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VOLUMETRIC CUP FILLER

FINAL REPORT

Advisor: Nate Cloud


Sponsors: Glenn Edginton, Ha Dinh, Dave Kendall
UD Consultants: Chris Clare, Ian Erb, Michael Manlove, James Powell, Michael Zeitz
Table Of Contents
Table Of Contents ............................................................................................................. ii
Table of Figures................................................................................................................ iii
Executive Summary .......................................................................................................... 1
Problem Definition ............................................................................................................ 3
System Level Customer Wants and Metrics .................................................................. 3
Cup Design.......................................................................................................................... 4
Brainstorming ................................................................................................................. 4
Concept Evaluation and Selection .................................................................................. 5
Detailed Design .............................................................................................................. 6
Vibration Control.............................................................................................................. 7
Brainstorming ................................................................................................................. 7
Concept Evaluation and Selection .................................................................................. 8
Detailed Design .............................................................................................................. 8
Cup Overfill ....................................................................................................................... 9
Brainstorming ................................................................................................................. 9
Concept Evaluation and Selection .................................................................................. 9
Detailed Design ............................................................................................................ 10
Sub System Benchmarking ............................................................................................ 16
Guiding Brushes............................................................................................................ 16
Feed into Side Shoot, Removable Container ................................................................ 16
Cup Locking Mechanisms ............................................................................................. 16
Vibration Control .......................................................................................................... 16
Testing Methods & Results ............................................................................................ 17
Appendix .......................................................................................................................... 24

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Table of Figures
Figure 1 System Layout ................................................................................................... 1
Figure 2 Processing Overview ......................................................................................... 2
Figure 3 - UDesign Flow Chart .......................................................................................... 3
Figure 4 - System Target Values ........................................................................................ 4
Figure 5 - Clipped, Magnetic, Pinned Approach ................................................................ 5
Figure 6 - Evolution of the Cup Design .............................................................................. 6
Figure 7 - Final Cup Design ............................................................................................... 7
Figure 8 - Vibration Control Approaches ........................................................................... 8
Figure 9 - UHMW Strips .................................................................................................... 9
Figure 10 - Prototype U-Plate w/ notches ........................................................................... 9
Figure 11 - Clear Lexan Cover ......................................................................................... 11
Figure 12 - Brush Type 1 w/ Jelly Beans.......................................................................... 12
Figure 13 - Brush Configurations ..................................................................................... 12
Figure 14 - Nalbach Filling Machines .............................................................................. 13
Figure 15 - Nalbach Filling Machines 2 ........................................................................... 14
Figure 16 - Spee-Dee Volumetric Cup Filler.................................................................... 15
Figure 17 - Omni Projekt Cup Filler ................................................................................. 15
Figure 18 - Press Fit Prototype Cup Design ..................................................................... 18
Figure 19 - Original Vibration Amplitude ........................................................................ 18
Figure 20 - Prototype Vibration Amplitude ...................................................................... 18
Figure 21 - Percent Overfill Results ................................................................................. 19
Figure 22 - Product optimization ...................................................................................... 21
Figure 23 - Gantt Chart ..................................................................................................... 24
Figure 24 System Levels and Selection ......................................................................... 25
Figure 25 Cost Analysis ................................................................................................. 26
Figure 26 - Additional Costs over Current Machine ........................................................ 27
Figure 27 - Additional Labor Breakdown ......................................................................... 28
Figure 28 - Additional Material Costs .............................................................................. 29
Figure 29 - Cover Design.................................................................................................. 30
Figure 30 - U-Plate Design ............................................................................................... 31
Figure 31 - Cup Design ..................................................................................................... 32
Figure 32 - Tray Assembly Design ................................................................................... 33
Figure 33 - Customer Wants ............................................................................................. 34
Figure 34 - Wants to Metrics Correlation ......................................................................... 35
Figure 35 - Cup Overfill Concept Description ................................................................. 36
Figure 36 - Cup Overfill Concept Selection ..................................................................... 37
Figure 37 - Machine Vibration Wants .............................................................................. 38
Figure 38 - Machine Vibration Metrics ............................................................................ 39
Figure 39 - Machine Vibration Concept Description ....................................................... 40
Figure 40 - Cup Design Wants.......................................................................................... 41
Figure 41 - Cup Design Metrics........................................................................................ 42
Figure 42 - Cup Design Concept Descriptions ................................................................. 43
Figure 43 - Cup Design Selections ................................................................................... 44

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Executive Summary
All-Fill Inc. is a designer and manufacturer of machines used in the filling and packaging
of food products, pharmaceuticals and chemicals. Beginning in 1969 All-Fill began the
design, production, and manufacturing of their top product, Auger Fillers. The key to
their successes has been centered on their ability to provide low cost, simplified,
innovative and durable machines. Because of these successes, they have expanded their
production to include the following machines:

Auger Filling Machines


Volumetric Piston Filling Machines
High Speed/High Accuracy Checkweighers
Vertical, Horizontal, and Flexible Product Feeders & Conveyors
Rotary Table Accumulators and Unscramblers
Custom-Built Filling Machine Systems
Engineering Services for Turn-Key Systems

The proposed senior design project was to work on design and manufacturing process
improvements of one of their cup fillers. The current machine is a gravity fed dispenser
of dry product into containers. The food product falls onto cavities formed by upper and
lower disc assembly with attached telescoping cups. The discs are rotated by a servo
motor and the cup volume can be increased and decreased by a threaded rod attached to a
second motor. The hopper feeds into the rear position and a loading pocket hole in the
front of the disc assembly allows product to fall through a shoot into oncoming containers.
These containers can be filled on an assembly line or hand filled by an operator.

