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Capstone Innovation Design Clinic ~ Spring 2018 Teams

Innovation Design Clinic | Engineering Service Learning | Mobile App Challenge

Capstone IDC Teams (31) | Spring 2018

1. Turlock Irrigation District (TID) – Ceres Main Regulating Reservoir

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Michelle Reimers

Background

The Turlock Irrigation District has a complex system of canals used to convey water via gravity flow from our reservoirs in the foothills. Because the water is gravity fed, manually operated, and highly complex, fluctuations in flow rate and water level develop as water moves down the system. These fluctuations cause what is referred to as “operational spills” to the various natural waterways surrounding the District. Given the increasing importance of conserving water, the District is committed to reducing these spills. One proven method of reducing these fluctuations has been to locate a regulating reservoir at a point farther down the system to act as a “flow reset” point. The reservoir draws water out of the canal system when flows are higher than they are supposed to be and discharges water into the canal when flows are lower. In this way, it balances the flow in the canal and removes water that would ultimately spill, using it to improve customer service by preventing shortages.

Project description

Given a pre-selected location on the District’s Ceres Main canal, design a regulating reservoir that will divert water from the canal and use it to stabilize flows. Determine the critical specifications of the reservoir such as storage capacity, cost of construction, time to construct, spill water saved, and intake and discharge capacity. Develop conceptual drawings of the reservoir for presentation to the Irrigation Capital Planning team

2. Turlock Irrigation District (TID) – Rural Fiber

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Michelle Reimers

Background

Turlock Irrigation District provides irrigation water to over 150,000 acers of farmland and power to nearly 100,000 customers. With a service area of about 660 square miles, reliable communication between equipment and operating personnel is critical.

To effectively cover such a large service area, there is nearly 100 miles of fiber optic cable connecting power generation facilities, switch yards, substations, and other critical assets. Unfortunately, nearly 70% of that fiber is strung over rural areas including farms, canals, rivers, and marsh. This leaves the fiber especially vulnerable to damage, both malicious and inadvertent.

Fiber optic cable is relatively resilient, but it does have limitations. Gunshots are a major source of fiber damage in the district and occur regularly in rural areas. The damage they cause usually result in complete communication loss. Firearm damage distinguishes itself from other forms of fiber damages both by the frequency of occurrences and difficulty troubleshooting. Generally, fiber damaged in this way is nearly impossible to identify from the ground and only a rough location can be determined with optical metering equipment.

Once Identified, the damaged portion of the cable can only be repaired by replacing large spans of fiber optic cable and installing expensive splice boxes that add attenuation to the system, reduce its life span, and increase stress on poles.

Project Description

Develop some method or practice to mitigate the burden of gunshot damage to fiber optic cable. This could include a deterrent to shooters, some enhancement to the cable, a better method for detection, and/or a better method for repair. The cost of any solution should be evaluated against the maintenance cost savings it will generate.

3. BART – Escalator Step Chain Stretch

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Patrick Quinn

Background

Escalators provide quick and easy vertical transportation to and from the BART system. Currently every BART Station in the system has escalators. Due to the high usage, approximately 20 hours per day, harsh environment, physical abuse and complex nature of these machines they require numerous hours of maintenance and cleaning to run properly. Since escalator down time is highly discouraged, maintenance access is very limited.

One of the persistent problems with downtown San Francisco Street level escalators is the elongation of the step chain over time, “stretch”. The elongation can be created by many causes such as road grit, lack of lubrication, moisture and corrosion, tight turning radius and uneven loading. Each escalator has two chains driven by large “bull gears”, the steps are locked into these chains. As the chains wear the steps drift apart producing a gap. Once the gap is non- code compliant the escalator will be out of service for approximately a week while the old chains are replaced with the new chains. Therefore, some type of automatic escalator step chain measuring device would be useful.

Project Description

Design an automatic measurement system that will measure the escalator step chain increase in length and provide input into local Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. Design and submit, for approval all schematic diagrams. Provide all drawings and schematics in AutoCAD readable format (.dwg). Develop commissioning procedures. Coordinate with BART staff to install proto-type and commission. This project will allow BART to procure and schedule replacement of the step chain.

4. BART – Computer Room HVAC

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Patrick Quinn

Background

The BART computer room was constructed back in the late 1960’s to early 1970’s with minor modifications to the HVAC components specifically the ductwork, “air distribution”. Currently the computer room has a raised floor. The plenum beneath the floor is specifically used for HVAC supply. The supply air is directed, via porous floor tiles, to specific locations within the room, as needed.

