In Spain, there are more than 250,000 tractors built before 1980, when it became mandatory for all new tractors to be equipped with a rollover protective structure (ROPS). A similar situation is found in the European Union, but the situation is worse in the U.S. and in developing countries. Directive 2003/37/EEC establishes that tractors over 800 kg weight can be homologated by using the OECD standard code for the official testing of protective structures on agricultural and forestry tractors (static test), called Code 4. A ROPS attachable to the rear axle of different tractor models has been designed, and a computer program for the calculation of the ROPS design has been developed. The program, named ESTREMA, is available at: www.cfnavarra.es/insl. Using this program, it has been possible to design a ROPS for the Massey Ferguson model 178 tractor, one of the most common tractor models without a ROPS in Spain. After the tractor was equipped with the designed ROPS, it was tested at the Spanish Authorized Station for testing ROPS and passed the homologation test (OECD Code 4), the main results being a maximum distortion of 21.3 cm when the absorbed energy was 5,437 N and the maximum force applied was 34 kN during loading from the side. The ROPS was improved, redesigned, and remounted on the tractor, the tractor was tested in a real overturn, and no part of the structure intruded on the driver's clearance zone during the test. In conclusion, the ESTREMA program worked correctly, and the designed ROPS was able to pass the authorized test and provide adequate protection to the operator during a real overturn.
Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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