Group 4 - Toro Snowblower 1 - Gate 1
Below is group four's work proposal (including members, tools needed, dis-assembly/assembly plans), management proposal (including points of conflict and conflict resolution) and the product archaeology (including development profile, usage profile, energy analysis, complexity profile, material guide, user interaction, and product alternatives) of a Toro snow blower. The objective of this gate is to lay out our plan for this project, along with our goals, and what we plan to learn and develop as this project progresses. The below information offers a brief overview into the product we will study more in depth in later gates.
Request for Proposal
|Member Name||Primary Role||Strengths and Weaknesses|
Solid Modeling Specialist
- The Toro snow blower was inspected by the Technical Experts to generate a step-by-step process which is necessary to most effectively disassemble this product. The order of steps and tools necessary for each step are as follows:
- Remove snow chute (13 mm socket wrench).
- Disassemble the handle as much as possible (13 mm and 10 mm socket wrench).
- Remove both metal side-guards (3/8 inch, 14 mm, and 12 mm socket wrenches).
- Remove user-interface panel (8 mm socket wrench).
- Remove gas tank cap.
- Remove the red plastic body (large Philips-head screwdriver).
- Remove blades (10 mm wrench).
- Remove wheels (tools unknown at this point of the process).
- Disassemble the rest of the internal components including the engine and pulley system (tools unknown at this point of the process)
- Time taken to remove all of the visible components (steps 1-8) is estimated to be around one hour.
- Documentation and dissection will be performed simultaneously.
- Documentation will include taking before and after photographs of each individual part being removed and record notes for each individual removal.
Assembly will be the reverse of disassembly. Once we begin dissecting our snow blower, we will have a better idea of how to put it back together, including what tools and methods will be needed.
From an external view, we cannot see any visible fasteners which hold the wheels to the axle. We may need a puller, but that has yet to be confirmed.
List of Tools Required
- Socket Wrench
- 8 mm
- 10 mm
- 12 mm
- 13 mm
- 14 mm
- 3/8 inch
- 10 mm wrench
- Large Philips-head screwdriver
Point of Contact
Group 4 will meet approximately once per week after MAE277 in Knox 104 for approximately 10 minutes to discuss lab times that we will attend and upcoming assignments that need to be completed. All members are expected to attend these meetings unless they have a valid and unavoidable reason for missing them.
Group 4 plans on using subgroups to perform different actions based on the skills of the different individuals in the group. Those members with skills necessary will be permanent members of the subgroup but any other member may join in as interest and time allows. Subgroups will meet as necessary at a time convenient to all subgroup members and when the lab is available for use.
|Subgroup||Responsibility of Subgroup||Members|
|Assembly/Disassembly||Take apart and then reassemble the snowblower.||
|Documentation||Take pictures and record steps of the assembly and disassembly.||
|Solid Modeling||Solid model the components for Gate 3.||
|Wiki||Format and post the groups work to the wiki.||
All work is to be sent to the Project Manager at least two days before the gate is due. Any violations of this policy will be dealt with according to the late work policy.
Any conflicts should be brought to the attention of the Project Manager immediately. The Project Manager may decide to issue a written warning to the offending member(s) and/or e-mail the professor if the situation warrants or due to multiple subsequent warnings.
Late work will be dealt with similarly to conflicts. The first warning will allow for a one day extension at the discretion of the Project Manager. If the work is not submitted by the end of the one day extension, or in the result of more than one warning for late work, the professor will be e-mailed and the group may decide to leave this individuals name off of the gate.
Arthur Sicard invented the first snowblower in 1925 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It was known as the “Sicard Snow Remover Snowblower,” and has since been modified into the more compact version that we know today . It is intended to be used to clear away snow and to make it easier for the consumer to carry on with their everyday lifestyle even when the weather turns bad. The Toro CCR 2400 GTS that we are studying is one such modification. The Toro CCR 2400 was first manufactured in 1997, with numerous variations of the CCR 2400 from 1997 to 1999. The Toro CCR 2400 GTS that our group has, model number 38414, was manufactured from 1998-1999 .
One key concern during this time period was the El Niño occurring during 1997-1998. It is the strongest El Niño on record thus far . It led to milder winters in the northern states, and cooler, wetter conditions for southern states . Therefore, we conclude that the demand for snowblowers nationally declined due to the milder winter conditions. Another key concern of the time period between 1997-1999 was the economy. The Asian economy was deepening into a recession mainly due to the deterioration of Japan’s economy . The world output in 1997 declined 4.1% . By 1999, the world economy had hit its lowest point with recovery occurring during the next few years . This international economic decline, leads us to conclude that the demand for snowblowers declined internationally because snowblowers are not a necessity item, they are more a luxury item. With a poor economy, luxury items are not purchased as much as necessity items (such as food, clothing,etc.). Since the United States was fairly stable during this time period , the sales of snowblowers domestically, based off of economic concerns alone, were not affected because the stable economy still allotted people extra money to spend on luxury goods.
