3D Animation: Structural Failure of A Power Step

Hugh Borbidge, BSME, Director of 3D Engineering Animations

Our client came to us with an interesting challenge. How do we show the stresses involved in the structural failure of a Power Step? My first question was, what is a Power Step? Is it a new aerobics class? A Power Step is a hydraulic bucket lift that allows workers to board oversized construction equipment.

A previous failure of the Power Step involved a worker who fell from the bucket to the ground, sustaining serious injuries. A mechanical engineer was retained to study the stresses placed on the arm of the Power Step as it raised and lowered. The engineer was able to provide color stress maps of the arm at a few key positions.

The 3D engineering animations team at DJS was first asked to model a working version of the Power Step from provided drawings, photographs, and videos; and second, to show how the stresses changed as the arm raised and lowered.

The result was a working 3D model of the Power Step, demonstrating its functionality while showing an up-close view of the arm with an animated stress map applied. The stresses are higher in the red portions of the map and lower in the green portions.

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