Increasing the maximum payload of agricultural equipment is an important objective for many farmers. With a larger payload, loading and unloading operations are reduced, more goods can be transported and costs are lowered.
To explore the use of high strength and ultra high strength steels in agricultural applications, ArcelorMittal undertook a study for an agricultural trailer. The goal was to quantify whether lightweight construction techniques could be applied to agricultural equipment to improve their environmental and cost performance.
Typical agricultural trailer vehicles are comprised of a chassis and a trailer and are used to transport produce, equipment, and farm supplies. In collaboration with the International School of Design (ISD) in Valenciennes (France), ArcelorMittal undertook an optimisation study of the trailer to reduce vehicle weight and costs.
20% weight reduction achieved
Using Amstrong® and Amstrong® Ultra steel grades, various solutions for a new agricultural trailer were developed by the team. The lightest concept showed that the mass of the trailer could be reduced by 20% to 2,400 kg using these grades. The significant weight saving enables the trailer to carry a greater payload, which also means that less fuel is consumed when the vehicle is being moved in its unloaded state.
The Agristeel team calculated that an 8 tonne reduction in CO2-equivalent emissions could be achieved with the new design. And as an added benefit, the service life of the Agristeel trailer will be longer than existing solutions because the advanced steels help to reduce wear and tear on the vehicle.
Agricultural skips are subjected to extreme forces during use. While the skip could be made lighter, it was also necessary to verify that it could resist the wear and tear of farm work.
Computer simulations enabled the designers to test the Agristeel solution and to compare it with the reference trailer. The results showed that the selected Amstrong® and Amstrong® Ultra steel grades performed much better than the steels in the reference trailer. For example, the sag of the loading surface in critical loads was significantly reduced. ArcelorMittal believes that the new lightweight trailer will have a significantly longer useful life than older, heavier versions.