This product was intended to be sold in the United States and Canada, and was also distributed worldwide for retail in over 100 additional distributing centers . From the European continent to the far east of Asia and the Middle East to South America, this product and other Toro products are sold .
The Toro snow blower’s intended use is to transport snow from unwanted areas to a location where build up of snow does not have a significant negative impact. Its purpose is to provide the user with a safe environment for walking or other means of transportation. It is intended to remove as much snow as possible from a variety of surfaces, thus making them safe and easy to travel upon.
This particular product is both for home and professional use. Around the house, the Toro snow blower is mainly used to rid driveways and walkways of potentially hazardous snow. The chief reason for this is to create walking paths to make vehicles and mailboxes comfortably accessible. In a professional context, many businesses in areas that experience snowfall have to utilize this device in order to clear the way for consumers. If a store’s walkway or parking lot is covered with snow the potential customers are not going to be happy treading through the snowfall in order to just get in the store. Also, there are companies that specialize in snow removal during the winter months and need products like the Toro snow blower to effectively and efficiently perform their jobs.
The Toro snow blower performs the job of removing snow from unwanted vicinities. It does this by rapidly scooping up the snow and projecting it through the air to an area that is scarcely utilized for walking or other activities. Its job is to present a snow-free surface that is comfortably usable by whoever may need to walk on it. Safety and ease in walking is the overall outcome that the Toro snow blower must provide whether it be at home or within a professional setting.
The Toro snow blower uses electrical and human energy to start the engine. The user connects an extension cord to the snow blower and then presses a button which uses the current from the house to run a starter motor. This starter motor converts the current into mechanical energy which turns the flywheel and gets the pistons in the engine to move allowing for ignition in the cylinders and the engine to run on its own . The engine runs on a gasoline and oil mixture that is poured into the fuel tank by the user and travels through the fuel lines to the combustion chamber. The engine uses chemical energy provided by the combustion of the gasoline and oil mixture. The chemical energy from the combustion is converted into mechanical energy by moving the piston. The moving piston then causes a conversion to rotational energy by spinning the crankshaft.
The rotational energy that the engine produces is used to spin the rotor blades, which will force snow up and out of the chute and allow the snow blower to self propel .
There are several components used in the Toro snow blower and they are listed in the table below. These components were either visible or they are listed as educated guesses to what is inside the machine.
|Number||Small Gas Engine||Number||User Interface Panel|
|1||Fan (s)||19||Key Ignition (m)|
|2||Flywheel (m)||20||Manual Starter (m)|
|3||Crankshaft (s)||21||Electric Starter (c)|
|4||Piston (m)||22||Primer (m)|
|5||Spark Plug (m)||23||Choke (m)|
|7||Screws (s)||Other Parts|
|8||Washers (s)||24||Shroud/Body (s)|
|9||Bolts (s)||25||Side Plates (s)|
|10||Choke (m)||26||Wheels (s)|
|11||Throttle (m)||27||Axle (s)|
|12||Muffler (c)||28||Chute (s)|
|13||Clutch (m)||29||Handle (s)|
|14||Carburetor (m)||30||Rotor Drive (m)|
|15||Fuel Line (s)||31||Rotor Housing (s)|
|16||Exhaust Pipe (s)||32||Rotor (m)|
|17||Filter (s)||33||Blades (m)|
|18||Fuel Tank (s)|
Complexity rated on each component by s, m, or c. Definitions below.
Complexity Scale for Components
Simple, (s): A simple component consists of a component with trivial functions, little detail in design (including, but not limited to components geometry, features, etc.), and common material use.
Moderate, (m): A moderately complex component consists of a component with one or more moderate functions in the scheme of the function of the snowblower, moderate detail in design (including, but not limited to components geometry, features, etc.), and limited special component characteristics. A component is also moderate if it has complex functions or multiple functions, but has a simple part design. If the part has a complex design, but a simple function, it is also considered moderate.
Complex, (c): A complex component consists of a component with one or more important functions to the function of the snowblower, detailed design, special characteristics, and material specialties.
For the most part the individual components are not entirely complex. The shroud is made of a molded plastic as is the user interface panel, the manual starter handle, the key ignition, fuel cap and the snow chute. The tires and blades are made out of rubber as is the primer bulb. Most other components are made of metal including the engine components the side panels the axle and all of the screws, washers, nuts, and bolts that hold everything together. All of these components are, by themselves, relatively simple but once put together to form greater components such as the engine itself then they become much more complex.
