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DURATION

September - November, 2021

TEAMS

two members, together with another duo

ROLES

Product design, graphic design, 3D modeling, ergonomic analysis, writing.

SUMMARY

In Unidad de Proyecto IV 2021 we designed a ramp and platform system for a container to solve an ergonomic and productive problem in the Wastewater Treatment area at Pinturas Inca S.A. Being a subject, we work with the design, technology, ergonomics, marketing, and analysis and criticism professors of the units.

PREMISE

From the teaching team, it was proposed to work together with companies and businesses to provide solutions to the problems that they have in their spaces. In our case, we work two pairs together with Pinturas Inca S.A. to solve a problem in the Wastewater Treatment area.

PROBLEM

The waste generated after the treatment of wastewater from the plant has a single outlet from a centrifuge, so it is concentrated in a single point in a container, accumulates up a ramp, and obstructs the outlet. So that this doesn't happen, the plant operator must distribute the waste evenly manually with a shovel; this means that they must be checking the container regularly and need to resort to forced postures to accomplish the task, which is harmful to their health in the long and short term.

1
Problem statement

In this first stage, we investigate the problems raised by the doctor in the company, gathered the dimensions, user requirements, and situation to take into account when designing; also, we did an investigation of the company and processes that they carry out in the plant.

ABOUT THE COMPANY

What we investigated, in addition to the problem, was the history of the company, strategic, commercial, technical, labor, productive, social, and symbolic aspects.

PROBLEMS

The mud resulting from the treatment goes through a centrifugation process, where the maximum possible amount of water is separated. The water (through a pipe behind the container) goes to biological treatment and the dried mud falls from the centrifuge into a container that will be collected by a third-party company to make its ticholos (brick blocks).

The problem addressed by both duos as a team centers on the mud fall itself in the container, since the processes previously installed in the plant must be respected and, at the request of the counterparty, we must improve the situation without intervening globally in the workplace.

2
Designing alternatives

From a single project path, both teams decided to develop two alternatives per student (eight in total); For the next stage, it is planned to develop a single device from one or a combination of several alternatives for each team. I designed two devices that respond to the same concept: a device to facilitate the user's work when distributing the sewage mud.

DEVICE ONE

Through a device that rests on the container with wheels on its sides, the user takes the handle and uses it to pull the device along, distributing the mud evenly. The section that's responsible for distributing the sewage mud doesn't have right angles and has a smooth finish so it's easy to clean. I decided to carry out the movement of pulling instead of pushing through the length of the container (around 3 meters) and to allow the force to be carried out from the center of the device.

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It has two hooks on each side of the device to have a place to place the rope with the handle when not in use.

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The four wheels allow easy sliding along the container; it has stops against the inside of the container to prevent the device from sliding in another direction.

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The rope with the handle can be attached by a hook on both sides of the device. It also has two grips at the top to place and remove the device from the container.

SEQUENCE OF USE

  1. Get to the device.

  2. Hold the handle with both hands and walk to where you want to distribute the mud.

  3. Pull until you reach the desired location (the device comes to a stop at the end of the dump truck).

  4. Place the rope hook on the opposite side of where it was on the device and perform a movement similar to point 2 to the other side.

  5. Leave rope on the side hook for next use.

DEVICE TWO

Placed at the outlet of the centrifuge, the mud exits through the ramp; when an accumulation of material occurs, the user slides the lower area of the ramp through a system of rails located on top of the area, to distribute the sewage mud throughout the container.

I decided to split the ramp into two parts so that I could still have the sewage mud drop without constantly relying on the device.

The rails allow easy sliding along the container; it has a stop against the inside of the container to prevent the device from sliding in another direction.

The device´s grips are located on the sides; it is indicated that it is the grip area using a material and color different from the device

SEQUENCE OF USE

  1. Get to the device.

  2. Hold the handle with one or both hands and walk to where you want to distribute the sewage sludge.

  3. Pull until you reach the desired location (the device comes to a stop at the end of the dump truck).

  4. Return the ramp to the starting point analogously to point 2 (it stops with the fixed ramp) and leave for the next use.