Figure 1 System Layout

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Figure 2 Processing Overview

All-Fill expressed their desire to improve upon several different aspects of its existing
volumetric cup filler design. These included, but were not limited to, improving ease of
use, measurement capabilities, structural design, production costs and methods, control
and software interface and the overall product output of the machine. The ultimate goal
was to introduce a new volumetric cup filler as an industry leader.

As University of Delaware consultants, we have been asked to solve these critical design
issues. The design process began in early September when we identified our key design
metrics through customer wants and needs. Developmental areas were selected such that
they would have the highest impact on overall quality and increased production of the
machine. Various methods were used in order to proceed from the concept selection
phase into detailed designs of the volumetric cup filler subsystems. Detailed designs
were then created, reviewed, and altered. Upon approval, a prototype was then
manufactured. Much of November was spent working with All-Fill as a team to
implement each of these detailed designs into the improved volumetric cup filler. After
completing the building of our prototype, the machine was then tested. The data gathered
during testing proved the cup filler to be greatly improved.

With these developments, All-Fills volumetric cup filler will improve the overall quality
of the product with a minimal cost increase. This will be beneficial to All-Fill because
they will be able to sell more units at a higher cost. In addition, increasing the production
rate, efficiency and accuracy of the machine will increase the marketability of the product.
The end customer using the filling machine will be able to fill more cups at a faster rate
and increase their sales as well.

The following report will outline the progression of the project as well as the overall
design process used.

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Problem Definition
Our team and the All-Fill staff have observed, operated, and tested the current machine in
order to gain knowledge of its strengths and weaknesses. In order to narrow our problem
scope, we categorized the machine into many different subsystem areas. By critiquing
each area for individual and integrated performance, we were able to choose the three
most beneficial areas to improve to enhance the overall quality of the machine (See
Figure 10 in Appendix). Next, using methods of observation and discussion, we ranked
our top problem areas that would satisfy our system level wants and metrics. From our
findings and the advice of the experienced All-Fill staff we chose our three problem areas.
These three areas would not only provide the greatest overall benefit to All-Fill, but also
be feasible to complete within the estimated 1000-1500 project man hours. These areas
of improvement include the cup design, the machine vibration, and the cups overfill. Due
to the subsystem nature of the three areas, we proceeded with concept generation and
selection on a threefold subsystem level. Each subsystem was evaluated based upon its
individual wants and metrics that all are incorporated into the system level wants and
metrics.

System Level Customer Wants and Metrics


We began by assembling a customer set that would be most important in the development
of the new machine. The companies which would be purchasing the filling machine were
highly valued because net sales are directly proportional to customer satisfaction.
Creating a better and less costly design would make All-Fills machine much more
attractive for these companies and make the businesses more productive. The operators
that work in the filling companies work with the machine 8 hours a day and would also
be affected by any changes. The engineers at All-Fill are a third key customer because
their experience in building machines is very helpful in creating a list of wants. Finally,
the machinists that manufacture and assemble the parts influence the design and layout of
the entire system.

Using a weighted customer ranking process we created a single list of prioritized wants.
After analyzing all of the wants and needs expressed by each of the individuals involved,
a list of the top ten wants created. Low cost topped our list followed closely behind by
continuous processing and accuracy, Using this list were be able to focus in on the
aspects that are most important and manage our time accordingly.

Figure 3 - UDesign Flow Chart

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With these top ten wants established, it was possible to establish a set of key metrics.
The desire for a low-cost volumetric cup filler strongly correlates to the complexity of the
device as well as the accuracy of manufacturing required (tolerances). Both productivity
and accuracy were directly to the number of cups filled per minute, overfill, cup
dislodgement and vibration reduction.

In addition, safety was a constraint that we had to pay special attention to. This constraint
was directly related to the speed and durability of the machine and also influenced by any
harmful side effects that may occur during use. This could be due to machine failure or
any other force acting on or around the machine.

Throughout the project we have continuously adapted and reevaluated our customer
wants and metrics as necessary. Through qualitative and quantitative reviews the wants
and metrics have steadily stayed the same.

We were able to do initial performance testing to score some of the important metrics of
the original design. Using this data a set of system target values was created to which our
prototype could be compared. With the modifications to each of the three subsystems we
were able to achieve our goal of improving the overall quality of the volumetric cup filler.

Figure 4 - System Target Values

Each of the values is an engineering approximation based on observations, videos and


pictures. The average production rate and motor speed were recorded during each of the
tests and a reasonable target value was created using the average speeds taking into
consideration the maximum speed. Cup overfill was found by counting the volume of
product that did not reach the cups divided by the total volume of product. The vibration
measurement used audio data from the recorded video and approximated the sound
intensity from the u-plate hitting the column. The testing procedures and results will be
discussed more thoroughly later in this report.

Cup Design

Brainstorming

We began the cup design phase by creating a list of possible techniques to restrain our
cups in position. Without limiting our solution base our team generated a range of ideas

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that would hold the cup down by different mechanisms, forces or hardware. Our list
included:

Threading the cup to screw into the plate


Magnets under the cup lip to rest on magnets on the plate
Screwing the cup down to the plate using machined slots
Slotted locking mechanism
Set screw or pin through the side of the plate into the cup
Increasing the gap between the top and bottom telescoping cups while also
adding pins to bear the load of the turning plates
Rotating clips that turn on and off of the cup lid

Figure 5 - Clipped, Magnetic, Pinned Approach

This list expanded and developed over time based upon design considerations and
recommendations made by All-Fill with regard to machining the actual parts as well as
the practicality based on previous filler designs.

Concept Evaluation and Selection

Using input from All-Fill, our sponsor and our own testing of the machine we developed
a set of wants and needs that we transformed into technical metrics to quantitatively score
each of the concepts. Each of our metrics was weighted differently so that our concepts
could be evaluated accordingly against the current system, benchmarked systems and
each other.

