of the fully integrated system will simulate experiments in the laboratory environment as an initial step toward development of meaningful and effective calibration procedures. Subsequent industrial testing of the fully integrated system will validate calibration and synchronization of the technologies. Product training manuals will describe the new technologies developed along with procedures for assembling and mounting/installing the various components on haul trucks and other equipment for actual operating conditions.

Based on the outcome of this contract, the potential for commercialization exists in the following areas: (1) a method for selecting, locating, maintaining, and determining the number of vibration isolator/damper pads for the haul truck bed/chassis interface; (2) improved damping and isolation characteristics through the use of an enhanced-engineered add-on vehicle suspension system; (3) impulse force reduction and precision dumping technology; and (4) improved seat design for reducing whole body vibrations, particularly jarring/jolting produced by mechanical shock.