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Smart Whole-Body Vibration Attenuation Cushion for Heavy Equipment Seating

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Title: Smart Whole-Body Vibration Attenuation Cushion for Heavy Equipment Seating
Author: Barrie, Alexander
Department: School of Engineering
Program: Engineering
Advisor: Oliver, MicheleHassan, Marwan
Abstract: Whole-Body Vibration (WBV) poses a risk of injury to operators. Long hours seated in an uncomfortable seat can result in fatigue, injury and reduced productivity. To improve ride comfort and minimize injury risk, suspension seats are used to attenuate vibration and active and semi-active suspension seats can outperform passive seat suspensions. Mainstream use of active or semi-active systems is limited due to cost and complexity. This research evaluates a new type of semi active device that could upgrade any passive seat suspension to improve WBV attenuation. In this work the operating principle for the device is investigated to determine the potential for WBV attenuation when installed on an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) seat suspension. A prototype was developed and tested to verify performance. A simple mathematical model was developed for the device and was solved numerically. The results showed that a device with semi-active controlled damping installed onto a passive seat suspension can attenuate vibration effectively over the frequency range of 0.8 to 20 Hz. An OEM tractor seat was selected to be used for experimental testing. Stiffness and damping characteristics were determined for the seat and the device was designed and installed in place of the seat cushion. The device was evaluated by mounting on a 6DOF hexapod platform to provide base excitation. Results from the experiment showed that the device has potential to reduce WBV to the operator by transferring energy to the seat components. The Magneto-Rheological damper used in the device added some non-linear stiffness to the system which affected device control. Recommendations for a second generation prototype include redesigning the form to better fit on the OEM seat as well as designing a controlled damping element that is better suited the systems parameters.
Date: 2019-05
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