WEIGHT REDUCTION OF SUPPORT STRUCTURES
In modem engineering industry the weight reduction of support structures of machines is important. One possibility to reduce the weight of the support structures is to use sandwich configuration. Mechanical properties of sandwich structures are characterized by higher strength-to-weight and stiffness-to-weight ratios than those of stiffened steel plate structures. In conceptual phase topological optimization ha!> been performed, that allowed to find structurally sound initial model for further design and parametrical optimization. Topological and parametrical optimization has been performed using commercial finite element analysis software system. Using parametrical 3D modelling and finite element analysis allows considerable flexibility of designing products with different configurations, which is very important in shortening time to market with new products. In the current study, welded steel structures consisting of walls and ribs welded in between them are proposed. The strength properties depending on ribs configuration and the length of welds have been examined. Manufacturing of such structures requires new technological approach. Some technological adaptations for construction of sandwich frames arc also described in this paper. As an example, the design and reduction of mass of brush-cutting machine's body has been investigated.