This paper presents a product design journey for a group of undergraduate sophomore university students as part of their Geometrical Modeling for Mechanical Design course. The course project aimed to help students to use basic process of engineering design, use a computer aided design (CAD) tool to model their product, engineering analysis tools to evaluate their design, and understand the need for prototyping.
The students started their journey with ideas tournament to select an outstanding idea which would be of a great market value. After intensive consultation with the course instructor and implementing a stringent selection criterion, students chose to design a novel tool changer that incorporates two different grippers with varying performance specifications. The students followed a systematic approach that got them involved in doing very thorough literature review in which they classified most of the grippers and tool changers available in the market. They also sensed how their product could be demanded in industrial applications where the utilization of a single gripper would demonstrate inconvenience. Such industrial sectors would be surgical operations where the operator would require a gripper to hold the flesh and another for cutting or stitching or any other surgical tasks, another application would be welding where a gripper is required to hold the metallic parts and another for performing the welding task. The utilization of two grippers with various designs would also expands the range of tasks that could be accomplished, for instance, a lot of manufacturing facilities requires performing internal and external gripping operations as is the case in car manufacturing, the tool Cha design introduced in this paper would facilitate such tasks by enabling the capability of simultaneous utilization of an internal and an external gripper. This design will also be beneficial in the current global pandemic where human interaction would be a genuine menace.
The systematic approach helped the students also to establish target specifications for their product, decompose the product into different subsystems and explore the whole design space of each subsystem. All concept solutions (fragments) of all subsystems were then compiled in a combination table to select the product final concept and in turn finalize product specifications.
After selecting the preferred combination of concept solutions, a CAD model was established to run the necessary simulations prior to realizing it into a tangible product through either additive manufacturing (3d printing) or subtractive manufacturing (milling, turning, or EDM).
Realizing that many aspects of the product design journey cannot be covered in this course, the students were eager to see how other upcoming courses would help in letting them to carry out more sophisticated tasks in the product design process.