Virtual Prototype Simulation of Hydraulic Shovel Kinematics for Spatial Characterization in Surface Mining Operations


Hydraulic shovels are large-capacity equipment for excavating and loading dump trucks in constrained surface mining environments. Kinematics simulation of such equipment allows mine planning engineers to plan, design and control their spatial environments to achieve operating safety and efficiency. In this study, a hydraulic shovel was modelled as a mechanical manipulator with five degrees of freedom comprising the crawler, upper, boom, stick, bucket and bucket door components. The model was captured in a schematic diagram consisting of a six-bar linkage using the symbolic notation of Denavit and Hartenberg (Ho and Sriwattanathmma 1989). Homogeneous transformation matrices were used to capture the spatial configuration between adjacent links. The forward kinematics method was used to formulate the kinematics equations by attaching Cartesian coordinates to the schematic shovel diagram. Based on the kinematics model, a 3D virtual prototype of the hydraulic shovel was built in the Automatic Dynamic Analysis of Mechanical Systems (ADAMS) environment to simulate the motions of the hydraulic shovel with selected time steps. The simulator was validated using real-world data with animation and numerical analysis of the digging, swinging and dumping motions of the shovel machinery. The superimposed display of the deployment of the hydraulic shovel in three phases allows a detailed motion examination of the system. The numerical results of linear and angular displacements of the bucket tip and bucket door can be used to analyse the kinematics motion of the hydraulic shovel for its optimization. This simulator provides a solid foundation for further dynamics modelling and dynamic hydraulic shovel performance studies.


Mining and Nuclear Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Hydraulic Shovel Motion; Kinematics Modelling; Motion Visualization; Virtual Prototype Simulation

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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