The Automated Sidewall Sander Team: Senior Design Team Works to Improve Efficiency for Denver Company
On May 15 the Ritchie School hosted the annual Senior Design Symposium virtually. All of the senior design teams participated and worked hard to ensure that the community was able to view their project in a similar manner to what would occur in an in-person event.
The Automated Sidewall Sander team was sponsored by Folsom Custom Skis. Folsom is a locally owned company that builds custom skis that are designed, engineered and built specifically for the customer. The company focuses on the individual skier and takes their unique attributes into account as they design and build their very own custom skis in Denver, CO.
The team consists of: Mary Kate Mulhall (BS ME) - Project Manager, Jonathan Lussier (BS ME) - Lead Production/CAD Engineer, Bradley Knowles (BS ME) - Test Engineer/Production Engineer, Kyle Baekey (BS ME) - Lead Test Engineer/Financial Manager.
This team was tasked with finding a way to automate the sidewall sanding process for Folsom Skis. Folsom Skis current method of achieving this is to have an employee use a handheld belt sander, which is very inefficient. The main difficulty in making this process automatic is that the height of the sidewall varies along the length. To solve this problem, an automated design has been developed that has three main components: feeding wheels, a sanding drum, and a counter pressure system. The feeding wheels keep the sidewall moving through the sander at a constant rate and prevent the sidewalls from buckling or being launched out by the sanding drum. There are two powered feed wheels, one on each side of the device. In addition, there is a free spinning wheel above the feed wheels that is spring loaded and will prevent slippage in the system. The sanding drum, 14 inches wide, will be spinning with the flow of sidewalls and will shave enough material off of them to allow bonding during the ski press. The counter pressure, achieved with air pressure and pistons, holds the sanding drum against the sidewalls to ensure a constant sand along the entire sidewall. This device—when complete—will speed up Folsom’s manufacturing process and allow them to produce skis at a much faster rate, which could increase sales and boost the company’s revenue.
Due to the issues related to the coronavirus pandemic, this team was unable to finish their project completely. The next steps for this project will be machining of parts, as well as assembly and testing to complete a working prototype. Their hard work is laying the ground for another team to take over and produce a more effective way to produce skis.