Ontario Drive & Gear (ODG) is a Canadian manufacturing company specializing in manufacturing high precision gears and couplings as well as assembly of various low volume transmission components. ODG uses manufacturing automation methods for many mid quantity gear cutting operations to increase production efficiency. To do this, automation pucks are used to transport gears in and out of machines which is depicted in Figure 1. The puck is a specially-shaped plastic tray that fits onto the gear cutting machine’s conveyor belt and it provides a stable fixture on which the gear rests. The current pucks are machine and part-specific and must be changed for each different part that is manufactured. This means that new pucks must be made for each different size of gear product and all the pucks on the conveyor belt must be replaced. This process is very time consuming and costly. The company is looking for a new automation puck system that can cut down on cost and retooling time.
Figure 1 - Gear cutting automation process
This case study is intended to teach students application of engineering design concepts with a real-life engineering problem. The primary teaching objective of this case study is to illustrate the engineering design process to form a conceptual design based on the given information.