Over the years the biggest changes to the computer room have been the advancement in technology. This advancement, such as communication, has caused for the introduction of numerous electronic boxes in racks all of which dissipate heat into the room. The original design did not take into consideration these advancements. Therefore, the current situation is that the air flow is inefficient causing the employees and equipment to work in a warm environment.

Since the quantity of electronics will not be reduced the modification to the HVAC airflow must be addressed. The HVAC tonnage is sufficient and not an issue.

Project Description

The HVAC air flow in the current computer room is inefficient resulting in employees working in an uncomfortable environment. Without changing the chillers and cooling tower, design and develop a solution or solutions for maintaining the computer room between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months. Review the room characteristics and develop a methodology to provide better air flow across the computer equipment.

Provide and submit for approval, all new equipment, calculations, computer simulations, curtains, racks, cable routing, ducting and schematic diagrams. Provide all drawings in AutoCAD readable format (.dwg).

5. Bowles Farming Company – Sprinkler Flex Coupler

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Danny Royer

Background

The combination of increases in minimum wage and new overtime rules have significant bottom line implications to businesses in California. This is especially true for irrigation activities on farms, which have traditionally had little to no overtime rules. Many irrigation activities, like moving sprinklers, are also the most strenuous and hardest on the body for workers. In recent years Bowles Farming Company has diversified its cropping rotation and is now growing more specialty crops that require sprinklers for best irrigation practices. Therefore, in 2017 Bowles began researching opportunities to improve efficiencies and the ergonomics of sprinkler activities on the farm.

In 2017 a UCM Capstone Team found that simply coupling the pipes together with a flexible coupler could significantly increase the efficiency of moving sprinklers and reduce the physical impact of the activities on workers. They developed and produced a prototype. Upon completion of the Capstone Project, Bowles continued pursuing the idea and developed a second prototype

Project Description

While the second prototype included solutions to flaws in the first, there were new flaws found in the second prototype. In this project Bowles would provide all existing research and data on the prototype and is pursuing a final, workable and scalable prototype to be developed. This will require analysis of existing data and prototypes, development and testing of prototype #3, economic analysis and an analysis of the changes the physical impact on workers performing the sprinkler moving activities.

6. Bowles Farming Company – Feed the Monarchs

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Danny Royer

Background

In 2017 Environmental Defense Fund launched a campaign to save the Monarch Butterfly and Bowles Farming Company wants to help. Milkweed is essential to the survival of Monarchs and unfortunately much of the milkweed habitat across the nation has been consumed by urban expansion and agriculture activities. In order for the restoration of habitat to occur, Milkweed will need to make very strong come back. This will require lots of seed, produced at levels not seen in milkweed seed production before. Bowles has committed acreage to growing Milkweed for Seed production and is looking for a UCM Capstone Team to help solve two specific problems in the seed production process.

Project Description

Milkweed Seed comes in pods full of fibers that are designed to attach to wildlife or blow in the wind to transport the seed. In order to generate seed at a commercial scale to meet projected restoration demands, Bowles needs to figure out how to best Harvest the Seed and separate or “clean” the Seed from the fiber that comes with it. This project could focus on solving this problem in two separate processes and only focus on one, or combine the harvest and seed cleaning into one process. Bowles will provide existing practices and acquire examples for the Team to use in development and to test any prototypes with.

7. Hilmar Cheese Company – Polished Water Cleaning

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Nitesh Sakpal

Background

At Hilmar Cheese Company & Hilmar Ingredients, we use reverse osmosis to recover water from milk used in the cheese‐making process. We refer to this water as “Polished Water.” The majority of the polished water is utilized for cleaning purposes throughout the site, and a portion of it is used in the making of our ingredients products such as Lactose and Whey Protein. After the polished water is generated, it is sent to holding silos where sodium hypochlorite is added to suppress the development of bacterial growth in water. Sodium hypochlorite, however, can degrade over time to form chlorate ions. Chlorates are undesirable and we strive to keep chlorate levels within specification. Sodium hypochlorite is also a corrosive agent that reacts with stainless steel, slowly corroding equipment and pipelines. The above reasons have prompted HCC to research and study design feasibility of other available disinfectant technologies.

Project Description

Research available technologies and propose a process alternative to sodium hypochlorite. The proposed solution should include, but not limited to, a literature review, process design, scope, financial feasibility, and must follow the “Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO)” regulatory guidelines.

8. Sweep Energy – Automated Production Line

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Agustin Roldan

Background

Sweep energy is an IoT Internet of things company that harnesses big data and machine learning to improve operational efficiency in industry. We create hardware technologies that are currently being produced in the bay area and overseas. Our goal is to be able to manufacture locally from our facility in Atwater, CA. This will allow us to manufacture independently and ensure product quality is maintained.

