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  Wire rope excavator

Project Title:
Wire Rope Excavator
Created by:
V.Bhanu Chander,
Tirupati (city),
AP (state).
India (country).

Problem Statement:
This is a practical problem, the main objective of which is
to replace the present day Hydraulic operated JCB or excavators with WIRE
ROPE operation in order to minimize the hydraulic network. This system may
also prove to be simple rather than a complex and cumbersome design which is
usually observed in the Hydraulic operated machines.
The operation of an excavator or JCB Machine involves
hydraulic systems by means of which only it performs the desired work. The
hydraulic system incorporates complex arrangements for pressurizing the
hydraulic fluid, and hence to move the arms along with the jaws (buckets). A
number of cylinders, rams, valves e.t.c was also involved.
  Wire rope excavator

In fact the fluid is pressurized by means of a heavy diesel

engine (generally 6 or 12 cylinder type) which consumes a lot of fuel, the
engine structure being complex and so the arrangement proves to be
uneconomical. The present day engines need also to be eco friendly and so
these facts make us to think for some other options if possible.
This section presents a new idea which may be adopted if this
sounds good.
The proposed unit uses ropes which reduces the hydraulic
arrangements. The idea was in fact to move and operate the arms with the
above said unit. Although this seems to be not practical, yet we may make it by
care full design and investigations.
Two or three of the hydraulic mechanism may be removed.
The hydraulic system consists of cylinders, inside of which a piston is able to
reciprocate and to which a ram is connected. This motion is obtained by using
hydraulic fluids which are supplied to the cylinders at very high pressures.
  Wire rope excavator

The present machine

(Excavator) is designed such that the
rams and the cylinder above one of the
arms and the one attached to the body
of the excavator are removed and are
replaced by an arrangement which
comprises of cone pulleys mounted
above the arms as shown in the figure.
Wire ropes move above the pulley and are fixed to the arm end by means of a
The other side of the rope is wound over a rope drum just as
we observe in a hoist machine (cranes). The rope drum is supposed to be
arranged inside the body of the machine, particularly in front of the cabin where
the driver or the operator sits. The bucket movement may be obtained by the
regular arrangement, i.e by the hydraulic means. This is necessary because the
rope arrangement cannot handle the work in such location, the reason will be
understood in the coming discussions.
First of all let us check the feasibility. That is we
precede the topic by checking whether the wire ropes are capable of carrying
and handling the large loads. For this reason consider the case of a big dam
which are usually provided with gates weighing several tones. In such
situations, to open the gate a wire rope hoist is used which pulls the gate
  Wire rope excavator

upwards. This is shown in the figure. In this figure the

black lines represents ropes which is wound over rope
drum (shown in Rose color).
Similarly in the case of cranes the ropes are capable
of handling large tons of weight.
So from the above facts what we can interpret is that the
wire ropes can handle large loads and sudden pressures which normally arise
during digging or other similar work. So we may use wire ropes comfortably
without any fear of breakage.
Secondly the ropes should
act such that they should give desired motion to the
arms, including the bucket without any miss
function. This is achieved by selecting suitable
mechanism which functions as per the operator
does. For the present case a double side acting wire
rope mechanism is proposed to meet the above said requirement.
Mechanism for the first arm:
As shown in the figure the rope should be fixed to the
arm at two points, one being at the extreme end where a pin is fixed in between
the recess provided in the arm. The other should be tied,
may be nearly at the centre (appro.). The ropes should not
get interference with the other members in any manner
when in operation. The ropes are then made to pass over
  Wire rope excavator

cone pulleys placed above and downside the arm such that the rope make two
or more complete turnaround it (probably a multi groove pulley may be
helpful). The other ends of the ropes are then wound on rope drums. Actually
the drums are powered by means of diesel engine, but we may also install a
D.C.Motor if sufficient power supply is available. If the
system is capable of operating by motor then the advantage
lies there in.
Mechanism for the second arm:
The second arm which is connected to
the main body is moved by a similar fashion but in this case it doesn’t require
pulleys to be mounted on the arm. The pulleys are arranged to the main body
itself. In this case it is required that the rope should act on both sides, the reason
of which will be understood in the coming discussion.
The major difficulties that may arise during the operation
of the rope type machine on single side (single acting) is:
¾ When the arm attached to the main body is raised by using rope (only on one
side) and if the second arm is to be raised then the problem may occur since
the arm attached to the body turns about its pivot due to increase in turning
moment. This can be understood in the figure1.
¾ If the arm carrying the bucket is arranged with only one side action of rope
then it is very difficult to perform the operation of digging. It means that the
whole mechanism of excavator becomes useless.
  Wire rope excavator

