Insert Base Automated Foam Gasket Installation
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Melet Plastics Inc. has tasked Team 15 with designing an automated method of installing a foam gasket onto a plastic insert base. The current installation process is done manually, which is costly, tedious, fast paced, and makes the operator prone to repetitive strain injury. Melet aims to automate the entire process from installation to packaging. To meet the objectives of the project, the project scope, client needs, technical specifications, and constraints and limitations were defined. To verify the practicality and achievability of the final design, the client required a feasibility study and a cost estimate along with the final machine design concept at the end of the project. The final design phase involved generating detailed designs for the two layouts that were selected from the conceptual design phase. After sourcing all the required parts for each layout from suppliers, a feasibility study was conducted on each layout. The feasibility study analyzed the financial and technical feasibility, as well as an assessment of the risks of each layout. Based on the results from the study, the final design that was selected is the Gantry Layout due to the ability of maintaining the current cycle time of four parts every 21 seconds, fitting within the current system footprint, and meeting a payback period of $140,000 over two years. The Gantry Layout design starts with a shuttle system consists of two belt-driven linear actuators. Each actuator transports a jig table that secures the insert bases in place. The shuttle system delivers the insert bases directly from the machine arm that receives the bases from the injection molding machine, to the gantry system for gasket installation. The gantry system consists of a pick-and-place machine that utilizes needle grippers to install the foam gaskets. After the gaskets are installed onto the insert bases, the shuttle system transports the finished products to the packaging area. To unload the insert bases from the shuttle system, a six-axis robot is used to pick the finished products from the jig table and place them in a packaging box. The final estimated cost of the Gantry Layout design is $127,000.