Project Description

Design, analyze and build a manufacturing production line for small to medium runs of electrical and mechanical manufacturing components. Analyze and provide recommendations for most efficiently timed process from circuit board placement, testing, assembly and logistics.

9. Sweep Energy – Equipment Test Platform

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Agustin Roldan

Background

Sweep energy is an IoT Internet of things company that harnesses big data and machine learning to improve operational efficiency in industry. We rely on collecting valuable industrial motor and equipment data through non-invasive sensors technologies to improve our software service. Reducing complexity for data acquisition is key to faster technology development.

Project Description

Design and build a test platform for controlled accelerated lifetime testing on industrial electric equipment. Develop automation tools to conduct tests in a safe and efficient manner. Analyze and provide recommendations for extending platform capability to a wide variety of equipment.

10. Topcon – Sambuca Navigation Algorithm

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Steve McCain

Background

The goal of the Sambuca Demo Project is to build and demonstrate an autonomous application for compact track loader (skidsteer) machines. The base configuration for these small machines includes a loader bucket, and typical tasks would include disposition of material stockpiles and rudimentary excavation. The typical users of these machines are skilled but not "sophisticated" and detailed computer based site plans are generally not available so our design philosophy is to utilize high level task specification (similar to instructing a human worker) and task centered localization (mapping the relationship between the implement and target material). The demo application selected is to "Move a Stockpile" (i.e. take buckets of dirt from an existing pile and dump at another location). We have decomposed that top level task into a number of sub tasks and associated competencies which can be developed independently, implemented as ROS nodes and services, and shared or reused for other tasks. Reflecting the economics of the target market our sensor set is vision based augmented by rudimentary IMU and low precision GPS. We have implemented a ROS framework and uniform interfaces to 2 platforms: a small CTL like model for ease of development indoors (HouseCat), and a small unmanned CTL for field testing (M-48)

Project Description

The proposed Capstone project is to design and implement the algorithm set required for navigation between the localized subtasks of the top level demo application. Successful execution will require several component competencies including: recognition and recollection of site features specified by the user (the existing source pile and markers delineating the dump location), collection and classification of GPS waypoints during traversals, and execution of traversals between sub task locations.

Deliverables include working code implemented to the Sambuca ROS framework and a live demonstration on the M-48 platform in Livermore.

The student project team will be provided with one HouseCat system for use in developing and testing algorithms, access to the M-48 in Livermore, and access to and support from the Livermore Engineering staff as required.

11. Tuolomne County – Laminated Beams

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Larry Cope

Background

Glued laminated timber, also called glulam, is a type of structural engineered wood product comprising a number of layers of dimensioned lumber bonded together with durable, moisture-resistant structural adhesives. In North America the material providing the laminations is termed laminating stock or lamstock.

By laminating a number of smaller pieces of lumber, a single large, strong, structural member is manufactured from smaller pieces. These structural members are used as vertical columns or horizontal beams, as well as curved, arched shapes. Glulam is readily produced in curved shapes and it is available in a range of species and appearance characteristics to meet varied end-use requirements. Connections are usually made with bolts or plain steel dowels and steel plates.

Glulam optimizes the structural values of a renewable resource – wood. Because of their composition, large glulam members can be manufactured from a variety of smaller trees harvested from second- and third-growth forests and plantations. Glulam provides the strength and versatility of large wood members without relying on the old growth-dependent solid-sawn timbers. As with other engineered wood products, it reduces the overall amount of wood used when compared to solid sawn timbers by diminishing the negative impact of knots and other small defects in each component board.

Glulam has much lower embodied energy than reinforced concrete and steel, although it entails more embodied energy than solid timber. However, the laminating process allows timber to be used for much longer spans, heavier loads, and complex shapes. Glulam is two-thirds the weight of steel and one sixth the weight of concrete – the embodied energy to produce it is six times less than the same suitable strength of steel. Glulam can be manufactured to a variety of straight and curved configurations so it offers architects artistic freedom without sacrificing structural requirements.

Project Description

This project would focus on taking a very low cost by-product (waste material) of biomass and making it into a laminated beam product. This project will also prove that it will be able to make it economic feasible to small manufacturers of laminated beam products. Currently only very large factories can afford the necessary capital investment needed to make the beams. We are looking for a new way to manufacture it that can be done in very little capital (under $100,000) so that small manufacturers can use the technology and be able to set up in rural communities near where 98% of biomass is currently located. This will keep the carbon footprint small for the product since only the completed beams will be shipped not the product it is made out of.

