Automated Transfer of Plasma Cutting Dust

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Ruday, Andrew
de Vos, Jonathan
Schkawritka, Keegan
Qian, Kewei
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Russel Metals (The Client), a bulk metal sales and metal processing company, has commissioned a team of four students from the University of Manitoba Mechanical Engineering program to help find a solution for a problem they are experiencing. At its Clarence Avenue location in Winnipeg Russel Metals uses a Kinetic K5000xmc plasma cutter and combination drilling machine for metal processing. Plasma cutting creates debris, dust and fumes. These by-products are removed and contained from the cutting location by the dust collection system, however this system is not capable of containing all the plasma dust created from cutting, as a result this dust is contaminating the shop area around the machine as well exposing machine operators to this dust. The goal of this project is to contain all dust created by cutting operations in a sustainable way and to improve the disposal process. The student team identified and confirmed the clients’ needs regarding the solution to this project as follows, in order of importance; that Plasma cutter downtime be kept to a minimum, that plasma dust be contained during operation of the machine, worker safety is increased, footprint of the machine is not increased, Shop cleanliness is maintained during daily operations, and the solution has long tem sustainability. The project team identified three problem areas that are believed to cause the problem namely the top exhaust vent of the collection unit, the seal between the disposal bin and the collection unit and the disposal process. The team found a solution for all three areas, the implementation of the solution will be done in two phases with a third optional phase. Phase one involves sealing the disposal bin to the collection unit with butyl rubber and adding actuators that will create four points of contact as opposed to the existing one point of contact, as well as extending the top exhaust vent through the exterior wall. Phase two of the solution replaces the existing disposal bin with a custom made hopper to which a screw conveyor is attached, the screw conveyor is attached to a support structure just outside of the facility...