Date of Award
Hope Global runs a Beaded Profile extrusion line that features a polypropylene plastic bead, bonded to a polypropylene non-woven synthetic material. The product is run through a cooling tank, vision inspection system, laser cutter, and finally loaded into boxes where they are weighed and packed. These bonded pieces are shipped to vehicle dealerships around the world as they are used to clip a variety of seat covers to their respective seats. Once the laser cutter executes a pattern of cuts for a given part, that part is counted and sent down a conveyor belt to drop into the J-Box. However, the current counting system has proven to be ineffective, as there is no automatic reset for the product counter on the system. An operator with the task to inspect and package the pieces, at the end of the line, is forced to intervene and frequently neglect their assignment in order to reset the counter on the laser cutter. Due to inefficiencies in the drying process, change is humidity and a fluctuating ambient temperature, Hope Global would like to deviate from the current weighing system as a means to count the final product. Before completing any design work for this solution, patent and literature searches were completed to fully understand methods of previous inventions pertaining to the problem at hand. Thirty design concepts were brainstormed by each team member with sketches and descriptions. Then research techniques ruled out many of them. Through extensive research on previous inventions with this technique, it was determined that using the already efficient laser cutter with a new counting system would be quite complicated. In fact, upon further research and consultation meetings at Hope Global, it was determined that any additional computerized system was inefficient for this solution. It was determined that linking the cutting sequence counter to a simple mechanical system is common in a manufacturing plant and also inexpensive. At this point in the design process it was decided that a diverting system installed at the end of the conveyor belt would be the optimal solution to this manufacturing problem. Upon further inspection of the design specifications and dimensions at the facility, the concepts were narrowed down further and a physical component was designed on SolidWorks and produced with a 3D printer. This design consists of a two angled aluminum walls that guide pieces to the desired location as well as a stabilization platform. A pin axis will be attached to a bracket that is connected to the conveyor belt walls. A motor mounted to a bracket will be linked to the counting system, signaling for a rotation of the guide once the desired count is attained. A multitude of 3D printed models have been created and tested at the facility, with minor design changes necessary after each test. After four testing trials, a final 3D model was printed and a sheet metal prototype was machined at the Hope Global facility. Moving forward, the metal prototype will be adjusted to meet the specifications of the final 3D model and a SVL-201 servo motor will be mounted to an additional bracket and gear-belt system to initiate rotation. This design ensures an autonomous method of counting beaded profile parts at Hope Global with 100 percent accuracy.
Johnson, Kyle; Jurczyk, Stone; Lemoie, Nick; and Pinto, Keenan, "Hope Global -- BEADED PROFILE COUNTER" (2019). Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design Projects. Paper 64.