Our team considered reliability of the new cup design to be most important in that we
wanted the filler to operate continuously without failure of the cup. Essentially, we
required our new cup design not to remain in its position for approximately 95% of its
use. The second key metric was maintaining the cost of the new cup low. This metric
encompassed several different issues including manufacturability, materials, number of
parts, shape and complexity of the parts. With each of these considered we aimed to keep
the cost of each cup below $30. We also wanted the cup mechanism to be easy to use for
the operator so they would be able to change each cup in 10 seconds or less. Many of
these subsystem metrics were the same as the system level metrics. By improving these
individual subsystem metrics, the metrics of the entire system would be improved.

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Using the developed evaluation set we immediately removed some of our concepts
because they would be far too difficult and costly to produce. This included the threading
technique and telescoping pins with increased cup gap. The rotating clip technique was
also eliminated based solely on high cost because of the number of parts. In addition, we
decided that additional small parts on the top of the plate would immensely increase the
particle buildup. Our team also removed the side set screw/pin method as well as
screwing down from the top due to the low ease of use score.

We were left with two approaches: the magnetic and the slotted cup mechanism. First,
our team created detailed designs of these methods by analyzing how the design would fit
into the current filler and modify any parts. Next, we investigated the dimensions of the
overall machine and created drawings that included parts that would need to be machined
as well as components that could be bought from an external source.

We located a vender who sells several types of magnetic sheets that would fit our cup
design. Our group bought a few different magnets ranging in thickness and strength.
Then using our lip dimensions, we cut out and installed our sheets on a current cup.
During this process we realized that this method of installation was difficult, time
consuming and ineffective. The adhesive did not hold very well and the amount of force
generated by the two magnets was too small. As a result, it would become necessary to
purchase another type of adhesive to keep the magnets in place; therefore, quickly raising
the cost of the design. In addition, cutting out donut shapes from the magnetic sheets left
a lot of excess material which would amount to loss of money. We decided not to
proceed with the development of this concept and focused on the locking mechanism

Detailed Design

Our initial slotted mechanism required notches added onto the current cup design as well
as slots cut out of the plate. Although this locking method would be extremely efficient,
we soon discovered that there would be other problems related to manufacturing of the
cup. The difficulty of manufacturing of the design was quite high due to the shape and
position of the machined part. This would vastly increase the production time as well as
the cost of each cup.

Figure 6 - Evolution of the Cup Design

We were able to progress with the cup design so that it was only necessary to cut out a
notch on the current cup and open a slot on the plate. Still, however, this part would also

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be difficult to create on a CNC mill. The notch evolved into a more practical part, a pin,
which would function equally as well.

Figure 7 - Final Cup Design

This pin design would not alter All-Fills current way of making the aluminum cups. To
ensure that one pin is not supporting all of the force on the cup, we put an additional pin
on the opposite side. The part is a stainless steel, -5/16 diameter pin that is press-
fitted to the cup. The tray the cup rests on has two grooves cut into them. These grooves
are long enough to ensure the pin can pass through them, and have been rounded off for
easier machining. This makes the necessary movement for installing the cup being, down
into place and then rotate to lock. The cost of the additional material is $0.30/cup, with
an estimated extra half-hour of labor required for the additions.

Vibration Control

Brainstorming

Our team brainstormed a list of possible ideas for vibration control. We devised many of
these ideas while testing the machine and developed many different methods of reducing
the noise and collisions:

Wear plate material modification


U-Plate sleeve
U-Plate, Frame post bearings
Frame Post Guides

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Figure 8 - Vibration Control Approaches

Upon completion of the brainstorming, we compared all ideas and began our selection
process.

Concept Evaluation and Selection

We compiled input from All-Fill and our own testing of the machine. This input was
comprised of wants and their metrics, or measurable technical values corresponding to
each want. For vibration control, we wanted the concept to have a low cost, be easy to
assemble, have minimal amount of parts, increase speed and efficiency of machine as
well as durability.

Metrics corresponded to each of these wants. One metric is the cost of the concept. For
some of the other wants the metrics of manufacturing time, number of parts needed,
production rate and percent overfill, and extended life of the concept all have a value
unique to each of them. These values were then compared to the values of the current
model to see which idea improves upon the current model.

Below is a list of the target values we plan to achieve with the new concept

Maximum of $30 spent


Maximum of 1 hour for assembly
Maximum of 8 parts
Have an efficient speed of 400 rpm and less than 5% food displacement
Minimum life of 3 years

After comparing all ideas to each other and the current model, it led us to the design of
the frame-post guides as our selected concept.
Detailed Design

Following the selection of the concept, detailed drawings were made along with material
selection and the process for assembly. For vibration control, we needed to make two
parts. The first part was to create a guide for the U-plate to slide on. Because both the

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frame post guide and U-plate are made out of aluminum, contact between the two during
movement can cause galling, this makes the aluminum soft and gummy. Therefore, we
needed to use a material other than aluminum.

Figure 9 - UHMW Strips

The selected guide is 12 in length, 3/4 in width, and 3/8 in thickness. The material
used is the in-house plastic, an Ultra-High Molecular Weight (UHMW) plastic. The
guides are attached with counter sinking screws that go through the guide into the frame
post. The cost is $0.48/rail, with an estimated 1.5 hours of additional labor.

Figure 10 - Prototype U-Plate w/ notches

As for the U-Plate modifications, the notches were put in place where the plate comes in
contact with the frame post. These notches accounted for the guides being on the frame
post since the radius of the post and U-plate are the same according to the drawings we
received. The estimated additional labor is 1.5 hours.

