How to make an automatic box change system that puts empty boxes in the right position and automatically removes full boxes to another ‘floor’? This is what 2nd year mechanical engineering students were looking for throughout the academic year. They presented their final results on Wednesday in Den Bosch.
That the students do not consider the presentations as a compulsory number becomes clear when the sorting machine in group A is connected and working. In the room in Techhal on Uddannelsesboulevarden, all 2nd year students at Maskinteknik shout a big cheer, followed by applause. And it also comes with the groups that come after.
During the year, the students worked on creating an automatic cash change system for the fictitious company Het Betere Boutje and the existing Optimus Sorters, which supplied part of the machine. The technical students were asked to design a system that moves an empty box from the supply track to the correct position, and when the box is full, it automatically discharges it to the runway below. The machines must be able to lift a weight of about twenty kilos, the same weight as they fill boxes at factories like Bol.com and Amazon with packages. During the presentations, the students told about their machines and showed if it worked.
“I’m glad we succeeded. We worked hard on it, and it was quite difficult,” said Tycho Steuten after his presentation, as his team members are disassembling the machine. “We did not have that many driving hours in years, it was a challenge. It was fairly new material, which made it a very educational and fun project. ”
As few parts as possible
During the project, Tycho and his team members thought carefully about the machine, the manufacturing process and how it works. They came up with the idea of using as few parts as possible, which their teachers called a creative find. “That way you have the least risk that something will not work. And you saw that with us too: the mechanical part worked completely. It is also the cheapest, ”says the Avans student. “All in all, we are satisfied. We have worked hard on it. There is always room for improvement, such as the speed of the machine. But it’s something for next time. “
About 75 students participate in the project, divided into twelve groups. They have been reviewed several times throughout the year. This was done, among other things, on their design, cost estimates, plan for approach, electricity, programming and a risk analysis. And now to the overall picture. Project manager and teacher Alex Zehenpfenning mentions the project’s added value for the subject area, where many boxes are still manually placed on machines. “It is not very good ergonomically, the boxes are heavy with twenty kilos of packages. The students automate it with this product, «says the Avans employee, who also says that the students benefit from this project. “In many projects, it is left to design a machine, here they also have to make it themselves. You learn a lot from that, because you often only find out when you build whether your design is good or not. ”
‘In many projects it remains with the design of a machine, here they also have to make it themselves’
Martijn van Driel, also a mechanical engineering student, watches the presentations from a distance in the morning. He himself must first show his finished product in a few hours. But he already knows that not everything works. “Something went wrong yesterday. The weight of twenty kilos in the boxes turned out to be too heavy for our machine. Luckily it still worked before that and we made a video. So we have evidence, “he says with a laugh.
Martijn thought the project, which lasted almost an entire academic year, was tough, but like the rest of the students, it was fun. That was part of the project’s goal: to think automation. “I think it’s a very interesting topic that I might want to work on in the future.”
According to the mechanical engineering student, what was the key to the success of a successful product, he believes, is good mutual communication. He was even in a group where things were going well, which made the job easier. “It was fun, but I’m glad it’s over now. It was hard work, ”he concludes.