12. Tuolomne County – Home Building Block

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Larry Cope

Background

Glued laminated timber, also called glulam, is a type of structural engineered wood product comprising a number of layers of dimensioned lumber bonded together with durable, moisture-resistant structural adhesives. In North America the material providing the laminations is termed laminating stock or lamstock.

By laminating a number of smaller pieces of lumber, a single large, strong, structural member is manufactured from smaller pieces. These structural members are used as vertical columns or horizontal beams, as well as curved, arched shapes. Glulam is readily produced in curved shapes and it is available in a range of species and appearance characteristics to meet varied end-use requirements. Connections are usually made with bolts or plain steel dowels and steel plates.

Glulam optimizes the structural values of a renewable resource – wood. Because of their composition, large glulam members can be manufactured from a variety of smaller trees harvested from second- and third-growth forests and plantations. Glulam provides the strength and versatility of large wood members without relying on the old growth-dependent solid-sawn timbers. As with other engineered wood products, it reduces the overall amount of wood used when compared to solid sawn timbers by diminishing the negative impact of knots and other small defects in each component board.

Glulam has much lower embodied energy than reinforced concrete and steel, although it entails more embodied energy than solid timber. However, the laminating process allows timber to be used for much longer spans, heavier loads, and complex shapes. Glulam is two-thirds the weight of steel and one sixth the weight of concrete – the embodied energy to produce it is six times less than the same suitable strength of steel. Glulam can be manufactured to a variety of straight and curved configurations so it offers architects artistic freedom without sacrificing structural requirements.

Project Description

This project would be a brand new use of biomass. It would focus on taking the technology used in Laminated Beams (glulam) and make it into a replacement of concrete blocks. This new construction block would need to have the same structural abilities of concreate blocks and be as fire safe as stick frame construction. If it could be as fire resistant as concreate… that would be a plus.

13. E&J Gallo – Antifoam Addition System

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Mark Dunkel

Background

Each year, E. & J. Gallo’s Livingston Winery performs a process known as tank crushing in which red grapes are directly crushed into a fermentation tank. During fermentation, glucose present in grape juice is converted to ethanol and carbon dioxide (CO2) via yeast inoculation. Mechanical agitation of this mixture releases entrained CO2 and increases the risk for a fermenter foamover. A foamover occurs when foam, generated by the combination of CO2 and juice/wine, accumulates fast enough to spill out over the top of the fermentation tank. To date, foamovers have been regarded as a normal occurrence at the Livingston Winery. However, foamovers result in juice/wine on the ground which contributes to yield loss and sanitation issues. Currently, the only way to stop a foamover is to manually add antifoam, a liquid emulsifier, over the tops of the fermentation tanks. E. & J. Gallo Winery would like to find a more efficient way to add antifoam to fermentation tanks including a more reliable, proactive addition system to reduce the number of foamovers.

Project Description

Research and develop solutions for adding antifoam to the Livingston Winery’s West Side fermentation tanks. The design should be focused on minimizing capital investment and manual involvement, while also keeping ergonomics and efficiency in mind. The system needs to include the ability to record each addition and the amount of anti-foam applied to meet regulatory compliance requirements. The solution(s) should have a complete cost estimate for implementation including projected return on investment with respect to safety, quality, and schedule attainment impacts documented.

14. E&J Gallo – MOG Prevention System

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Mark Dunkel

Background

At E. &. J Gallo’s Livingston Winery, all grapes crushed on site are received into a crush pit which conveys the grapes to a set of de-stemmers that separate grape stems from grape must (juice, skins, etc.). If any de-stemmers break down, it results in equipment downtime which can halt production for several hours and cause a significant work backlog. One of the most common and impactful causes of de-stemmer breakdowns has been the introduction of MOG (Materials Other than Grapes) into the de-stemmers. This MOG can come in the form of grape vines, canes, or trellis parts. Currently, MOG is manually picked out of the crush pits using long-handled tools and only visible MOG is able to be removed. E. & J. Gallo Winery would like to find a more efficient way to prevent MOG from reaching the de-stemmers to minimize de-stemmer breakdowns.

Project Description

Research and develop solutions for preventing MOG from reaching the de-stemmers at the Livingston Winery. The design should be focused on minimizing capital investment and manual involvement, while also keeping ergonomics and efficiency in mind. The solution(s) should have a complete cost estimate for implementation including projected return on investment with respect to safety, quality, and schedule attainment impacts documented.

15. E&J Gallo – Bottle Sorter Drive Redesign

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Mark Dunkel

Background

E & J Gallo Winery’s spirits making facility produces New Amsterdam Vodka and Gin as well as E & J Brandy. The spirits facility has 3 bottling lines, one that is dedicated to filling 50ml bottles. The bottles come to this line pre-formed and are run through a sorter to orient the bottles and to set them on the line. The sorter’s main drive system is a belt drive that is prone to wear and causes downtime on the line and scrap when it fails.

