P13458: Dresser-Rand Compressor Cell Assembly Line

Systems Design

Table of Contents

Customer Needs

Title Priority


Safety & Ergonomics 3 Capacity to prevent work-related injury
Cost 2 Upfront Purchase/Installation Cost (capital investment)
Transportability 2 Ease of Motion
Current Capability 1 Compatibility with current facilities
Scale 3 Impact of installation, no monuments allowed
Guidance 2 Ability to remain inline
Flexibility 3 Capacity for systems integration
Maintenance 2 Operational Cost, Frequency of Repairs, Repair Costs
Returnability 2 Ability to return empty fixture to beginning of the line
Ease of Use 3 Minimize worker frustration, encourage proper use of the system

House of Quality

How our specifications map to our customer needs

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Functional Decomposition

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Concept Development (generation, improvement, selection)


Moving the Compressor


Propelling the Compressor


Lifting the Compressor


Systems Architecture

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Design #1: Caster System (MSD I)

During MSD I, the team focused on designing a caster system that would be easy to construct and very flexible. A systems level and preliminary detailed design were completed. A tabletop prototype was also built and presented. This was the first design generated because our recommendation to use air bearings was not approved until finals week of MSD I.

Initial Cart Design

Once weight and CG parameters were established, the cart was designed to be 90" wide and 18" high. Singularity functions from Shigley's Mechanical Engineering Design were used to size a beam with a factor of safety over 2.


Complete Calculations

Cart CAD Models and Description

Systems Design of Cart System

Risk Assessment

The original risk assessment and mitigation plan at the systems design level:

Systems Level Risk Assessment as of 1/11/13

Based on direction received from Dresser-Rand, RIT faculty, and our guide, the risk assessment from the systems design level has been revised to include more technical risks related to specific solution(s) chosen to pursue. Please click the link below for the latest version:

Risk Assessment as of 1/25/13

Caster System Design Review

Systems Design Review Agenda, Reference Material, & Slides

RIT Systems Design Review Notes

Dresser-Rand Systems Design Review Notes

See the Detailed Design page for further design of the caster system.

Design #2: Air Bearing System (MSD II)

Air bearings were approved Week 11 of MSD I, leading the team to a new design path. The goals of this design work will be a systems and detailed level design with the possibility of a prototype, time permitting.

Free System

The Free System describes a modular slave frame similar to the original caster system. The slave frame remains fixed to the compressor, but is not rigidly connected to the floor at any point. This slave frame is simply a structural frame to hold the compressor at working height. An air pallet must be used to translate the compressor and frame.

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Free System Walkthrough

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Fixed System

The Fixed System is a modified version of the previously mentioned Free System. The main difference in this design is that the vertical “legs” are now fixed to the floor at each station, reducing the system frame to singular horizontal beams. Like the Free System, the Fixed System is simply a structural frame to hold the compressor at working height – an air pallet is still required to move the compressor from station to station.


Step 1: Horizontal beams are placed on the loading station

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Step 2: Compressor frame loaded is onto and fixed to horizontal beams

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Step 3: Air pallet is slid into the fixture using integrated free rolling casters

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Step 4: Inflation of the air pallet lifts the horizontal beams and compressor frame free of the fixture, allowing movement to the next station.

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Air Pallet Research

After meeting at Dresser Rand with a representative from Airfloat, the concept of a slave pallet system was proposed. This system incorporates only one air pallet for all compressors on the line. The air pallet would only provide the movement between stations and would not accompany each compressor throughout the line as our previous caster design would. The 'slave' pallet would then be a secondary system that would support the compressor and move with it through the line.

Both the above designs incorporated this 'slave' pallet idea. After receiving some information from Airfloat with regards to the sizing of the air pallets we decided to model our design based on a pallet width of 40 inches. This makes our 'slave' system, consisting of two beams across the width of the pallet and underneath the compressor supported by sunken posts when at rest, totaling a width of 50 inches.

Air Pallet System Design Review

Date: 3/22/13

Time: 9AM-12PM

Location: Dresser-Rand, Painted Post



After talking through the pros and cons of both the fixed and free slave frame systems, DR recommended our efforts be put into finalizing the fixed system on a systems design level. The free system was discouraged, however the presentation of multiple options was appreciated.


Agenda and Presentation


Review Notes with Action Items

See the Detailed Design page for further design of the air pallet system.

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