Cup Overfill

Brainstorming

During our observance of the machine, we noticed that cups were being overfilled and
some of the product was being lost due to this. We created possible concepts to eliminate
the problem of cups becoming over filled and loss of products. A few of these concepts
are as follows:

An altered brush design


Pre-filling cover guide system
Excess removal guide system with side-shoot
Hopper feed closing valve
Re-designed hopper

Concept Evaluation and Selection

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The next step in the design process was to evaluate each of the developed concepts.
Along with evaluating each concept we formed a rating system which was used to help
choose the best subsystem design. This involved comparing the metrics and target values
of the concepts to the current volumetric cup filler. When compared with the current
metrics, adding a closing valve or altering the hopper design seemed to be a step down
from the current volumetric cup filler; thus, these concepts were not developed any
further. It was clearly shown that the best solutions were a modified brush design, a
cover guide, or a side-shoot.

One of the many ways to help reduce the problem of cup-overfill was to redesign and
reposition the brushes at the bottom of the hopper. Often the brushes drag material out of
the cups rather then guiding it into the cups. In order to alleviate this problem, many
alternate brush designs were evaluated. One such design involved increasing the stiffness
of the bristles on each brush. To accomplish this task we needed the bristles on the brush
to be shorter and made of a courser material. This in turn would reduce the outward flex
that tended to drag material out of the cups. The brushes will also ensure that small
particles are picked up, thus making the brushes compatible with any type of food
product

Similar to the brush design, a side-shoot seemed to outperform the benchmark in many
areas. We believed that the effective speed of the machine would improve without
causing overfills. Other areas which would be improved with a side shoot are
maintenance, cleanup time and convenience. Nonetheless, as with the brush design this
was not selected as the best design choice. Reasons for this are due to the complexity of
the device along with the overall productivity not being increased.

Although the side shoot and altered brush design compare well with the current cup filler,
the best design was chosen as the altered brush design. We felt that the effective speed of
the machine along with its productivity could be greatly enhanced with this new design of
improving the brushes. This completed the task of concept evaluation and selection and
we thus were able to move into the detailed design of our subsystem.

Detailed Design

The initial stages of the detailed design for the pre-filling guide system involved looking
at our original sketches. Because our system involves using different types of brushes
and brush configurations, it was crucial to create a way to observe the filling process.
This led us to have the top of the cover clear. By creating a clear cover, we were able to
watch the machine as it operated and note the areas where overfill or buildup occurred.
Doing this, allowed us to adjust the guiding system until the problem had been eliminated
altogether. A Lexan plastic was chosen for the top cover and aluminum sides screwed
into it. The side of the cover is comprised of two pieces of aluminum sheets rolled to fit
the circumference of the cover. The Lexan plastic will mimic the current specifications
of the previous cover, but the thickness of the plastic is 3/8 in thickness.

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Figure 11 - Clear Lexan Cover

In order to accommodate our new design, we felt that it was necessary to redesign how
the cover locks into the frame. A new set of brackets was fashioned to enable the cover
to be easily removed and put back on. This will eliminate the time spent screwing and
unscrewing the current screws in the frame. L-shaped grooves have been cut out of the
bracket which will allow the cover to simply slide onto a pin and then drop down into
place.

Figure 12 - Bracket Design

It soon became apparent that with the new Lexan cover, it was not necessary to include
the brackets to mount the cover. Instead, the weight of the cover itself resting on the
servo lift keeps the cover simply in place. This unintentional modification made it even
easier and fast to change the cover on and off the machine for the operator.

After finalizing the cover, we were able to improve on the brush designs. The prototype
brush is comprised of taking the brush and bending it 90 degrees, but the brush itself was
not changed. There are two types of brush-to-cover orientations that were tested. The
first has the brush replace any material on the turntable back into the full cups (see Figure
12).

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Figure 12 - Brush Type 1 w/ Jelly Beans

The second orientation has the brush gather any displaced material and recycle it into a
cup heading to be filled. The brushes are be set on to the cover so any material
approaching the brush will converge toward the middle, rather than diverge to the edges.
Due to the fact that this machine can be used for many different products, there can not
be one set configuration of brushes. This leads to having three types of configurations:
Type 1, Type 2, and both Types. This now makes the brush configurations customizable
to each type of material, whether it is large or small pieces. The different brush
configurations are shown below.

TOP VIEW

ORIGINAL BRUSH 1 BRUSH 2

Dispense Location
Fill Location
Feed Direction

Figure 13 - Brush Configurations

Benchmarking

Through our design process we relied heavily on benchmarking. By benchmarking


current technology similar to our filling machine, we obtained background knowledge on
the subject. By doing this, it was not necessary to reinvent the wheel. In additional,
researching current technology helped to spawn new ideas.

Nalbach Models NCF1001, 1002, 1003 Volumetric Cup Fillers

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The Nalbach Model NCF volumetric cup filler has numerous differences and similarities
to All-Fills volumetric cup filler. Concerning the overall dimensions the Nalbach model
can range from 64.75 inches to 120 inches depending on customer specifications. A
gravity fed conical hopper design provides the material feed for the cup filler assembly.
Air and motor driven mechanical product settling vibrators are also available for the
hopper if specified by the customer. Product in feed is provided either manually or via
vibratory, belt and screw conveyers. The telescopic cup tray assembly is driven by a 220
V bottom mounted servo motor. This servo motor allows the machine to fill up to 120
cups per minute with a fill volume accuracy of 0.5 percent. A computerized touch screen
controls the servo motor allowing the operator to easily control the fill operations. The
software which incorporates the touch screen computer with the cup filler provides the
operator with the ability to control the cup fill rate, cup volume, servo acceleration and
deceleration, recycle times and all other operating parameters.

