P17421: Robocomposter 2.0
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Problem Definition

Table of Contents

Team Vision for Problem Definition Phase

The Problem Definition phase delivered many of the initializing assignments to gather the current state of the project and plan for the future state. Within this phase, the customer was contacted and the prototype was gathered to complete the following design assignments:

The deliverables listed above helped P17421 gain a basic understanding of what will be expected to be included in RoboComposter 2.0 and flesh out the next steps in the initial design phase.

Project Summary

A RoboComposter is a semi autonomous machine that quickly turns food scraps into compost material to be delivered to a garden and used as fertilizer. It has basic mechanical systems that grind, mix, and transport organic waste such as paper products, (non dairy and non meat) leftover food, and small plant materials. Intended to be used by school children, safety is paramount but it must also be durable, interactive, easy to use, and capable of being cleaned or repaired. The composter must be interactive so that school children may be able to learn about the composting process in a visual and intuitive manner. A previous version of the RoboComposter- deemed RoboComposter 1.0- was made, that is entirely user driven, lacks a developed monitoring system, and needs to be optimized for quicker composting.

Key goals of this project involve maximizing the composting speed by having visual monitoring of temperature, moisture, oxygen levels, pH levels, and carbon/nitrogen levels. The machine mush also be more automated and the controls must be more robust and intuitive. Ultimately, RoboComposter 2.0 will build on its predecessor, RoboComposter 1.0 to deliver a mechanism capable of turning scraps into rich fertilizer, all while compiling key data on the internal environment which can be studied and exported by teenagers in an intuitive and interactive manner.

Interview with the Customer

The customer, Jan McDonald of Rochester Roots was determined to be the primary stakeholder. A meeting was established for 30 August, 2016 where a series of questions were posed and answered in an effort to refine the customer requirements. The conversation was documented in the link found below.

The link to the documentation of the interview can be found here.

Use Cases

 Loading Compost

Loading Compost

 Data Handling

Data Handling

 Unloading Compost

Unloading Compost

Project Goals and Key Deliverables

Rochester Roots can expect to receive the following:
  1. A working and fully operational composter
  2. A safe and easy interface to control and present the robotic elements
  3. A detailed drawing and schematic package

Customer Requirements (Needs)

Customer Requirements

Customer Requirements

Link to live document here

Engineering Requirements (Metrics & Specifications)

Engineering Requirements

Engineering Requirements

Link to live document here

Constraints

  1. Budget to buy hardware and compostable waste
  2. The size cannot exceed the the counter space
  3. Electrical and mechanical systems need to be safe for children
  4. The unit needs to be modular enough to be able to be taken apart for repairs
  5. Time for adequate testing since composting requires >2 weeks

House of Quality

House of Quality

House of Quality

The link to the live document for the House of Quality can be found here

Benchmarking

 Benchmarking

Benchmarking

Risk Assessment

 Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment

Design Review Materials

Composting is a process of controlling the biological decomposition of organic material. When composting is controlled by humans, the compost can be created quickly and with better quality. A basic explanation on the compost process is liked here:

The agenda for the first design review is Project Background, Problem Statement, Project Deliverables, Use Case Scenario's, Customer Requirements, Engineering Requirements, House of Quality, Benchmarks, Risk Assessment, Future Plans, and Questions. A link to the powerpoint is listed here:

Plans for next phase

3 Week plan outline

3 Week plan outline


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