Modern day manufacturing is a demanding environment with a constant need for process improvement. As automation becomes more advanced, there are fewer jobs that must be completed by a human. In the case of Stupp Bridge Company, a local manufacturer of steel bridge girders, their workforce is highly skilled, so replacing mundane tasks with automation allow the skilled workers to focus on the difficult jobs.
One such task is grinding a chamfer onto every leading edge of each girder flange, eight edges in total, ranging from 20 to 200 feet long. The purpose of this project was to design an automatic chamfer grinding system. To ensure maximum design potential, an entire semester was spent planning and designing the system.
This has carried over into the current semester, and a number of techniques are being used, the largest of which is 3D computer aided design using Solidworks. Once a design is finalized, and company approval obtained, the building process will began. Concurrent with assembly will be component testing, to confirm that the chosen components will perform as required. By the completion of this semester, a finished device will be given to Stupp Bridge Company to be put into their everyday operations.
Source: Western Kentucky University
Authors: William Johnson