Figures showing possible deviations from the usual operation

when ropes are operated one side only.
¾ When the bucket is moved by means of rope arrangement, instead of
hydraulic means then also the digging operation becomes difficult.
In order to eliminate the difficulties as above (that may
arise during the proposed machine operation), the mechanism should be such
that the rope acts on both side. This is what required for getting the desired
The operation of this type of machine consists of moving
the arms and the bucket properly. To raise the arm connected to the body, the
rope attached above the arm is pulled by using rope drum powered by the
engine or motor. On the other side of the arm the rope should be loosen by the
same amount. To lower the arm, reverse operation is done that is the rope
attached above the arm loosens and that attached to the other side tightens such
that both of them will be of same amount and after the operation the arm will be
in perfect position without any miss motion. The reason is explained below.
  Wire rope excavator

To raise the arm to which the bucket is attached, the rope tied to
the pin arranged at the end of the arm should be pulled (wound over the drum)
and on the other part where one more rope is tied to the same arm the rope
should be loosen such that the amount of tightening and loosening in both the
respective sides are same. Then the arm moves to the desired position without
any miss functioning.
Essential Requirements:
The main requirement for this system to be effective is that
the rope mechanism should not undergo any miss function. This necessitates
the rope (double side acting) to act in such a manner that whatever the amount
of rope wound on one side, the same amount of rope should be released on the
other side. It means the length of the rope on both sides (while in operation)
should undergo equal and opposite changes (one extending and the other
winding). This condition is must because when the rope on one side is pulled
much than that on the other side then stresses may develop in the latter and this
may cause the rope to fail. Some unwanted motion may also be encountered
during such conditions. So the selected mechanism should be such that increase
  Wire rope excavator

in length on one side should be made equal to the decrease in length on the
other side. This is a must and should condition to be noted while designing.
Bucket motion:
It is clear that the bucket attached to the arm is necessary
to be operated with hydraulic arrangement, in order to make the system and the
work to be handled effective. The arrangement is
somewhat difficult to incorporate rope for the excavator
to do the expected job. But we may also arrange a rope
mechanism for the bucket if the size of the excavator is
small or in other words the work handling capacity is to be small. In case of
such an assumption and arrangement also the mechanism seems to be
cumbersome with adjacent ropes overlapping. Thus this is not at all
considerable. The arrangement as shown in the figure with opposite bucket
arrangement may be possible.
Design Considerations:
9 One of the important members in the excavator that should be designed
properly is the Pins (and their joints) or short sized shafts that are used to
connect ropes. These pins are subjected to stresses and the design should be
such that the pin so selected should be able to carry the maximum load
without any wearing effects.
9 The rope should have the capacity to carry the maximum load that should be
handled by the machine.
  Wire rope excavator

9 The pulleys that are required to be mounted on the arm and also the body are
supposed to offer less friction.
9 The overall proposed mechanism should use less power to handle a given
task (either from Diesel engine or D.C.Motor) than the power consumed by a
similar sized hyd. Operated machine.
Use of motors:
It can be easily verified that a diesel engine consumes
more input to develop a rated power than that consumed by an electrically
operated motor. Also the cost involved to develop some output from a given
engine for a specific time is more than that involved by using electricity.
Factors like difficulty in the availability of diesel, gases that are released during
combustion makes us to look for a better fuel (alternate fuel) or if possible a
Test to be conducted:
The load carrying ability of an excavator determines the
number of cylinders in case of diesel engine and the size and number of motors
in case of motor arrangement. For a given load the mass rate of diesel
consumed should be evaluated for a specific time. Then the cost of diesel
incurred for that mass flow rate is evaluated. For the motor, the units of power
consumed for the same load should be noted for the same period of time and
then the cost incurred is to be evaluated. Both the results are to be compared
and the one which is economical can thus be found. This test should also
include the possible losses.
  Wire rope excavator

• The system eliminates much of the hydraulic circuit.
• The losses incurred in this case may be reduced since the hydraulic system
which offers viscous resistances are minimized and only few moving parts
may be encountered.
The advantages of the above system can be experienced
only when the model is studied well and put into real working model.
Some drawbacks:
™ The proposed unit may not handle the work effectively as that done by a
hydraulic unit.
™ The system is not recommended for heavy duty applications.
™ The bucket is required to be run using hydraulic system and hence separate
arrangement in addition to the wire rope mechanism is required to drive the
machine. This may seems to be complicated.
™ The difficulty in supplying large units of electric current to the machine
whenever required is the main draw back in case if the excavator is operated
by motor arrangement. This is because the machine cannot store electric
energy which is required for operation.
Although the development of wire rope excavator seems
to be difficult, it may be confirmed about the usage by making a prototype
(model) of the above said mechanism, evaluating all the constraints and the
possible limitations. For this purpose a thorough investigation is necessary.
  Wire rope excavator

Also the performance of both the diesel engine and a wire rope D.C.Rope (in
terms of cost and its effective operation) helps us to decide the installation of
the suitable type of power input. All we need is to develop a suitable system
which is capable of storing large amount of electric energy and discharging it
whenever required. Results of any idea will be found only when the proposal is
put into practical model and hence the above model may be prepared, as there
is no harm in trying.

The End