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ME 4171 Summary of Past Projects

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ME 4171 Summary of Past Projects

ME 4171 - Environmentally Conscious Design and Manufacture Summary List of Past Projects

1995 List of Projects (Summary)

Automation of Scrap Tire Processing into Perma-Mulch - Waste Tire Management

Waste Tire Management is a local tire collector and recycler which is making a product called Perma-Mulch. Perma-Mulch is in essence a rubber mat of "fake" hardwood mulch which you can place around trees. I have attached a brochure of the product and company. The product is made out of recycled tires and in very high demand, so high that Waste Tire Management needs to increase their output significantly. The company wants to know how it can best automate their current process. Your task is to design an technically, economically and environmentally sound automated process for making the Perma-Mulch. The president of the company, Ron Green, has made himself available to answer questions and provide technical support. The company is based in Lawrenceville (see attached brochure), so you should definitely visit it of you are interested in this project.

Use of Recycled Glass in Sheet Molding Compound Manufacture - Premix, Inc.

Sheet Molding Compound (SMC) is a fiber glass type material. Roughly, glass and plastic compound are mixed and pressed together in sheets. Typically, high quality glass is used, so called E-Glass. However, Premix is interested in identifying the technical, economical, and ecological trade-offs of using recycled glass, also known as A-Glass. You would have to do a cost-benefit analysis from technical, economical, and ecological perspectives. Dr. Dave Bonner, vice-president and chief technical officer is your initial contact. I am trying to get you another contact as well. Another technical contact is Stewart Coulter who is a Ph.D. student here at Tech (894-8528). He has worked at Premix and can provide you some process information.

Evaluation of Chromium Plating Processes for Aircraft Components - SAIC

All of you should be familiar with chromium and chromium plated products. Several different chormium plating processes are available, but some are more environmentally sound than others. However, the cheaper processes tend to be the more hazardous processes. In this project, you will have to identify the best chromium plating process out of six available prcesses for an aircraft component. We would like you to use a piece of software called ASURE for this. ASURE is a spreadsheet based program developed by SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation) for risk and trade-off analyses. Your job is to model the six plating processed in ASURE and find the best plating process for the given component. Dr. Harsh Karandikar will be your technical contact at SAIC. He has access to additional information from Pratt & Whitney (a major aircraft engine manufacturer) and from the Air Force.

Automation of Disassembly Processes - AT&T, Motorola, Ford

In this project, the focus is to investigate the possibility of automating the process of demanufacturing electronic products. A critical issue is the automated removal of screws from electronic assemblies. In general, such a fastener removal process would involve the following problems:
  • Locating the screw face with the vision system.
  • Positioning the robot head/tool to remove the fastener.
  • Orienting the part for the automation.
  • Holding the part in place while the screw is being removed.
Specific questions to be answered in this project are:
  • What capabilities are needed for such a process and what capabilities exist already in commercial equipment?
  • How can an algorithm and process be developed for automated screw removal?
  • What aspects of the product design have the largest impact on such an automated process ? Some initial factors to consider are size of screw, protrusions, reflectiveness of material, etc. Simulation will be one of the tools employed to identify such factors.
Motorola, AT&T and Ford are sponsoring a project in the Manufacturing Research Center of which this is a part. Matthew Hryniak is a students who is working on this project and you can contact him for more information.

Economic Assessment of an Automobile Door Remanufacturing Process - Chrysler

In this project, your task is to model and assess the cost of remanufacturing car doors. Remanufacture of products and components is generally regarded as being better than merely recycling the embedded materials. Automotive drive train components such as engines and transmission have always been classical examples of remanufactured components. Doors have never really been remanufactured, except on a case by case basis in bodyshops. The question to be answered in this project is whether large scale remanufacture is economically feasible. You will have to design a remanufacture process and set up a spreadsheet based cost model of the process to answer this question. Your prime contact person is Tony Amezquita (894-8528) who has studied the remanufacture of doors. We have different car doors available for comparison in our lab. A contact at Chrysler is Mark Russel.

Instrument Panel Redesign - Chrysler

The automotive companies are facing stricter regulations w.r.t. recycling. A notoriously difficult component to recycle is the instrument panel. It is often difficult to remove, has wires, gauges, foam, and a lot of different and incompatible materials. Your task is to come up with a feasible design of a "green" instrument panel which is easier to recycle than current designs. More information will follow from Susan Yester who is Chrysler's recycling executive.

