Agriculture has one of the highest fatality rates of any industry in America. Tractor rollovers are a significant contributor to the high death rate. Rollover protective structures (ROPS) have helped lower these high fatality rates on full-size tractors. However, a large number of older tractors still do not use ROPS due to the difficulty of designing and creating a mounting structure. To help reduce this difficulty, engineering plastics were evaluated for use in a ROPS mounting structure on older tractors. The use of engineering plastics around axle housings could provide a uniform mounting configuration as well as lower costs for aftermarket ROPS. Various plastics were examined through shear testing, scale model testing, and compressive strength testing. Once a material was chosen based upon strength and cost, full-scale testing of the plastic's strength on axle housings was conducted. Finally, a mounting structure was tested in static ROPS tests, and field upset tests were performed in accordance with SAE Standard J2194. Initial tests revealed that the ROPS mounting structure and axle housing combination had higher torsional strength with less twisting than the axle housing alone. An engineering plastic ROPS mounting structure was easily successful in withstanding the forces applied during the static longitudinal and lateral ROPS tests. Field upset testing revealed that the mounting structure could withstand the impact loads seen during actual upsets without a failure. During both static testing and field upset testing, no permanent twisting of the mounting structure was found. Engineering plastic could therefore be a viable option for a universal ROPS mounting structure for older tractors.
Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
Access this publication at: ASABE Technical Library
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