Figure 14 - Nalbach Filling Machines

Nalbach offers three different types of their Model NCF volumetric cup filler to help suit
customer needs. The primary differences between these three models are the number of
cups in the cup tray, the maximum cup diameter and the maximum cup height. The
Model NCF1001 offers a four cup tray with a maximum cup depth of 4.5 inches and a
maximum cup height of 20 inches. Similar to the NCF1001 the model NCF2002 features
a six cup tray and identical cup depth and height. The NCF1003 uses a four cup tray with
a maximum cup diameter of 6.5 inches and a maximum cup height of 30 inches.

Overall the primary differences between the Nalbach Model NCF volumetric cup filler
line and the All-Fill volumetric cup filler lie within number of cups in the cup tray, the
mounting of the servo motor and various software options. All-Fills volumetric cup filler
is equipped with a six cup tray where as Nalbach offers four or six cup options. The
location of the servo driving motor differs in that the Nalbach servo is mounted
underneath of the cup filling tray and the All-Fill servo motor is mounted above the cup
filling tray. Finally Nalbachs software includes an empty hopper sensor, and adjustable
acceleration and deceleration of the servo motor.

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Figure 15 - Nalbach Filling Machines 2

Spee-Dee Models CBS, CB6S, CHS Volumetric Cup Fillers

Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery produces three models of their servo driven volumetric
cup fillers. Each of the models is equipped with a standard gravity flow conical hopper
for material feed. Conforming to the apparent standards the Spee-Dee volumetric cup
fillers are manufactured with four or six telescopic cup trays. Each model is capable of
utilizing different cup sizes to meet different customers needs. The CBS model is
equipped with a four cup tray and uses cups with diameters ranging from one inch to four
inches and cup heights ranging from 0.62 inches to 12 inches. Much like the CBS the
CHS features a four cup design however it can use cups from one to six inches in
diameter and cup heights ranging from 0.62 inches to 25 inches. The CB6S is designed
with a six cup tray whose cups can range from one to three inches in diameter and cup
heights ranging from 0.62 to seven inches.

Spee-Dee volumetric cup fillers are driven by a 240 V digital servo gear motor which is
controlled by a PLC direct micro controller. This servo motor allows the cup fillers to fill
a maximum of 160 cups per minute depending of the filling material and cup volume.
These models are also able to interface with manual and automatic in feed systems as
well as various conveyor line set ups.

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Figure 16 - Spee-Dee Volumetric Cup Filler

Omni Projekt Volumetric Cup Filler

The Omni Projekt volumetric cup filler uses the same gravity feed type hopper, however
its material dispensing technique differs from the rotating cup tray design utilized by the
All-Fill, Nalbach and Spee-Dee models. A linear actuating pneumatic drive piston is used
to move the single cup assembly from underneath the gravity feed hopper to the material
dump hole. Omni Projekt volumetric cup fillers are also equipped to use various
telescopic cup sizes to meet the customers needs and specifications. The pneumatic drive
piston is capable of delivering up to 60 fills per minute; however it does not appear to be
computer controlled.

Figure 17 - Omni Projekt Cup Filler

Volumetric Filler for Pouch Machine

This volumetric filler is comprised of a rotating plate with a number of cups spaced
around the circular plate. Another rotating plate is aligned above the first plate to form
the primary filling cups. A stationary plate is placed underneath the rotating plate
assembly; this stationary plate has one material discharge slot for cup filling. The
volumetric cups are then filled by a hopper that is placed above the rotating plate
assembly. The material is fed through the hopper to the cups using only gravity. Knives
that are located above the rotating plates cut through the product to increase the weight
uniformity of the material in the cups and to aid the settling of the product.

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A number of scrapers are used to scrape off any excess material or cup overfill that may
be present. Once the cups have been filled and scraped the material is dumped into its
respective cups, bags etc This machine is claimed to be capable of filling between 500
and 600 pouches per minute. At this high fill rate product bridging in the feed hopper and
inaccurate cup filling can be a problem. To alleviate this problem a reciprocating knife is
used to cut the product between the cup and the hopper, however this function drops the
fill rate to between 60 and 100 fills per minute.

Sub System Benchmarking


Guiding Brushes

In the industrial world brushes have a variety of uses. These brushes are often used to
clean various mechanical system parts as well as guide materials through different
aspects of a manufacturing process. The type of brush often used in the case of material
delivery guidance is called a metal strip brush. Metal strip brushes are fabricated by
filling a specially designed metal channel with a selected filament. The metal channel can
be manufactured in a variety of shapes and sizes allowing for a number of methods to
attach the brush including welding, riveting and bolting.

Feed into Side Shoot, Removable Container

A side shoot to remove excess cup overflow material from the cup tray is very similar to
the downspout on a modern rain gutter system. Available downspouts range from two to
four inches in diameter and can be integrated into various gutter and drainage systems.
These downspouts utilize gravity to maintain the flow of water and can be fitted with
screens and covers to divert leaves and other foreign material from entering and clogging
the pipe. There are a multitude of containers available on todays market. These
containers and be fabricated from materials such as aluminum to space age plastics and
can be formed into any size and shape.

Cup Locking Mechanisms

Cam locks are used for countless applications both industrially and privately. These locks
are used to secure cabinets, doors, display cases and almost any thing else imaginable.
Cam locks function easily, either a key or a knob is turned and the cam portion of the
lock slides into a slot effectively holding what ever is to be kept locked in place.

Magnetic holding devices are very common and are used in various applications.
These magnets can be manufactured into many different shapes, sizes and degrees of
magnetic strength depending on user specifications. Often the magnet is mounted to an
object and other magnetic materials such as steel can then be easily attached and removed
from the specific piece.