Project Description

Research, develop, and redesign drive system for bottle sorter to maintain system performance and minimize downtime due to drive belt failures. The design(s) should include a complete cost estimate for implementation including the projected return on the investment for the system and safety / risk implications quantified.

16. E&J Gallo – Brandy Barrel Filling

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Mark Dunkel

Background

E & J Gallo Winery’s spirits making facility produces New Amsterdam Vodka and Gin as well as E & J Brandy. Gallo’s portfolio includes premium brandy that is processed in Modesto in low volumes. Due to how these products are processed barrel filling is done manually, not on a filling line. With the current process for manual filling it is difficult to monitor fill level and is prone to losing alcohol from overfilling.

Project Description

Research, design, and implement solution for filling barrels while monitoring fill level in the barrels and allowing the task to be completed by one person. The design(s) should include a complete cost estimate for implementation including the projected return on the investment for the system and safety / risk implications quantified. Build and execute a test plan for the final solution.

17. UCSF – Urinary Tract Diagnosis Device

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Mark Stecker

Background

Problems of urination are common in men because of prostate problems and in men and women because of bladder problems. Urodynamic studies are often used to monitor the patients during therapy or to decide when certain procedures should be performed. It would be useful for patients to regularly monitor simple parameters regarding the ability to void and provide that information regularly to their provider to use in decision making process. One of these, the maximal urine flow rate is a function of the resistance to flow in the urethra and the bladder pressure.

Project Description

Design and develop a device that can measure the rate of urine flow that is cheap, easy to sterilize and simple to use. This would help patients to diagnose and monitor the urinary outflow tract during treatment. This might be accomplished by using a load cell to provide a continuous monitor of the amount of urine collected over time. Additional parameters might be derived from the information obtained that could also be helpful for the future. Identify these parameters and propose methods to measure them.

18. UCSF – Walker Design

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Mark Stecker

Background

Gait problems occur in many patients and are a major clinical problem. They may arise in patients with neuropathy who cannot feel or use position information from the feet. They also arise in patients with motor control problems. The problem with the standard walker is that it prevents the patient from falling forward but not from falling backward because all of the support is in front of the patient. A walker with front and back supports is often too cumbersome to allow good mobility. Thus, designing an addition to the standard walker may improve patient quality of life.

Project Description

Design an improved walker that will prevent a patient from falling both forward AND backwards. This walker must be able to balance the weight of the patient regardless of their current position. When a backwards fall is detected, the walker must provide a restorative force to prevent falling. The device should include sensors to detect rotation of the patient and a control system to operate. There must be a possibility to adjust the settings of the walker to suit different patients.

19. Valley Children’s Hospital – Acoustic-video instrument to diagnose middle ear disease

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Dr. Nadarasa Visveshwara

Background

Otitis media, or middle ear infection, is the second most common disease in infants and children in US. Otitis media with effusion (OME) is accompanied by accumulation of fluid in the middle ear cavity. The presence of this fluid impedes the movement of the tympanic membrane and leads to conductive hearing loss.

The challenges in diagnosing the condition accurately include - determining the presence of fluid in the middle ear cavity, signs of active infection/inflammation of the tympanic membrane, and detection of any conductive hearing loss.

Acoustic reflectometry is a technique that can be used to detect the presence of middle ear effusion and conductive hearing loss with reasonable accuracy. Otoendoscopy can be used to visualize the tympanic membrane and study the signs of active infection/inflammation. The data from both, when matched against a diagnostic algorithm, may be used to accurately determine the middle ear condition.

Project Description

Design an apparatus that can hold an otoendoscope (connected to a video capture system) and an acoustic reflectometer together in order to perform both tests simultaneously. The apparatus should be small enough to penetrate the ear canal in young children (average diameter 2.5 mm).

Develop a protocol to match the data from the above tests against the diagnostic algorithm and determine the exact middle ear condition/disease.

20. UCCE – Design of improved spraying and water reuse system

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: James Bethke

Background

Plants are typically treated with chemical pesticides in order to rid the plant of harmful pests, but these treatments are toxic to humans, expensive for growers, and harmful to the environment. Researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa have found that treating plants with hot water under controlled conditions can eliminate pests while doing little to no damage to the plant. UCANR is working with the Center for Applied Horticultural Research in Vista, California to build a system that uses this technique to eliminate the need for pesticides used on nursery and floricultural plants.

