Perkins Specialized Transportation Contracting (Perkins) provides highway transportation services for long, heavy, and oversized objects. Its engineers recently used Autodesk Simulation software for the custom design of a 400-ft long truck specifically created to transport nuclear generators.
The truck took almost three years to design and gives a safe and efficient way to transport enormous and often radioactive components that were once considered immovable. The truck successfully carried four steam generators from the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in southern California to a disposal site in Clive, Utah.
The vehicle is longer than a football field, has 192 wheels and 48 axles, each of which can be turned independently. The truck can effectively navigate sharp turns and different road grades. Autodesk Digital Prototyping software helped Perkins engineers use a 100% digital approach to create a truck capable of carrying a 400-ton payload over 750 miles.
The engineering team started with 2D sketches of the transporter created in AutoCAD. Then, they imported the files into Inventor to model them in 3D. The software helped Perkins engineers perform motion analysis and check for interferences throughout a full range of motion as the various axles turned and rotated.
The team also used Autodesk Simulation software to optimize its designs, ensuring that the transporter had only the support beams necessary to successfully distribute weight among the various axles. The stress analysis ensured that no axles were overloaded and that the truck was as strong and light as possible.