The development time for all alternatives was two weeks, so all designs end up in a sketch state as they don't go through enough revisions to stand on their own. Despite this, my team chose to continue the device two that I proposed, while the other pair set out to design a platform for the container; in this way, both designs would work together in a complementary way.

3
Final design

We concluded this last stage with the design of two devices to be installed to eliminate the physical effort that the operator user had to make. Before installing, it's necessary to make a structural change, because when cleaning the centrifuge at the end of the day, the water falls into the container and therefore rehydrates the already dry mud, ending up as another problem.

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STRUCTURAL CHANGES

Before the placement of the devices in the work area, a series of changes must be made: first, the existing ramp must be removed from the context, and then a centrifuge drain pipe must be placed behind the container, where additionally there would be a gutter to direct the water.

FINAL DESIGN: RAMP

It is a ramp made in a 2 mm folded and welded steel sheet with an anti-gravel finish.

 

It has two positions: the first is for the fall of the mud at an angle of 110°, while the second position is so that, when the centrifuge is being cleaned from above, the water is channeled, falling into the chamber instead of the container.

 

Also, it has four canals, to help the mud to be distributed across the width of the container; in addition, the sides of the ramp are higher so that, when the sludge is forcefully expelled from the centrifuge, it prevents it from falling outside the container, and when cleaning is done, it prevents the water ending up inside the container.

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ANTI-GRAVEL

The finish is anti-gravel, which, being prepared based on synthetic resins, is a finish that is highly resistant to humidity, as well as protecting the parts to which it is applied from corrosion.

WINCH MECHANISM

The ramp positions are mechanically managed through a winch with controls, so the user does not apply force, contrary to what was previously done manually. The winch is located on top of the platform and is attached to it using a hook.

CONTROLS

The controls are located on the side of the container. When the operator presses the control, the ramp performs the movement to be in the mud drop or cleaning mode.

OVERALL DIMENSIONS

MUD FALL

RAMP EXPLOSION

WATER FALL

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Side view of the mud fall position.

Side view of the water fall position.

SEQUENCE OF USE

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  1. Press the switch to position the platform out of the centrifugate zone (enough for water to fall into the chamber).

  2. With the ramp in the cleaning position and the platform facing out of the centrifuge area, turn on the centrifuge from the office/laboratory and wait around 20 minutes to verify proper operation, in addition to allowing the water accumulated in the pipes to drain out from the day before.

  3. Walk towards the centrifuge area and press the switch on the platform to position the container under the ramp.

  4. Press the switch to place the ramp in position for the fall of the mud.

  5. Return to the office/laboratory and activate the centrifuge to start the day.

  6. Regularly check every one to two hours, the spin area to move the platform and continue the distribution of the mud throughout the container.

  7. Once the day is over, press the switch to place the ramp in the cleaning position and press the switch to place the platform outside the spin zone, and then proceed to clean the centrifuge and ramp with a pressure washer.

  8. Once the cleaning is finished, press the switch to place the platform under the roof of the centrifuge area.

4
Conclusions

IMPACT AND LEARNING

As for the challenge itself, on the one hand, we were faced with a very specific and technical situation, which limited us both in knowledge and creativity but, on the other hand, it was a project with great potential to learn new design techniques. As an opportunity, I highlight the fact of having worked together with a leading company in the national market, in addition to the fact of leaving our comfort zone facing an unknown situation that required us to acquire new knowledge, a process that is essential for all people: we are in a constant process of formation.

In addition to working together with our counterpart at Pinturas Inca, we were also able to develop contact and exchange with professionals from different areas such as mechanical engineers, chemists with knowledge in fluid mechanics, architects, mechanics, and blacksmiths, who gave us new perspectives that contributed to the greatest potential of design.

Lastly and above all, I highlight a great level of willingness on behalf of the people in the company, who showed us and explained all the processes, gave us feedback on all designs, and were present throughout the process.

IN THE FUTURE...

Regarding pending issues, as it was a complex project that covers different areas of knowledge and given the limited time in which it was developed, we understand that there are still aspects that could be improved, such as defining the wiring system with an electrician, the installation of everything and creating a prototype with real materials to verify its correct performance.

MORE ON THE PROJECT

For a little more information about the project, here the full final report is available (in Spanish).

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