P19415: Vacuum Former for Haiti
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Integrated System Build & Test

Table of Contents

Team Vision for Integrated System Build & Test Phase

During this phase, our team's plan was to:

Most of the plans listed above have been successfully accomplished, and there is currently further testing for more other improvements regarding solving the leaks coming form the vacuum box during the last phase.

Test Results Summary

Initial testing of our full system has been promising with only minor setbacks. We were able to successfully form objects using 0.060" thick plastic sheeting. We were also able to form the mold provided to us by team P.O.R.T.A. We were unable to successfully form using 3/16" plastic largely due to the differences in heat distribution with the thicker sheet. We do not plan on using 3/16" plastic sheets for production so these tests were solely for capability testing purposes and are not of concern. Further testing brought to light a few areas for improvement which are currently being addressed.

The tests have gone according to our test plans and have yielded quantifiable results that can be easily compared with the results from other tests.

Based on our testing, other than being able to successfully form objects under 7" in height, our unit can:

  1. Reach a forming temperature of up to 360 degrees Fahrenheit (and be easily switched ON and OFF)
  2. Time to heat: approximately 2-4 minutes depending on sheet thickness
  3. Pump down and effectively hold a vacuum of 26 PSI
  4. Time to pump down: approximately 2 minutes

Time to heat was tracked using a stopwatch in tandem with an infrared thermometer. The amount of pressure in the vacuum was determined by watching a pressure gauge. Being that our test plans were fairly straightforward and only needed to yield basic results, they were effective in proving the success of our subsystems. The success of the entire system is much more subjective, but can be supported by objective results as well.

Results of the infrared sensor

Results of the infrared sensor

Test with 3/16 in. plastic

Test with 0.060 in. plastic

Vacuum Box Testing

Integrated system testing revealed issues with the vacuum box design. The first box faced issues upon initial testing where the vacuum pressure was significantly greater than what the box strength could support. This caused the top and bottom of the box to flex in when vacuum was applied, cracking the seals after a few iterations. It was determined a new box would need to be built with a support structure internally. When designing a new box, material was found from the prior team that was significantly stronger and more rigid to use for the new box. The box was constructed and used for testing on the integrated system. Initial tests were successful and able to form and hold both thick and thin sheets of plastic on the prototype diverter mold. However, as the system was used, the vacuum box lost the ability to hold the plastic in place long enough for the material to cool due to leaks in the box. We are currently investigating solutions and have resealed the box with silicone. Additional testing will be completed to determine if this will solve the problem, or if more work will be required. This could require additional sealant material or even the construction of a new vacuum box.

Risk and Problem Tracking

Risk Management

No new risks were identified during this project stage. A list of all current risks can be found at the Risk Management page.

Problem Tracking

A few problems were identified during this stage as shown in the chart below
Problem Tracking as of 4/6/19

Problem Tracking as of 4/6/19

An up to date problem tracking sheet can be found at the Problem Tracking page.

Functional Demo Materials

Full Test with 3/16 in. plastic

Full Test with 1/16 in. plastic

Plans for next phase

3 Week Plan

3 Week Plan


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