Team Design Project

Description & Guidelines

 

In the lab portion of Engineering 182, your team will design, build and test a sorting mechanism to attach to a standardized conveyor system to sort recyclables.  As natural resources become scarcer and difficult to extract, an efficient method of sorting recyclables and economically reprocessing them will become necessary. The United States is the world's leading producer of waste. Recycling some of that waste reduces the landfill space required, the amount of natural resources exploited, and the energy used to maintain our standard of living.

 

Three different objects have been selected to represent common recyclable materials in this class:

 

            1. Metal cylinders

            2. Recyclable cups

            3. Wooden cubes

 

Note: You will be provided with a sample of each object to measure.

 

The conveyor/sorter system is required to sort the objects into bins with all type 1 objects in bin 1, all type 2 objects in bin 2, etc. In addition, the number of items sorted into one of the bins must be counted, and a digital display must indicate the number of items in the bin at any time. During the preliminary and final tests of the conveyor/sorter systems, a member of the instructional team will place up to 30 objects, one at a time, on the conveyor belt. No more than 10 objects of any one type will be on the belt. The objects will be placed at random locations across the 11-inch width of the belt. Cylindrical objects will be set on end so that they do not roll on the belt if possible. Objects will be placed on the first 6 inches of the belt, so there shall be no obstructions in those first 6 inches.

 

The conveyor will be used by all groups working at a particular lab table, so any modification or disassembly of conveyor is prohibited.

 

Sorting Mechanism Materials: Each team will be provided with standard conveyor system, and a storage bin containing consumable construction materials and parts for the sensor circuits:

 

            2 Dowels - 1/4"x48"

            1 1"x48"x20 ga. Al strip

            10 Sheets 8 1/2"x11" cardboard

            1 Each - cup, block & cylinder

            Assorted angle iron, amount to be determined

 

 

 

 

 

At each table, there will be the following non-consumable tools and supplies that must remain at the table:

 

            1 Power supply with terminal wires

            1 Counter

            1 Voltmeter

            1 Toolkit

            2 Socketed connector wires

            1 Working surface (Lab table protector)

            Possible Additional materials - fan, magnet, motor...

 

At the front of the lab, there will be a selection of tapes, glues and more specialized tools.

 

To use additional consumable construction materials or to use non-standard materials, you must submit "Supplemental Equipment Proposal".

 

Sorting Mechanism Size: Since each group's sorting mechanism must be removed from the conveyor belt between lab sessions, a storage box of approximately 12"x12"x18" will be provided. All parts of the sorting mechanism, including bins, breadboard and electronics must fit into the box, or must be taken home between labs. For safety reasons, the storage box must fully close, with no protruding pieces.

 

Bins: Students will construct three bins to catch the objects being sorted. Sheets of cardboard and rolls of tape will be supplied to make the bins. Each bin will be clearly marked for items 1, 2, or 3. The team will determine the size, orientation, and location of the bins with respect to the conveyor system. Bins must be collapsible so that they can be stored with the conveyor system.

 

Open Lab Hours: The sorting mechanism project can be time consuming, so the labs will be made available for open lab hours. The times and policies will be announced at week five of the quarter. Students wishing to work on the sorting mechanism at home are encouraged to do so.

 

Preliminary Test of the System: During the laboratory session in Week 8, each team's conveyor/sorter system will be going through a preliminary test followed by an opportunity for debugging. A member of the instructional staff will put 2 of each type of object (types 1, 2, and 3) on the conveyor belt, one at a time, in random order. The system should sort all six items into the proper bins, and the number of items in bin 1 should be counted. The purpose of the preliminary test is to allow student teams to identify any problems with their systems so that the problems can be fixed in time for the final test during the Week 9 lab session.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Test of the System: During the laboratory session in Week 9, each team's system will undergo the final scored test. The conveyor/sorter system will be required to sort objects into bins with all type 1 objects in bin 1, all type 2 objects in bin 2, etc. In addition, the number of items sorted into one of the bins must be counted, and a digital display must indicate the number of items in the bin at any time. A member of the instructional team will place 30 objects (10 objects of each type), one at a time, on the conveyor belt. The objects will be placed at random locations across the 11-inch width of the belt. The items will be placed on the belt randomly. Objects will be placed on the first 6 inches of the belt.

 

Each team can determine the rate at which objects are placed on the belt (limited, of course, by the speed at which an instructor can set objects on the belt), but the team has a maximum of 3 minutes to sort all objects. Teams may place the bins where they wish.  After the bins are placed and the system is turned on, the students cannot adjust, control, or otherwise interfere with the system.

 

Scoring for the Final System Test:  Each team will be allowed up to three trials.  The maximum time allowed for each trial is 3 minutes.  Each trial will be scored separately, and the best score will be the team’s recorded score.  The maximum score of 100 points is equivalent to a grade of 100%.  Points will be awarded as follows:

 

            First object correctly sorted in each bin:  20 points

            Each additional object in the correct bin:  1 point

            Each object sorted into the wrong bin:  minus 1 point

            Each object not going into any bin:  minus 2 points

            Counter on the bin counts some objects in the bin:  5 points

            Counter on the bin correctly counts the number of objects in the bin:  8 points (in

            addition to the 5 points awarded for the counter working for some objects)

 

Determining the Winner of the Competition:  While scores will be determined by how accurately the system sorts the recyclable objects within 3 minutes, the winning team in each class will be the one with the best combination of speed and efficiency as determined by the following formula:  Score = number of items properly sorted – total sorting time in seconds.  The team with the highest score wins.  For example, if Team A sorts 30 objects properly in 20 seconds, their score is 30-20 = 10.

 

NOTE:  All tools and materials assigned to a team must be returned and formally accounted for at the end of the quarter.  Failure to return any object will result in a grade of incomplete for the entire team until the object is found or replaced.

 

 

 

 

             

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