Student Team: Michael Parkhurst, Anastasia Ashley, Dylan Emde, Bryan Cross
Advisor: Rob Gerlick
Sponsoring Organization: United Technologies Aerospace Systems
Liaison: Roy Wortman/Mark Lentz
UTAS Spokane is a manufacturing plant that produces carbon brake disks used on aircraft applications with a volume of around 75,000 parts a year. Manufacturing entails batch processing through multiple furnace cycles. Batches of disks are stacked into graphite loading hardware (racks) and placed into large furnaces that control temperature, pressure, and chemical reactions that increase the density of the carbon disks. The first of these furnace cycles is called the Rapid Chemical Vapor Deposition (RCVD) furnace cycle. When parts complete this furnace run they must be unloaded and separated from their stacks.
Current process has problems related to the difficulty in (1) handling the bulky and heavy load hardware, (2) heavy parts and awkward placements, (3) the operation of large overhead cranes to move stacks of parts, (4) parts being stuck to each other as a result of the RCVD process, and (5) maintaining individual part traceability.
The primary problem is the difficulty in separating disks that are stuck together. The current process primarily entails operators jarring them loose by impact force from hand-held hammers. This is a labor intensive process that often requires poor ergonomic positioning and has resulted in minor operator injuries and damage to product in the past.
G.U. team will deliver a specification package with recommendations for an ergonomic load disassembly system for the RCVD furnace run type. Key drivers for this project are operator ergonomics, environmental, health and safety, cycle time and product integrity.
The deliverables for this project must address the following key components:
1. Safety concerns (ergonomics, machine guarding, tool/system to operator interface)
2. Incorporate Lean Manufacturing concepts
3. Flexibility/portability of part loading/unloading system (automated/semi-automated)
4. Meet or exceed current cycle time (to be provided)
5. Part handling (moving from load hardware to pallets, and incorporate RF bar code scanning)
6. No increase in number of operators (current crew is 2 – 4)
7. Maintain seal rings (spacer components used to separate brake parts within a vertical stack)
8. Avoid damage to product (cracking, chipping, shearling, contamination, loss of traceability)
9. Incorporate current furnace deck “ergo. platforms” if possible or replace with same functionality and level of ergonomic safety
10. Avoid use of large overhead cranes in proposed system if possible
11. Incorporate machine guarding
12. Off the shelf system and/or components preferred
13. Demonstrate proof of concept
14. System Layout (visual concept design, models, animation, specifications and drawings)
15. Detailed supplier selection, equipment specifications and all associated costs
16. Operator Instructions for new systemMore detailed project deliverables document to be provided by UTAS upon project initiation.
Project Management and Communication Expectations:
GU team to provide a Project Plan, schedule weekly updates (meetings and/or email), mid-year and end of year Project Presentation of Design. If the GU team rotates team leaders a calendar of the rotation is requested.
GU team will be expected to make multiple on-site visits early in the project to gain an understanding of and baseline the current process.
KEY: Closed-toe shoes and full-length pants/dresses are required for any on-site visits that include going onto the shop floor area. UTAS will provide safety glasses, ear plugs and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required.