The system is already partially built; it is a shipping container equipped with 72 nozzles that are fed water through a series of pipes, pumps, water heaters, and mixers. The entire system is mounted on a portable truck bed in order to make it transportable.

Project Description

The purpose of this project is to improve upon the current design in order to make it more effective, efficient and sustainable. While the majority of the system is built, it still needs certain additions:

An improved pulley system for raising/lowering the dropdown nozzle array

A water filtration system for draining and recycling the water that is used in each treatment period

Optimized nozzles that will minimize heat losses while maximizing distribution of water among plants.

21. T3 Energy – Material Science of High Thermal Insulation Wall Blocks

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Paul Curtis

Background

Super Insulated Green Building Technologies LLC (SIGBT) along with developing partner T3Energy of Australia, is currently working on development of new highly insulated and load bearing systems for residential construction. Current work uses wood shavings from construction offcut waste or sourced from bark beetle killed trees to manufacture a new composite material with above code insulation standards while also engineering a result which is sufficiently structurally strong to act as load bearing external walls for new energy efficient homes. 30 new homes have been successfully built in Australia with a prototype of this new building system. The Australian Managing Director will be available to provide support and guidance by skype conferencing for this Capstone project. California based staff will also provide backup for the project.

Project Description

This project requires the Capstone team to:

1) Fabricate and thermally test samples of the new wood shavings composite using current components with varying proportions and densities to better understand how the thermal insulation performance can be optimized.

2) Investigate, fabricate and thermally test samples of the new wood shavings composite using additional components and or strategies which may further improve the thermal insulation performance of the composite. An example of an additional component which may be added to the wood shavings composite is shredded insulating foam (polyurethane) recycled from refrigerators at the end of their product life. Other materials which may achieve the desired outcome should also be considered including recycled expanded polystyrene (EPS).

The following objectives should also be achieved.

1) Adequate structural strength in compression to bear external wall loading in two story homes without the need for timber framing. (0.60 MPa is set as the minimum target strength at yield.)

2) The new composite material should be highly fire resistant with minimal smoke emitted and minimal if any flame spread when exposed to a concentrated flame source from a hand held blow torch and self-extinguishing when the flame source is removed.

3) Any added material component or process should have minimal environmental impact. Use of recycled materials is preferable

22. T3 Energy – Structural Design of High Thermal Insulation Floor Panels

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Paul Curtis

Background

Super Insulated Green Building Technologies LLC (SIGBT) along with developing partner T3Energy of Australia, is currently working on development of new highly insulated and load bearing systems for residential construction. Current work uses wood shavings from construction offcut waste or sourced from bark beetle killed trees to manufacture a new composite material with above code insulation standards while also engineering a result which has sufficient structural strength for load bearing external walls of new energy efficient homes. 30 new homes have been successfully built in Australia with a prototype of this new building system. We now wish to develop highly insulated modular floor and roofing systems to complement the existing modular wall block system. The Australian Managing Director will be available to provide support and guidance by skype conferencing for this Capstone project. California based staff will also provide backup for the project.

Project Description

Design Criteria:

Floor Panels should be designed to a module size of 36” x 96” x 6” thick. Should be designed to span a distance of 48” unsupported. Should be designed to attach to a steel floor frame with frame spacing of 48”. Should have a high fire resistance. Should use wood shavings as the insulating medium which may or may not add to the structural strength of the Floor Panels. Should provide the structural strength necessary to satisfy these design criteria. Should have a top skin of .” Magnesium Oxide sheet. Should include a tongue and groove edge detail to engage with adjacent floor panels.

Design, model and construct a modular Insulated Floor Panel in accordance with the above criteria, with special attention to a structure designed to span the necessary distance.

Test the constructed Insulated Floor Panel to design criteria above and to typical loading requirements of a domestic floor and measure the deflection at mid span fully loaded.

Construct an example of a conventional timber framed floor system 36” x 96” with floor joist support spacing as per the current code and as used in contemporary conventional timber framed housing.

Load the conventional floor system in an identical manner to the Insulated Floor Panel and compare the results.