Vibration Control

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The use of plastic sleeves and guides is prominent in the industrial world. These sleeves
and guides are often used to help direct chains, belts and other material. Plastic has a
number of beneficial properties when used in this situation. Through lubrication applied
during manufacturing these plastic guides will reduce the friction and drag on the chains
or belts. Plastic also increases the degree of cleanliness and reduces the amount of noise
made while a machine is running.

Acetal plastics can be found in various valves components and bearings. These acetal
plastics are very rigid, slippery and wear resistant. There are a number of different grades
of acetal plastics with varying degrees of moisture absorption, strength and coefficients
of friction. Delrin is the standard among these materials; it combines high strength, low
moisture resistance and a relatively low friction coefficient. Acetal copolymer has less
porosity than Delrin enabling it to retain less moisture and maintain better shape and
chemical resistance. Glass filled Delrin contains 20 percent glass fiber to increase
resistance to stress, heat and cold. PTFE filled Delrin combines 13 percent PTFE and
Delrin to provide better wear resistance and a decreased coefficient of friction than the
standard Delrin.

Anti-backlash gears are used to help control precision mechanisms such as robots,
servomotors, and space craft. These gears by using springs to maintain constant tooth
contact between gears.

Testing Methods & Results


Prototype validation on the system level begins with validation on the subsystem level.
For the three subsystem levels we devised appropriate tests to measure cup displacement,
machine vibration, and product overfill with new cover designs. Cup displacement
would validate our improved cup design simply by measuring the number of cups
displaced as a function of time. Machine vibration was measured and optimized based
upon the magnitude of sound emitted from the machine measured with a microphone and
the bridging in the hopper. Lastly, product overfill was quantified by using a series of
products, brush types, running speeds and measuring the weight of product lost during
processing.

Our first subsystem area of improvement was cup design. The original Cup Filler
displaced on average of 22 cups per hour. The displacement causes were related to
machine vibration, volume changes forcing cups upward, and poor cup design. With the
added locking pin mechanism, cup displacement was reduced to zero cups displaced
during every single hour of our machine testing. This equals approximately zero cups
displaced during a twelve hour period. The new cup design appears to be a great success
with both the UD team and All-Fill, Inc. overwhelmingly pleased.

17
Figure 18 - Press Fit Prototype Cup Design

The subsystem of machine vibration was targeted as a cause of cup displacement, product
overfill, and lastly poor aesthetics (noise due to machine banging). Reducing machine
vibration did have constraints on the lower limit. Machine vibration within gravity feed
hopper type filling machines can aid in particle flow and stop product bridging within the
hopper. The frame guide system designed employed one to three guides depending on
the level of vibration to be decreased. In order to best balance the reduction in vibration
with the need for vibration to stop bridging, we tested the machine with one, two and
three frame guides. The end goal of the tests was to reduce vibration as much as possible
without bridging occurring in the hopper for all of our tests products. After preliminary
testing, two guides proved to be sufficient for vibration reduction.

Using microphones and computer software to measure the amount of machine noise
emitted, we recorded data that correlated to the machine vibration. The magnitude of the
machine vibration before and after is shown in the figures below. The original filler
machine noise amplitude was reduced by a factor of nine.

Figure 19 - Original Vibration Amplitude

Figure 20 - Prototype Vibration Amplitude

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Redesigning the cover consisted of two areas: material and brush configuration. The goal
was for a clear cover, which of course was achieved simply by the material properties.
Switching from stainless steel to Lexan (clear plastic) achieved this goal and required no
testing beyond the obvious observation. The second goal was to improve the brush
design to reduce product overfill onto the cup turn table. Static brushes strategically
attached to the cover underside push lost product into the moving cup (See Figure 13). In
order to measure the effectiveness of the new brushes, the weight of product lost was
measured. In order to solely measure the effects of the new brush designs, all tests were
run with the new machine (cup design and machine vibration improvements
implemented). If the original machine was used to measure brush design improvements,
it would be unclear if the new brushes were pushing more product into the cups or if less
product was overfilling the cups due to reduced machine vibration improvements.

To quantify our cover design improvements, tests were designed using three products
(granola, cashews, and pistachios), five running speeds, and three brush designs (original,
prototype one, and prototype two). Product weight was measured prior to the hopper
being filler and then again after all product was processed. The amount of product left on
the cup turntable or lost onto the ground constituted the difference of the measurements.
One trial consisted of a given speed, brush type, and product. In total, 45 tests were run
and recorded providing the statistical data necessary for analysis and validation. From
the results, prototype brushes one and two consistently out perform the original designs at
all running speeds for all products. Moreover, the prototype was able to run at maximum
speed with less than one percent overfill using either brush type one or two depending on
product. Data such as this as leant itself the ability to outfit individual machines based
upon the needs of the customer. Based upon the product the customer wishes to run, a
brush type could be recommended for minimal product overfill.

Figure 21 - Percent Overfill Results

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Collaborating all of our subsystem data, we are able to quantify the improvements to the
filler on the system level. From the product overfill data, the highest machine running
speed with less than 1% overfill for the prototype is 38 cups per minute. To achieve such
accuracy with the original machine, the maximum speed was 36 cups per minute.
Although that is only a 5% improvement in machine speed, when coupled with the cup
displacement data over the course of an 8 hour shift the results are even more staggering.
If 22 cups are displaced per hour and on average it takes an operator 30 seconds to fix the
cups (including cover removal/replacement), that is a loss of 88 minutes for an 8 hour
shift (480 minutes). Combining the machine speed and cup displacement lost time data,
the number of cups processed during a given shift is 14425 versus 18345 for the old
machine versus the prototype. That is a 27% improvement in cups filled during time the
machine should be running.

