Due to a Chinese factory’s pressing need to increase the speed of paperclip packaging and decrease operating costs, our team was assigned to design a machine that would fold boxes and load them with paperclips.
With very few preexisting designs for automated packaging/loading devices, we essentially had to come up with a design from scratch. To make our machine as simple as possible, we decided to make it primarily linkage based.
Using both the graphical and analytical methods for linkage synthesis and with the aid of computer aided design software such as Pro/ENGINEER, we were able to determine the details of our linkages. Our results were encouraging, although the speed of machine must increase in order to compete with the current method of packaging/loading.
We found this process should be automated because it is a series of repeated actions and motions. If our work is continued and our machine is made more efficient, this could be a breakthrough for packaging/loading because it doesn’t require the aid of a human at any point during the packaging phase and because of its relatively small size.
Source: Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Authors: Nathan Spiegel | Sean Ivey