OCAS has a long standing track record in conducting co-engineering projects with customers in a wide variety of market segments, including agricultural machinery, transportation, heating ventilation and air conditioning, and more. The key drivers are most often cost- and weight-reduction and energy-savings.
From needs analysis to final design
In the first stage, the team works with the customer to identify the customer’s needs. For example, the customer’s objective might be to reduce costs by 10% to be more competitive in the market. They also discuss the technical specifications and the requirements and constraints of the application. Using this input, a first analysis is made and suggestions for improvement are offered – e.g. switch to other steel grades or to lower thickness, use another production technique, or even make a design change.
The customer considers the recommendations, along with the cost impacts, and then the team can assist further with experimental testing as required (e.g. how to bend or weld a certain high-strength steel). In a final stage, the team can assist in prototyping and, ultimately, in testing the final design.
Some examples from different industries
With payloads expected to become heavier and bigger in the coming years, the transport sector is actively seeking a lighter chassis which will enable them to carry heavier loads and reduce the cost of empty trips. OCAS therefore started a project to create a new lightweight trailer chassis . The goal? To develop a chassis that was 30% lighter than a reference structure and that saved at least 20% on production costs. The result is Trailtech, a generic lightweight solution for trailer chassis applications. Trailtech utilises a combination of high strength low alloy steel grades which enables to reduce trailer production and operating costs significantly.
Telescopic crane boom
For crane booms, the drive towards lighter weight is related to the road transport of the crane. The allowable load per axle is limited by road regulations, so if through a lighter boom the transport structure (truck) of the crane can be simplified, the impact on the overall cost can be significant.
The stresses in the boom can reach high values. Nonetheless, the strength constraint is in general secondary to buckling and stiffness constraints. Sufficient rigidity is required for the stability of the handling of the load. Apart from that, the crane boom is basically a very slender column loaded at the end. Therefore it is susceptible to buckling of the boom, which must be avoided at all cost.
Modelling results suggest that a reduction of >25% in weight is well within reach.
“We apply advanced steels and optimise designs to help customers solve design and engineering problems in a wide variety of applications.”