Group 4 - Toro Snowblower 1 - Gate 5
Overall our group followed the given processes in analyzing our product and completing the gates.
The first gate had a lot to do with identifying how five people could successfully work together to generate a single project. For this initial phase, the majority of work was done individually and then compiled. We found that there was not a lot that we necessarily had to do together as a group and that it would be much more beneficial to work alone. That way, we could all work on our own time and focus more of that time on a smaller portion of work. We had short meetings after our Introduction to Mechanical Engineering Practice class to simply make sure that we were all on the same note and answer any questions that one of us had. We collectively decided on positions within the group during our first short meeting. Also during our first meeting, we chose to each visit the shop individually, on our own time, to just check out our product and gather any information from it. Such information as brand, model number, and engine size were discovered and used to successfully find additional data on the snow blower online. All of the information that we found individually at the lab was circulated via email within the group so each of us could search for websites regarding our particular product. From there, all of the websites that were found were also circulated by email so each member had the most sources as possible. We then split up the work load specified on the Gate One project sheet and when finished, sent our completed section to our group leader, Jacob, to post them to our wiki page. Lastly, we all looked over the wiki page to make sure that the entered information was correct and looked good.
For this portion of the project, there was much more group work done as product dissection required a lot of collaborative effort. We all met at the lab, multiple times per week, to ensure an early disassembly with no chance of running into any problems, thus giving us plenty of time to complete our divvied up sections of the gate two assignment sheet. While Maxx, Jeremy, and Chris conducted the majority of the physical dissection, Jacob and Elizabeth documented the entire process. A cell phone with integrated camera and a laptop were the tools used for documentation. After about five trips to the lab, the snow blower was entirely taken apart. Following the complete disassembly of the product, the follow-up requirements were split up between everyone. The majority of the product archaeology portion was typed out while the disassembly process took place to make sure that proper documentation was recorded. Jeremy completed a flow chart that documented the connection of subsystems within the snow blower. After sections were allotted and completed, they were all emailed to Jacob. Jacob then compiled them and added them to the Wiki page accordingly.
As gate three was intended for product analysis, we found it most beneficial to analyze our product and its components during the dissection phase. A portion of this was actually done at the same time as the disassembly process while the remainder of the analysis was done the two weeks following the completion of the dissection. For the analysis that was not completed during the dissection process, we would all return to the lab about four more times to analyze the remaining components. It was very effective to analyze each component while we were taking the product apart because we could see where it was originally located and what function it served. Also, we could see how each component worked together within a subsystem or the system as a whole. All of the parts that we had to evaluate following the disassembly process were analyzed in the order that they were removed and while viewing our dissection process on the Wiki. Chris volunteered to do all of the solid modeling for the chute assembly. We decided, as a group, to model the chute assembly because that was also going to be one of our design revisions. Having a solid model of this subsystem would later on help with the explanation of the design revision at hand. Jeremy typed up the four design revisions after the group as a whole generated a list of potential revisions that we all decided on during the disassembly process. As in all previous gates, Jacob compiled and added the divvied up assignments to our Wiki page.
The product reassembly process was very similar to that of the disassembly process. While Maxx, Jeremy, Jacob, and Chris did the majority or the physical reassembly, Elizabeth recorded each reconnection at a highly descriptive level with the use of her laptop. We would all try to meet in the lab multiple times a week for about two weeks to completely reassembly our snow blower. Meetings after classes often occurred to project meeting times or just go over what each of us were doing for this gate. Communication via email or cell phones often occurred to make sure that everyone was on the same page and on track with their own individual duties outside of lab time. Jeremy and Maxx were put in charge of completing table one of the gate 4 assignment sheet. In trying to figure out how the product was originally assembled, Toro was called, but could not provide detailed information as requested. We were told that Toro would email us further information on the manufacturing process, but never received anything from them. Elizabeth typed out the cause for corrective action, and Chris completed the design revisions at the systems level. The sections were emailed to our group leader and were then compiled and added to the Wiki.
This final section of the overall project focused on the delivery and summary of the entire process involved with our product. Elizabeth created the original Power Point presentation which was revised by the group as a whole multiple times to meet the proper requirements. Three design revisions were the focus of the presentation, while relating them to the four factors was vivid throughout. Elizabeth volunteered to present the information to the class and Chris offered to answer any questions that the audience posed. Aside from the actual presentation, a complete summary of multiple aspects of the entire project was split up among the group to complete. This included an executive summary and overall conclusion of the processes that the group went by for each gate throughout the project. All of the summary work was completed individually and then emailed to the Jacob and Elizabeth to check over, compile, and submit to the Wiki for the completion of the final project.
These processes were essential in completing a proper, in depth product analysis.
There were many key findings that occurred throughout these processes that were essential to our product analysis. Many of these findings were problems with the product that we felt required redesigning; these include an increase in rotor width and height, a gas gauge located on user interface panel, an adjustable handle, a snow de-jammer located on the machine, better coating on rust prone parts, uniform nuts and bolts, and a redesigned chute. We discovered the need for these revisions during our disassembly process in gate two, the analysis process from gate three, and also in the reassembly process in gate four, as stated above. Other key findings include that some parts of the product are not meant to be disassembled such as the wheels, and also the way the snow blower propels itself may need to be redesigned because it is not very efficient. Overall this product has everything a consumer would expect to get out of a low class, stage one snow blower. Most of our revisions to this product can be seen as stage two versions of the snowblower which generally comes with a higher price so it all depends on what the consumer decides they can afford and what their needs are.