Date of Award
As part of the University of Rhode Island’s senior capstone design program, Toray Plastics (America) Inc. has proposed a design challenge which involves creating an end-board loading station to be used in conjunction with their new automated packaging facility. This report details the design challenges, objectives, and processes which were used to arrive at final design for the end-board loading mechanism for Toray Plastics (America) Inc. This report also analyzes and proves the validity of the solution from all perspectives.
Toray Plastics located in North Kingstown, RI, is a producer of plastics prominently used in the food industry for packaging. The plastic packing materials are shipped out on large rolls and recently Toray has been building a fully automated packaging facility to expedite the shipping process. Toray ships these rolls of material on a large coil with end-boards on the sides to support the coil. The new packaging facility has robots which will remove the end-boards from a designated cart and place them onto the ends of the rolls. The challenge which Toray has presented is to design something to assist operators remove the end-boards from the shipping pallets and place them onto the designated carts in the correct orientation. The solution that has been developed by Team 1 is device which will help an operator move 15 of the end-boards at once. The proposed solution uses an internal gripping mechanism which will be lowered into the center of the end-boards and expand outwards gripping the inner diameter. The device will be lifted by an electric hoist and attached to a trolley system to lift and maneuver the end-boards. The internal gripping mechanism will require no external force and it relies on gravity and the weight of the end-boards to secure and grip the end-boards. Only when the end-boards are placed on the ground and no longer being lifted is it possible for the gripping device to be detached.
The proposed solution satisfies all design requirements and removes the lifting requirements from the operators which dramatically improves ergonomics and safety. This solution also has the potential to significantly increase the rate of production by allowing for the handling of many end-boards instead of one end-board at a time. This solution was the final result of months of discussion and deliberation and this report details the process taken to arrive at this final design. With guidance from Toray Plastics the design team has arrived at this solution and proved the concept’s strength through thorough cost, safety, ergonomic, and engineering analysis.
O'Shea, Jack; Walsh, Griffin; Wolf, Garrett; and Yorio, Mike, "Toray End-board Loading Station" (2017). Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design Projects. Paper 2.