Team Vision for Problem Definition PhaseThroughout the Problem Definition Phase, the team used the following methods to understand the desired state and the desired states from the customer:
- Benchmarking against current composting systems
- Conducting customer interviews to develop and focus on customer requirements as well as a set of constraints
- Developed engineering requirements
- Utilized House of Quality to determine most the important engineering requirements
The team also produced:
- A Problem Definition Phase Plan to determine the deliverables required to move onto the next phase
- An initial risk assessment of what could go wrong and assigned people to be in charge and mitigate the risks
Project SummaryA pdf version of the project summary can be found using the following link: Project Summary.
The project readiness package can be found using the following link: PRP.
- MSD Team 20422
- Composter Operators
- RIT Dining Services
- Student Garden Members
- RIT Facilities Management Employees
- Sarah Brownell (Customer)
- Dr. Brian Thorn (ISE)
- Dawn Carter (BIO)
- Tom Trabold (GIS)
- ESF Club (Install solar on shed)
- BSF Suppliers
RIT Community GardenThis is the most likely use case as the RIT Community Garden is our intended end user. They have constructed an artificial environment in the garden such that it is hospitable for the Black Soldier Fly colony.
Commercial RestaurantThis is a use case that is being explored by the team as a growth opportunity for the product. Before this is a feasible option for restaurants, ease of use needs to be improved and the amount of necessary upkeep needs to be reduced.
DocumentationA .pdf version of the Use Case Scenarios can be found using the following link: Use Cases
Project Goals and Key DeliverablesUpon completion of this project the expected items to present to the customer are:
- Fully functioning prototype of the composter designed
- Improve upon previous designs
- Reduce cost of building
- Operate safely by one to two people
- Process varying amounts of waste
- Prevent the larvae from escaping the system
- Not disturb larvae while removing frass and leachate
- Complete documentation on all experiments run while running and observing the system
- Appropriate data analysis complete with drawings and proper documentation to support the prototype design and system
- Formulate a plan to manufacture the composter at a lower cost of production and labor
- Propose a plan to scale the use of the composter up to meet the needs of all of RIT’s food waste
Highest Priority CRs for Composter
- Fits within RIT Garden Shed and through standard doors
- Ideal environmental conditions for BSF (ventilation, moisture, temperature)
- Accepts food in all conditions (whole, chopped, wet etc.)
- Processes > 10 pounds of food per day
- Comfortable to operate by all researchers, regardless of height
DocumentationCustomer Requirements broken down by importance (1,3,9 scale) and category can be found using the following link: Customer Requirements
DocumentationEngineering Requirements with units and direction of improvement can be found using the follow link: Engineering Requirements
ConstraintsThe key constraints for this project are:
- The total product cost must be less than 400 US dollars
- The product must fit within the shed
- The product must be safe based on campus standards
House of Quality
CR vs ER Diagram
Roof of House of Quality
High Leverage Requirements
- Processes > 10 pounds of food waste per day
- Accommodates > 500,000 larvae
- Easily operated by 1 person
- Must fit in RIT Garden Shed 10'x12'x10'
- Total cost less than $400/composter for lot sizes of 40+
DocumentationHouse of Quality and ranked Engineering Requirements can be found using the following link: House of Quality
DevelopmentTo brainstorm and avoid redundant work the team benchmarked four current food composting solutions: two previous senior design projects, DIY composting buckets, and composting trenches.
P19422This is the previous MSD Black Soldier Fly design. This prototype was able to expect whole, ground, chopped and wet foods. When it provided a pupation site and darkness, it did not provide a reliable route for larvae migration. The composer had components that were easily replaceable (i.e bucket for collecting larvae) but the cone design cannot be easily replaced. The composter could fit through the shed, but barely. The composter will leak from the bottom. When the previous design worked, there is a lot to be approved upon.
P18422This is the original MSD Black Soldier Fly design. This design can process max 6Kg of food a day, which is above the desired 4.5kg of food per day. The structure minimize the amount of house flies and other species getting inside. It also prevents Black Soldier flies from escaping into the environment. There is a metal draw that allows for removal of leachate and frass, but it does not work causing leaks and spills. This design is very costly, about $1000, with parts that are not easily sourced.
DIY BucketThis design is inexpensive to make, only costing the user $25. It has a separate pupation area, in which, the larvae are promoted to move to via Polycarbonate tube. This tube is adjustable to accommodate increasing volume of food waste. The intake capacity is that of a bucket, which is not desirable. The optimal amount of liquid in the is obtained by allowing the extra water and/or leached drain out the bottom. This DIY bucket can fit almost anywhere, including the shed. It has an ergonomic design that allows the composter to be used by a single shorter operator. This bucket does not have the option to be scalable. Ideally the composter will be variable in size to accommodate increasing volume of food.
TrenchThe trench can hold 12kg/day which is about 3x as much as the desired amount. The composer is relatively inexpensive, only $200. The trench can accept whole, chopped, ground and wet foods. It has a metal ramp that allows it to be variable in size. It can not prevent other species from coming in, as well black soldier flies from leaving. It has a pupation site and a metal ramp allowing the larvae to leave. It does not have a method of waste removal.
Benchmarking TableThe table below compares the four solutions:
Design Review MaterialsThe agenda for the problem definition presentation can be downloaded using the following link: Agenda.
The problem definition presentation can be downloaded using the following link: Problem Definition Presentation.