Sunvisor and/or Remote Door Mirror Redesign for Recyclability - Chrysler, American Plastic Council

The American Plastic Council is investigating continuous stream automated plastic recycling processes. These processes rely heavily on shredding and material separation by flotation and shredding. Although it may sound unbelievable, Chrysler is having trouble with the Neon sunvisor in that these contain twelve (!) different materials. Chrysler is interested in seeing whether a) the current sunvisor should be recycled using a continuous shredder process or a manual disassembly process (cost is the major issue), and b) how the current sunvisor can best be redesigned to reduce the cost of recycling. The same applies to the electric door mirror. For more information, you can call Frank Parkinson at Jeep Truck Engineering. I am looking for a contact at the American Plastic Council as well.

1994 List of Projects (Summary)

Reduction of Automobile Tire Waste - Chrysler Corporation

Automobile tires are a large source of waste and the automotive companies are being held responsible by the government to reduce the waste generated by automobile tires. You will have to think about an infrastructure to reduce the waste, find alternative uses of tires, and possibilities of recycling. Mark Russel of the Large Vehicle Platform at the Chrysler Corporation has agreed to be your technical contact. I encourage you to contact him in order to define the project description.

Styrene Collection and Removal - Premix

This project deals with collecting and removing hazardous styrene from manufacturing processes at Premix. You would have to design a system which enhance the environmental friendliness of the polymer manufacturing process. I have attached a project description which has been prepared by Stewart Coulter who is in your class. He has worked at Premix and can provide you with more detailed information.

Waste Water Recycling - Texas Instruments

This project deals with the reduction (by treatment and/or prevention) of waste water generated by the Texas Instruments plant in Attleboro, MA. You would have to come up with practical and implementable solutions to this problem. More details are given in the attached description. Zach VerGow who is in the class has worked various time at this Texas Instruments' plant and can provide you some more details.

Design of Environmentally Benign Packaging Material - General Motors

A lot of automotive plants are actually assembly plants to which the parts to be assembled are supplied. All these parts come in a package and you can imagine that all the packaging material causes large amounts of waste. The objective of this particular project is to design a reusable container to transport a steel ring (see attached fax transmittal). More information is forthcoming. We are in the process of identifying a contact at GM.

Design of a Modular Environmentally Benign Car

Prof. Richard Maarten from Industrial Design and Scott Steadman are involved in designing a low cost, easily configurable car for handicapped persons. The car has to be reconfigurable because of the various types of handicaps. A prototype is under construction in the Wesco building. However, they are also interested in making reconfigurable and environmentally benign cars based on this prototype for the general public. That is the basic goal of the project. This project is relatively open ended, but there are various aspects which can be investigated. For instance, what aspects of such a car should be combined into modules? What are technically and economically good ways to connect these modules? What type of engine should be used, electrical, propane, gas, or a combination?

Design of Modular Environmentally Benign Housing

Another project offered by Prof. Maarten deals with housing. Houses are built and typically are torn down or fall apart once they become inhabitable. This process causes and enormous waste of resources (see also your textbook). Prof. Richard Maarten from Industrial Design is interested in designing housing which is modular and can either be reused or easily adapted into a new improved house. The goal is to create cheaper housing by extending their useful life and thus reduce the consumption of resources. Ideally, he wants to have some prototypes available for the 1996 Olympic Games. Although this project is relatively open ended, there are various aspects which can be investigated. For instance, how big or how small should the house's "modules" be? What is technically, economically and environmentally the best way to create a modular house? How should the modules be connected?

Compatibility of Plastics in (Automotive) Design - Chrysler

This project deals with determining the compatibility of various plastics (and perhaps other materials) utilized in (automotive) design. I have parenthesized the word automotive because although the initial idea came from the automotive industry, it is also applicable to other fields of design (e.g., appliances). What you would have to do is gather detailed information regarding the compatibility of various plastics, and develop a good material selection method (plus software, if possible) which can be used by designers to select the best materials for their design. It is possible that Chrysler will provide a technical contact for this project, but that is still to be determined.

Automotive Solutions Competition - (GM, Ford, Chrysler)

I have attached some information regarding the so-called Automotive Solutions Competitions sponsored by the Big Three automakers. Although the deadline for participation is expired, the competition description still provides a challenging and real world problem. Although the competition focuses on the technical and economical feasibility of recovering under-the-hood plastic components, I encourage you to think beyond merely plastics. If I were you, I would also consider suggestions for redesigning under-the-hood components and associated layout to facilitate recovery. This is not states in the competition overview. I can provide some more information and contacts at Chrysler can probably be utilized for technical information.

Padnos Design Competition for Environmentally Conscious Design

I have attached a copy of the Padnos Design Competition. The main issue is to address the environmental aspect of product design. To increase your chances, you may want to think about a product which is a) environmental friendly, and b) helps cleaning up the environment. It is a neat project in case you want to exercise you creativity in reducing the environmental impact of engineering systems. But remember, in addition to the environmental aspects, I also want to see the engineering details addressed.

Created by jaughenbaugh
Last modified 12/30/2004 12:26 PM

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