23. Olam – Williams plant – East bulk dump elevator

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Narinder Pal Singh

Background

During the season, the Tomatoes are dumped from the Trucks into a secondary small water flume. The tomatoes are then elevated to another water flume using a belt elevator. The small water flume has water that is recycled and gets saturated with sand. There is no proper way of a steady stream sand separation from the water circuit and replenishment of fresh water. Currently, this process is manual and subject to operator judgement. The Elevator system has several major leaks due to the abrasive nature of the system and a lot of incoming tomatoes are lost to the waste system. There is a clear opportunity to improve water recirculation, sand separation and plugging of the tomato leaks from the Bulk dump elevators

Project Description

Design a system with controllable flow rates while utilizing potential pumping, gravity, sand separation methods such as hydro cyclones. Since water is the conveying medium, fluid mechanics of water recycling must be considered. The design should include the proper containment and minimize leakages of tomato to the waste stream. The Project design should consider the tomato tonnage through the bulk dump elevators and the proper design and selection of the Equipment, Pumps backed up with design Rationale. The Project deliverable should include a complete Project Scope, Budget along with B.O.M. and detailed timeline for implementation

24. Tergis Technologies – Mechanical Solution for Neonatal CLABSI

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Michael Urner

Background

Central Line-Associated Blood Stream Infections (CLABSIs) is a primary laboratory confirmed bloodstream infection in a patient with a central line at the time of (or within 48-hours prior to) the onset of symptoms and the infection is not related to an infection from another site. Nearly 1 in 20 hospitalized patients acquire CLABSIs, which is considered one of the most deadly Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) yielding a 25% mortality rate.

Central-lines are Central Venous Catheters (CVCs) that are inserted into large veins. CVCs support the survival of newborns and children in ICUs. They allow for multiple lines to be administered to the patient, which allow for medication delivery, measure blood pressure, and/or blood drawing without having to insert multiple needles. CVCs are inserted into the neck, chest, or groin. There are three types of CVCs: peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) lines, tunneled catheter and implanted port. In the NICU, PICCs and tunneled catheters are commonly used.

Despite its fundamental roles, CVCs carry the risk of complications, demanding both constant surveillance and care by healthcare professionals to prevent CLABSI, morbidity and mortality. It has been shown that CLABSI rates are reduced in idle CVCs lines compared to ones in use. Though there are multiple potential complications that can occur during the administration of these devices, the focus of this project will be on complications caused by bloodstream infections: (1) extraluminal and (2) intraluminal (e.g. catheter track and hub contamination, respectively).

Project Description

The primary objective of this project is to develop a device that facilitates a sterile process of administering the CVC that prevents CLABSI formation. This device will aim to eliminate the environment for bacteria formation through mechanical means and not chemicals or antibiotics. The secondary objective is to develop a streamlined braided shaft fabrication for catheter production.

25. Agrecom – Accurate measurement of PH

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Mike Altomare

Background

Commercial poultry operations use litter in their houses for bedding for their birds. The bedding is either sourced from wood chips or from rice hulls. During the normal flock development, the litter will become moisture due to fecal waste from the birds and spilled water from the drinkers. High moisture in the litter can be detrimental to the productivity of poultry due to an increase in health issues and the presence of insects. Flies and darkling beetles are drawn to the moisture and the litter becomes a breeding site for these insects. Flies can become a nuisance issue for neighbors in some cases. Currently, litter is treated by mechanical mixing using a rototiller to blend drier litter that is found in the house with the excessively moist litter. This mixing reduces the breeding sites available and breaks the reproductive cycle of these insects. Mechanical mixing is done at least every 3 days during the production cycle.

Accurate measurement of pH, moisture and ammonia concentration in poultry litter is needed as part of a good poultry management program

Project Description

The purpose of this project would be to develop continuous measurement processes for these items on an existing robotic device that will be treating the litter on a continuous basis in a poultry facility. The measurement devices must be able to sample the litter, take measurements and then relay that information to a data collection/plc device. The goal would be to design a sampling process that will take multiple samples at different locations as the robot is mixing the litter. The results of the test will be used to determine what actions the robot will take to adjust the litter to maintain a condition within desired specifications.

26. Scholle – Vacuum Flow Optimization

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Amalee Jayasinghe

Background

Scholle Packaging Company is one of the leading producers of flexible packaging that provides first-rate storage and distribution to highly expansive & lucrative businesses. An Automatic Bag Maker or ABM is the heart of this company; ABM 13 produces a large quantity of wine bags for local winery, which requires removal of the corners, referred to as delta cutouts. To prevent buildup of the scrap material, delta cutouts have to be vacuumed away from the machine by use of a 2 stage cyclone style vacuum and an inline vacuum manifold. The current design does not balance the flow and allow easy removal of the scrap material at the rate it is fed. The goal of the team would be to design a flow path for the scrap that would prevent the scrap from plugging in the vacuum manifold.

Project Description

Design, simulate and test a system to analyze the flow path for the ABM 13 Delta Cut-Out Vacuum System and optimize the flow rate needed to prevent congestion of the plastic material flowing through it. The system will then be duplicated onsite. This design will require a low cost solution, with simple installation. The group will be expected to provide flow analysis, installation plan, list of parts as well as a separate list of critical parts to keep onsite, schematic and prototype drawings in Solidworks, and test results.