Complexity Scale for Interactions
Simple: A simple interaction consists of a single physical interaction between two components to perform a single function.
Complex: A complex interaction consists of one or more physical, electrical, chemical, etc. Interactions between two or more components in which require specific component detail for the interaction(s) to work and perform the desired function(s). This interaction may help to perform several functions (for example, the inner workings of the muffler interacting with the sound and exhaust from the engine).
The most complex interaction of components is within the engine. The small gas engine in the snow blower most likely works the same as any other small gas engine; it has many individual systems that work together to produce power in the form of rotational energy using gasoline as fuel. Other than the engine, the other main component interactions are that of the interaction between the rotor drive on the handle and the rotor, and the interaction between the rotor and the chute. When the user pulls back on the rotor drive, which is connected to the handle, it uses power generated from the engine to rotate the rubber blades on the rotor. The user then moves the snow blower into the snow they are trying to remove and the spinning blades pick up the snow and launch it through the chute in which is in a fixed position that is chosen by the user.
The snow blower is made up of three main materials which make up most of the parts, metal, plastic and rubber. The majority of the snow blower housing, along with the chute, wheel centers, gas tank, caps and handles are all made out of hard plastic. The exact properties of the plastic vary from component to component. Steel screws, nuts, bolts and fasteners are used to hold all the components together. The engine, power transfer system will most likely be made of metal. Metal is also used for the auger and snow blower handle. To provide traction, a rigid rubber is used for the solid tires. Other types of rubber are most likely used in the fuel system, grommets and o-rings.
User Interaction Profile
The user interfaces with the product in several ways. First the user can manually start the snow blower by pulling back on the manual start handle to start the engine. The user can also plug the snow blower into an outlet and hit the electric start button to start the engine. The user also interacts with the product by moving the chute into a fixed position to direct the snow flow. Another way the user interacts with the product is the pull the rotor drive on the handle to send power from the engine to the rotor causing the rotation of the blades. Lastly, the user interfaces with the product by holding on to the handle with the rotor drive held in and pushing and turning the snow blower to remove unwanted snow from a specific area.
The interfaces are very intuitive. All of the components that are needed for product function are clearly labeled and are similar in placement and functionality to those of other similar machines such as lawn mowers and other snow blowers. Anyone who has used snow blower before or anyone who has used a lawn mower or similar small gas engine powered product will have no problem picking up on the interface.
The product is quite easy to use; the user will first have to determine how to position the chute depending on where they wish the snow blower to discharge the snow. Next, the user has to mix the gasoline and oil mixture and pour the fuel in the tank before staring the engine using either the manual or electric start. Lastly, the user must hold in the rotor drive to start the blade rotation and then push the snow blower through the area where they want to remove the snow.
The most regular maintenance required is refueling the snow blower. Other maintenance required is the changing of rotor blades, and possibly cleaning the machine to ensure any water or salt picked up does not cause rust or other deterioration. Most maintenance is fairly simple as refueling just requires taking off the fuel tank cap and pouring the fuel in. The difficult part in the refueling process is ensuring you have the right gas to oil ratio mixed. The rotor blades are easily changed as they are only connected by nuts and bolts. For the most part the whole machine can be disassembled with a Phillips head screw driver and various sizes of wrenches and or socket wrenches, therefore, most maintenance to any internals should be quite simple given the user has the appropriate tools and parts.
|Snow Shovel||The most inexpensive alternative is a simple push shovel. These shovels come in a variety of designs and generally cost under fifty dollars which is well below the cost of a snow blower. However, a shovel requires a larger amount of physical effort from the user and a longer amount of time to clear the same area of snow as a snow blower .|
|Plow||This alternative is an attachable plow for an ATV or ride on mower. This plow allows an individual to clear snow from the same confined spaces as the snow blower and requires less user effort than a snow blower. This device would also do the job faster than a snow blower could. If an individual already owns an ATV or ride on mower, an attachable plow system is in a similar price range as the snowblower .|
|Electric Snow Melt System||This alternative is an electric snow melt system. This system is comprised of a network of cables underneath a surface that heats up and melts the snow as it falls on the surface. These systems on average cost $4,000 to install plus the cost of electricity to run them. These systems are difficult to repair and have to be installed with the driveway. They do not require any user effort besides flipping a switch to turn on the current  .|
|Other Options||Some other snow removal options that are much more expensive and designed for larger scale scenarios include large plows, blowers and jet engines mounted on trucks and pay loaders which push, throw and melt the snow . These options can clear a large amount of snow quickly and require little user effort. However, these options are very expensive when compared to a snowblower and cannot clear snow from tight quarters.|
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