Optimal Running Specifications


The product data sets that were generated through test can be analyzed so that
conclusions can be drawn. Creating an optimal setting of running speed and brush design
for different types of food products can be extremely beneficial for both All-Fill and the
customer looking to buy the volumetric filler. Through our detailed testing, our team was
able to select this most efficient running setup for granola, cashews and pistachios. This
product set contains several different solid particle types that range in size, shape and
density and can be used to model the processing rate of many other products.

Granola is a very small, densely packed material that varies in shapes in sizes. Often
many tiny particles are dispersed across the plate because they
are lightweight and pushed out of the cups but the static
brushes. Brush design 2 was most successful at all speeds
reducing the amount of overfill for all running speeds. The
original brush and brush 1 design would remove top layers of
granola product immediately after leaving the fill location.
However, brush 2 was positioned such that the oncoming cups were already empty and
would pre-fill before reaching the fill location. Granola successfully filled at the
maximum servo speed of 39.22 cups/minute with the second brush design.

Cashews are much denser, but have large spaces between particles. The cashew is a
rough, rounded crescent shape that has a tendency to create a large
amount of friction between the brushes. Unlike granola, if one cashew
is displaced by the machine, the percent overfill
by weight can jump up very quickly. At lower
speeds, brush 2 created less product overfill, but
at higher speeds brush 1 performed more
successfully. However, at low speeds, brush 2 was only slightly
more efficient, but was greatly worse at high speeds. Therefore, it
would be most beneficial and efficient for the customer to run
brush 1 for cashews.

20
Pistachios are food particles that have a varying shape with an open shell around a nut.
Some of the shells are fully open, some completely closed, and other pieces are without a
shell at all. While increasing the testing speed the percent weight of product overfill
surprisingly dropped off slightly at 36.8 cups per minute. Our team analyzed the data and
felt that this phenomenon occurred because the pistachios that had been dislodged from
the cups and were rotating on the tray assembly surface were thrown back into the empty
cups during the starting and stopping of each fill. Brush 1 was the most successful at
reducing overfill at almost all speeds.

Based upon our analysis of our varied testing we generated a product recommendation
table for All-Fill and its customers. In general, the brush 2 design would be most
effective for smaller food particles and brush 1 for larger particles. Although these
results are only for three products, different types of food products can be compared to
these three types based upon their physical characteristics.

Optimal Machine Processing


Product Brush Cups/Min (< 1% Overfill)
Granola 2 39.22
Cashews 1 39.22
Pistachios 1 39.22
Figure 22 - Product optimization

Continuity and Implementation Plan


At this stage of our project, it is necessary that the UD team works out a smooth
transition so that All-Fill can continue development of the filler. By describing a plan to
further improve the machine, All-Fill can continue work directly where the UD team left
off. We can divide this plan up into 2 different areas, including testing methods as well
as manufacturing techniques.

In the future, it would be beneficial to test a larger variety of products with different
physical characteristics. Our team was only able to test 3 different products because of
time and product constraints. Performing tests with assorted brush designs for each of
the different products would also allow All-Fill to understand which brush design is best
for each type of product. By gathering test data on a range of products with different
brushes, All-Fill will be able to analyze their data to further improve the efficiency of
their machine. This further validation through experimentation will help All-Fill to reach
a broader product filling market around the world. Also, it would be useful to perform
more long term testing of our prototype. This would ensure that the new designs are fully
functional through many years of customer use.

During the prototyping stages of our project, many different manufacturing techniques
were made up on the fly to stay on schedule. Much of the construction of our newly
designed parts was completed through trial and error. This informal process wasted both
time and money on the manufacturing floor. In particular, building our unique brush
design took a lot of thought and time. In the future, a written procedure could be created

21
for the brushes so that no materials or production time would be wasted and each brush
would be made exactly the same way. With this transitional phase, it will be easy for the
volumetric cup filler prototype to be quickly ready to enter the market.

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Conclusions
The University of Delaware team has successfully improved All-Fills Volumetric Cup
Filler. Through several phases the team was able to upgrade the quality and production
efficiency of the entire machine. These areas were selected through customer wants
including the operators, engineers, machinists and consumers. Our team qualitatively
evaluated the customer wants and through engineering validation converted these wants
into technical metrics. Using these metrics, we selected three areas that would best
improve the quality and efficiency while focusing on the customer wants. The three
selected developmental areas were cup design, vibration control and cover/brush design.

The new cup design exceeded our initial expectations by never raising out of position
during twenty three hours of operation. It still remains easy and cheap to manufacture as
well as being extremely simple to change. The vibration reduction design was also
extremely successful in that it decreased the amount of acoustical vibration by nine fold.
The UMHW plastic strips and new U-Plate are minor modifications that have a major
effect on the machine. Finally, both of the cover-brush designs decreased the amount of
overfill for several different products relative to the original brush design. These three
subsystem level changes combined to drastically improve the quality and productivity of
the machine. Through testing, we validated that our prototype subsystems functioned
extremely well and produced great results over long periods of time.

The University of Delaware Team believes that through our hard work, innovation and
engineering processes, we were able to give added value to All-Fills Volumetric Cup
Filler. The new prototype has the potential to become an industry leading machine
within its competitive market.