27. Scholle – Seal Bar Cost Savings

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Amalee Jayasinghe

Background

Scholle Packaging Company is one of the leading producers of flexible packaging that provides first-rate storage and distribution to highly expansive & lucrative businesses. An Automatic Bag Maker or ABM is the heart of this company; all ABMs require the use of heated seal bars in order to produce seals on bags that provide the durability needed to keep the contents in the package. In order to provide a proper seal our seal bars are layered with protective heat barrier made from Teflon, in order to prevent the metal from sticking to the plastic as it creates the seal. Teflon is expensive and regularly has to be changed on these seal bars to provide a uniform seal on our bags. The goal of the team would be to research and test different materials to determine what would be the most cost effective solution to coat seal bars in to eliminate the use of Teflon tape as a protective barrier to hot seal bars.

Project Description

Design, simulate and test various metal coatings to analyze the properties of each for use as a protective plastic to metal heat barrier. The selected coating will then be duplicated onsite and applied to use for testing on a single ABM. This design will require a food grade compliant coating that can be applied to aluminum, low cost solution, with simple installation. The group will be expected to provide a report with comparative test results, projected savings report, and a list of cost comparison with final justification for their selection.

28. Morning Star – Flume debris control and MOT removal

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Tyler Klick

Background

The Morning Star Company is the world’s largest producer of processed tomato products by a factor of three. The company is vertically integrated & services the harvesting & trucking industries to deliver a tomato from the field to the plant. Harvesting operations for the processed tomato industry is considered a “destructive” process, by the way the plant is yanked from the field (root and all). The harvesting machine has dedicated sorting equipment to remove “material other than tomatoes” from the product stream. Sometimes; plant debris (sized like a tomato) will make the trip through the product stream & effect the product quality. Sorting systems at the processing plants are designed to remove this excess debris, but have mechanical limitations to sort out more than 20% of MOT on a conveyor belt.

Project Description

Morning Star is looking for a solution that can help to deliver the tomatoes from field to package without introducing MOT into the product stream. Given the available surface area in the flume system; develop an MOT removal system that is effective & economically responsible.

29. Morning Star – Automatic Hitch Pin System

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Tyler Klick

Background

The Morning Star Company is the world’s largest producer of processed tomato products by a factor of three. The company uses mule trains & a tow vehicle to move product from the packaging production area, out of the factory, into the warehouse. The company has the vision to have an automatic vehicle the helps to move the product in and out of the warehouse. A major hurdle to this implementation, is developing the ability to drive backwards on a self-driving vehicle platform. The next major hurdle is to deliver an automated solution that will hitch & unhitch the mule train trailers from the tug car. The system must be able to identify if a hitch has been attached or missed.

Project Description

Morning Star is looking for a mechanical assembly that can be attached to a typical/normal trailer hitch. Develop an automated system that will both drop & lift the hitch pin system.

30. Morning Star – Adhesive Storage Tank

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Tyler Klick

Background

The Morning Star Company is the world’s largest producer of processed tomato products by a factor of three. The company also owns & operates a fiber drum manufacturing business at the plant location. The drums manufactured utilize two different types of adhesive. The current storage tank & conditions are less than ideal. Mechanical agitation, air introduction, and temperature fluctuation degrade to material overtime; creating a situation in which the material investment for production can be lost.

Project Description

Investigate the proper holding & containment methods for each adhesive type. Design prototype holding tank system. Conduct a feasibility test to deliver recommended design & vendor to perform the construction & install. Follow up after construction to confirm storage methods have improved. Deliver a key steppingstone metric & display on the factory floor that allows the business unit to measure when they might need to replace their “old” adhesive.

31. Conagra – Empty Can Loss Reduction

Sponsor/Mentor Contact: Rafael Amezcua

Background

Conagra Brands (http://www.conagrabrands.com/ NYSE: CAG) is an approximately $8 billion company that combines a rich heritage of making great food with a sharpened focus and entrepreneurial spirit. This project focuses on tomato canning at the Conagra Foods plant in Oakdale.

Can loss is calculated by throughput from the automatic can depalletizer through the seamer, losses vary from line to line. However an average loss recorded annually is 8% or $250k.

Project Description

Objective is to identify:

  • Loss
  • Develop an engineered solution
  • Write a plan of the proposed work
  • Develop a BOM (bill of materials)
  • Estimate an budgetary cost
  • Present a plan to the stakeholders
  • Review detailed project brief to include: Skills assessment, contractor disciplines required to accomplish task, execute approved plan, commission, qualify, verify

(For prior years team descriptions, visit our Teams Archive)

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