team photo

Figure 1
project photo


Team 60

Team Members

Faculty Advisor

Christopher Floto
Madison Mulqueen
Evan Duffy
Vinh Dau

Vito Moreno

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Design and Manufacture of an Automated Parts Washer

The objective of this project was to research, design, and fabricate an automated parts washer for our sponsor Whitcraft. Located in Eastford, Connecticut, Whitcraft is a global leader in formed, machined, and fabricated sheet metal aerospace components and assemblies. Lean manufacturing methodology such as continuous improvement or Kaizen is heavily implemented in their facilities in an effort to constantly develop processes and reduce waste. The influence of this methodology can be seen in our project as the parts processing revolves around single piece flow.

Parts coming off of Whitcraft’s hydroform machine have a layer of viscous water soluble machining oil which must be washed off prior to the next machining operation. Their current process involves a machine that uses an agitation basket to wash parts in batches of 20 parts and a large corn tumbler for drying the wet parts. The newly implemented parts washer will transition this cleaning portion of the production line from batch washing to single piece flow. The machine is designed to be mobile, completely autonomous, and requiring minimal operator input, allowing smooth integration into the preexisting production flow. It operates by using a driven mesh conveyor belt to move the parts through modules to clean, rinse, and dry each part. The modules are complemented by a reclamation system which will filter out oil and soap to recycle water back into the system and reduce resource demand in the production line. A programmable logic controller will be used to control and automate the whole system. Our final machine design optimizes the footprint to 4’x8’ (66% reduction), drastically reduces the part takt time to 3 minutes (94% reduction from batch washing), and maintains a sound production level of less than 80db to comply with OSHA regulations.