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Appendix

Figure 23 - Gantt Chart

24
Figure 24 System Levels and Selection

25
Figure 25 Cost Analysis

26
Total Additional Costs

Materials, 115.2, 23%

Labor
Materials

Labor, 387.5, 77%

Figure 26 - Additional Costs over Current Machine

27
Additonal Labor Breakdown

U-Plate
Assembly

Cup bolts (threaded) (x6) U-Plate


Cup bolts (threaded) (x6)
Top Plate
Cover (Plastic)
Cover (attachment)
Plastic Frame Rails Top Plate Plastic Frame Rails
Assembly

Cover (Plastic)

Cover (attachment)

Figure 27 - Additional Labor Breakdown

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Additional Material Costs

Cup bolts

Plastic Frame Rails

Cup bolts
Plastic Frame Rails
Cover (Plastic)

Cover (Plastic)

Figure 28 - Additional Material Costs

29
Figure 29 - Cover Design

30
Figure 30 - U-Plate Design

31
Figure 31 - Cup Design

32
Figure 32 - Tray Assembly Design

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Final Wants Rate of
Ranking Importance
1 Low Cost 27.3
2 Continuous Processing 19.5
3 Accuracy 15.0
4 Safety 13.2
5 Machine Efficiency 8.2
6 Operating Speed 8.2
7 Ease of Cleanup 4.1
8 Aesthetics 2.7
9 Ease of Production 1.8
10 Sanitation 0.0
Figure 33 - Customer Wants

34
Wants to Metrics Cross-correlation
Want Low Cost Continuous Processing Accuracy Safety Machine Efficiency Operating Speed Ease of Cleanup Aesthetics Ease of Production Sanitation score %
Metrics \ % 27.3 19.5 15.0 13.2 8.2 8.2 4.1 2.7 1.8 0.0
Waste of substance 3 1 1 1 9 3 9 1 1 3 269 7
Complexity of device 9 1 3 3 3 1 1 9 3 1 416 10
Accuracy of measurement 1 3 9 1 3 9 1 1 1 1 341 8
Speed 3 3 9 9 9 9 3 1 1 1 559 14
3

35
Product Contamination 1 1 1 1 3 3 3 1 1 9 141
Convenience of use 1 9 1 3 3 3 3 3 3 1 332 8
Harmful side effects 1 1 1 9 1 3 1 1 1 9 222 5
Productivity 3 9 3 1 9 9 3 1 3 1 484 12
Accuracy of manufacturing 9 1 3 3 1 3 1 3 9 1 411 10
Repairability 3 9 3 3 3 1 1 1 3 1 387 9

Figure 34 - Wants to Metrics Correlation


Waste of time 3 3 1 1 9 3 9 1 3 1 312 8
Durability 1 1 1 9 3 1 1 1 1 1 222 5
Figure 35 - Cup Overfill Concept Description

36
Figure 36 - Cup Overfill Concept Selection

37
Final Wants Rate of
Ranking Importance
1 Safety 37
2 Sanitary 18
3 Ease of Clean up 15
4 Durability 13
5 Service life 9
6 Quiet 5
7 Ease of Use 3
8 Ease of Production 0
Figure 37 - Machine Vibration Wants

38
Wants to Metrics Cross-correlation
Want Safety Sanitary Durability Ease of ProEase of CleEase of UseService LifeQuiet score %
Metrics \ % 40.3 14.9 11.9 9.0 7.5 7.5 6.0 3.0 0.0 0.0
Complexity of Device 9 1 1 9 3 3 1 1 525 26
Strength 3 9 1 9 291 14

39
Shape 1 9 93 5
Number of Pieces 1 3 1 9 9 3 3 3 295 14
Product Contamination 3 9 255 12

Figure 38 - Machine Vibration Metrics


Speed 9 1 3 3 402 20
Amount of Material 1 3 9 3 1 186 9
Concepts Concept Descriptions
Benchmark The current volumetric cup filler sold by All-Fill
Change its design to by adding another system, but not to be the
Change U-Plate same as adding a wear plate
Add a Wear Plate Sleeve or pad to reduce banging, but still allow vertical movement
Smoother motor Installed to reduce sudden movements
Frame Design New design to cause vibrations to be damped through the system
Mass Damper System Separate system added on to absorb all vibrations

Figure 39 - Machine Vibration Concept Description

40
Final Wants Rate of
Ranking Importance
1 Low Cost 33.2
2 Safe 20.7
3 Quality 16.6
4 Sanitary 6.9
5 Easy to Change 6.9
6 Reliability 5.5
7 Ease Production 4.6
8 Lightweight 2.8
9 Interchangeable 1.8
10 Durability 0.9
Figure 40 - Cup Design Wants

41
Wants to Metrics Cross-correlation
Want Low Cost Safe Quality Sanitary Easy to Change Reliability Ease Production Lightweight Interchangeable Durability score %
Metrics \ % 33.2 20.7 16.6 6.9 6.9 5.5 4.6 2.8 1.8 0.9
Shape 3 9 3 1 9 1 9 9 9 3 496 11
Accuracy of measurement 3 1 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 200 4
Reliability 1 1 9 1 3 9 9 1 9 3 344 7
Manufacturability 9 3 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 3 442 9
Convenience of use 1 1 3 1 9 1 1 1 9 1 203 4
Stability of object 3 3 3 1 1 3 1 3 1 9 265 6
Productivity 1 1 9 1 3 1 1 1 9 1 261 6

42
Harmful side effects 1 9 1 9 1 1 1 1 1 1 321 7
Number of Parts Changed 9 1 1 1 1 1 9 1 1 1 402 9
Cost 9 1 3 1 1 3 9 1 3 3 452 10
Temperature 1 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 141 3

Figure 41 - Cup Design Metrics


Product Contamination 1 3 1 9 1 1 1 1 1 1 197 4
Ease of Cleanup 1 1 1 9 1 1 1 1 3 1 159 3
Complexity of device 3 9 1 1 9 3 9 1 9 3 451 10
Weight 3 3 1 1 1 1 1 9 1 3 232 5
Strength 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 3 1 9 113 2
Figure 42 - Cup Design Concept Descriptions

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Figure 43 - Cup Design Selections

44