Conference Paper

Remote Controls On A Zero-Turn Commercial Lawn Mower To Conduct SAE J2194 Rollover Tests

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The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) developed an automatically deployable rollover protective structure (AutoROPS) for a zero-turn commercial mower. It was desired to evaluate this AutoROPS on a standard Scag Turf Tiger1 zero-turn commercial mower in field upset tests in accordance with SAE J2194. The standard Turf Tiger was converted to wireless radio remote control operation in order to perform these tests. The remote control design and conversion took approximately six months to complete at a material cost of less than $10,000. This paper discusses (a) the engineering process in developing a remote-controlled zero-turn mower; (b) the critical parameters of operation; (c) actuator sizing; (d) design of actuator control circuitry; (e) actuator integration on the mower; and (f) reliability testing of the system for functionality. The final system incorporates off-the-shelf components for design simplicity, user serviceability, and economic viability.

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... ROPS and seatbelts are a known guard against serious injury in the event of an overturn and should be considered as standard equipment. Indeed, Lutz & McKenzie (2005) observed that a ROPS was a critical safety addition to ZTR mowers. ...
Conference Paper
Marketing new safety devices is a critical function on the research-to-practice path. This path to adoption of new safety technology is not always straightforward. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Automatically deployable Rollover Protective Structure (AutoROPS) is a passive safety device developed to protect tractor operators in an overturn event. Tractor overturns kill more than 100 farmers each year in the United States (Myers, 2003). This technology was first designed to target the agricultural low-clearance environments involving “low-profile” tractors where traditional ROPS may not be feasible. These tractors are exempted from ROPS use as stated in OSHA 1928.51(b) (5) (i & ii). The upper portion of the AutoROPS remains retracted under low clearance areas but deploys to full height when an overturn is detected. The AutoROPS has been tested under both field and laboratory conditions prescribed in the ROPS performance standard, SAE J2194. To translate successful research into occupational practice, NIOSH formed a partnership with FEMCO, a ROPS manufacturer, in 2003. FEMCO’s efforts found Scag Power Equipment, a zero-turn commercial mower manufacturer. NIOSH has partnered with them as well. The Scag AutoROPS has been successfully laboratory tested to industry standards. Preliminary field evaluations of the deployment system have been conducted in preparation for field upset tests. Product development, test procedures, test results, and current marketing efforts are presented on this innovative safety device.
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