Self-balanced Vertical Shelving Carousel
This report presents the final design of the Self-Balanced Carousel project facilitated between Vidir Solutions and the University of Manitoba. The goal of the project was to design a self-balancing upgrade to Vidir’s vertical shelving carousel, such that each carrier maintains its inclination at any given time or position. This would prevent issues caused by uneven shelf loading. The final design presented in the report is broken down into four major components. A guide track, pictured in red, was added to both side towers of the carousel. Each track requires a set of mounting brackets, shown in cyan. On either side of each shelf, we added a wheel, shown in blue. Finally, we redesigned the shelf-chain connection, pictured in pink, to be compatible with the track. The strength of the components was evaluated with a preliminary finite element analysis, as applicable. The tracks and wheels work together to constrain each shelf, preventing swaying and tilting. The guide tracks constrain the position of the shelf’s wheels, which in turn constrains the rotation of the whole shelf. The tracks allow the wheels to move in tandem with the shelf’s pivoting axis, as driven by the carousel’s main chain system. Beyond solving the main problem, our design addresses key concerns discovered over the course of the project. By putting guide tracks on both carousel towers and not having mirror symmetry, the two superimpose to provide total coverage for the entire carousel rotation. A reworked shelf-chain connection facilitates shelf installation with a much smaller overall profile, minimizing the effect of necessary gaps in each guide track. The lower portion of the track is adjustable to accommodate the carousel’s chain tensioning mechanism. The design satisfactorily meets the project specifications. Notably, we performed a motion simulation and determined that the design limited the shelf’s tilt to ≤2.5° in both clockwise and counterclockwise motion around the carousel. Our design comes in below budget, with a total material cost estimate of $687.19. We recommend Vidir manufacture a prototype to test impact between the track and wheel where gaps in the track exist, a specification we were unable to conclusively model.