Quick couplers are common on heavy construction equipment such as excavators. This large range of attachments and the growing complexity of construction work leads to higher demand of experience on the operator’s side. The resulting increased demand on the operators in the form of high productivity, decreasing operating cost, reduction of machine and attachment wear and limited time as well as safety improvements may need more and more experienced operators to achieve goals. The challenge is to support operators on construction sites in making their work safer, faster, more efficient and cheaper. The EU-funded project PROSYMA (Process-optimized system functionality of mobile work machines) was launched to address this issue. The aim was to provide excavator operators with real-time data on machine stability and on tasks such as digging, grabbing, lifting and loading. Researchers developed a modular guidance system that can be fitted onto conventional hydraulic excavators with any quick coupler or tool. A force-torque sensor installed in the quick coupler and other sensors measure excavator kinematics accurately. In addition to the displacement sensor data, all relevant parameters for selected tools and their functions are analysed directly or through model-supported techniques. The PROSYMA team devised a sophisticated mathematical model for tool positioning and to predict possible loss of the tip-over stability. This model has been implemented in dedicated software. A user interface was added to provide information, including weight of tool content and stability, and warns the operator when the excavator becomes unstable. Importantly, a demonstrator was tested under real operating conditions. PROSYMA has helped introduce the construction industry to optimised, safe, cost-effective and clean technological solutions for their excavators. The fully automatic or semi-automatic guidance system can ensure the performance reliability of construction operations.
Guidance system, excavator, quick couplers, construction sites, PROSYMA