Huisinga, R., Rottier, K., Baertlein, J., and Kaye, A., "Heavy-Duty Off-Road Vehicle Power-Pack Design for Assembly and Maintenance," SAE Technical Paper 2012-01-2056, 2012, doi:10.4271/2012-01-2056.
The designers of heavy-duty off-road vehicles have been facing increasing pressure to reduce the cost and time required for assembly and maintenance. While the requirement to reduce assembly times is mainly an OEM driven objective, the requirement to reduce maintenance times is frequently driven by the customer. The design team is usually faced with the challenge of balancing functional requirements with what are often viewed as wish lists of easy assembly and maintenance, under the pressure of ever shorter development cycles. As a result, vehicle maintainability and ease of assembly are often overlooked early in the design cycle which can lead to less than desired results.This paper explores the design objectives and resultant solutions which were developed in the creation of the power-pack of a heavy-duty off-road vehicle. The customer requirements of improved maintenance access and dramatically reduced engine and transmission replacement times, were established early in the concept phase.Using concepts such as modular assembly, the assembly time was either reduced or redistributed to balance the assembly line. The modular concept was also used to facilitate maintenance tasks by making certain modules easy to remove or by allowing them to swing out of the way for service. Design of certain parts resulted in many components with built in assembly or service aids. Careful development of electrical, pneumatic and hydraulic routings significantly reduced engine and transmission, remove and replace times.These efforts demonstrated that innovative design can play a large role in the life cycle costs of the vehicle.