Investigation of stress in an earthmover bucket using finite element analysis: A generic model for draglines

Draglines are massive machines extensively utilized in opencast mines for overburden stripping. The demanding working environment induces fractures, wear and tear, and fatigue failures in dragline components and eventuates in extended maintenance, lengthy downtimes, and loss of production. The bucket is the main source of external loads on the machinery, since interactions with ground materials take place in this region. This study aims to develop a generic finite element model of the stress on an operating bucket. This entails (i) three-dimensional modelling of a dragline bucket, (ii) analytical estimation of resistive forces in the bucket movement, (iii) three-dimensional simulation of the moving bucket using finite element analysis (FEA), and (iv) sensitivity analysis to examine the effect of formation characteristics on stress variation. Simulation results imply that the drag hitch and digging teeth are the elements of the bucket that are most prone to failure. In addition, sensitivity analysis indicates that internal friction angle of the formation is the dominant parameter leading fluctuations in stress values. Changes in stress level are least influenced by formation density.