The purpose of earth-moving equipment like wheel loaders is to engage with the ground or other material. It is therefore obvious that the bucket filling phase must be included when studying optimal machine control over a complete working cycle because total productivity and efficiency of the machine are to a large extent determined by it. This paper reports and discusses the results of research into how to utilize Discrete Element Method simulations in combination with Optimal Control to find the optimal bucket filling strategy and what has been learned regarding preparing and conducting both simulations of bucket filling and physical testing for verification. This paper also discloses which bucket filling strategy appears to be optimal, based on the results so far – and why we cannot be completely certain.
Keywords: Wheel loaders, bucket filling, working cycle, trajectory, optimization, simulation, optimal control, dynamic programming, tool/ground interaction, discrete-element method