Design framework for DEM-supported prototyping of grabs including full-scale validation

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The design of machinery for handling granular materials relies mainly on empirical methods and in-house engineering knowledge. This traditional approach provides incremental improvements that are often limited. Advancements in simulation and optimization can offer a promising alternative approach. Most of the research involved in improving or optimizing equipment design does not include the realistic performance of the new prototype and as such it is uncertain that the predicted performance is also guaranteed in practice. In this study, a design framework for a new generation of machinery handling granular materials, grabs, has been established that includes a full-scale validation step. This has been proven to lead to a breakthrough in equipment design. This design framework uses a co-simulation between Discrete Element Method (DEM) and Multi Body Dynamics (MBD), thus, capturing operational conditions in full-scale. The DEM simulation supported design step integrated as the main step to generate new prototypes. The performance of the prototype is evaluated by conducting full-scale experiments, thus validating the adequacy of the new design as well as the accuracy of the co-simulation. Through this a full design cycle has been fulfilled and a validated model has been achieved that is independent of specific design configurations.