Group 5 - Kawasaki Compressor 2 Gate 1
Gantt Chart for Group 5
The following entails our work proposal for Gate 1. We begin by inspecting the product to gain a general idea of the procedure for disassembly and assembly, and the tools required to do so. First, we list the tools that we believe will be necessary for dissection.
• 12 mm/17 mm sockets
• Phillips head screwdriver
• Monkey wrench (range up to approx. 20 mm--an estimate based on thorough inspection of compressor's exterior)
• 4 mm hex key
This may seem like a simple list, however, it must be noted that the outer structure of our compressor is simply composed, reinforced mostly by bolts of various sizes, Phillips head screws, and zipties that secure and bundle electric wiring. Other connections are mostly reinforced by welding, which cannot be taken apart or undone in a practical matter. Note that upon initial inspection, we do not have the luxury of understanding exactly what types of parts are inside, a point that is addressed in the disassembly plan. This is largely a consequence of the very limited support on this particular product. Please refer to the Product Development Profile for further discussion on this matter.
Before we proceed with the disassembly plan, please note that we assume that all fluids have been drained in the compressor. At this point, there is no way for us to determine whether or not this is actually true, since we are not allowed to take apart any part of the product. If our assumption is wrong, we will take the appropriate provisions at the time to ensure that dissection will proceed safely.
1. Remove hard plastic cover on top
2. Separate motor housing (and all attached parts on top of the air storage tank) from tank
- a. Remove all hoses attached to air storage tank
- b. Disconnect regulator
3. Detach handlebar, stoppers, and wheels from air storage tank
4. Remove all outer appendages from the motor housing (e.g. fan blades, outside electrical wiring, etc)
5. Remove all connections between electric motor housing and piston housing, such as the four structural connecting rods/bolts (surrounding the electric motor and fan housing).
6. Detach all parts above the piston sleeve from the larger piston housing
7. We now have three separate entities that are ready for individual dissection: the electric motor housing, the piston housing, and the regulator. These are the most intricate groups of parts in our air compressor. Since we do not have view of these individual groups of parts, it is hard to anticipate what further specific disassembly will entail. We will have a better idea of the specifics once we reach this point.
For our assembly plan, we will generally reassemble the product in the reserve order in which we disassemble it. Since Step 7 is somewhat nebulous, it does not make sense to provide a specific reassembly plan for that step in particular. From there on out, we follow steps 1 though 6 in reverse for an appropriate guide for how to reassemble the product. For an idea of how much time will be allotted for disassembly and assembly, refer to the Gantt Chart.
Specific challenges that we have identified for our disassembly and assembly include the piston housing, and the issue of the separation of the electric motor housing and the piston housing. For the piston housing, we do not have much insight about parts inside and their individual and collective intricacies. As for the process involved in separating the electric motor housing and the piston housing, we are able to see outer connections between the two entities (such as the four structural connecting rods/bolts), but we do not know how many internal connections exist between them, and how complex they are. Because these are vital parts to the functionality of our compressor, we anticipate dissection and reassembly for these parts to be relatively more involved than other groups of parts.
As a group, we have identified individual strengths which we hope to leverage to maximize our efficiency and productivity in the steps needed to complete each individual gate of this project. We also identified weaknesses—those that are general, and those that must be overcome to complete the project. Please refer to the management proposal to see how strengths were considered in assigning group roles. To start off, we identified that Max has the most experience in deconstructing parts and machines, which led to the natural choice of making him our “Chief Deconstructor.” We also noted that Sourobh has prior experience in managing teams and projects, Donald has some experience with solid modeling, and that Tara took a class on some Web programming in high school. Donovan is a detail-oriented worker, and so he would most likely be best at editing our work as a group. Among our collective weaknesses, we do not have a group member with extensive experience solid modeling. Although Donald acquired Solid Works over the summer to do some research, he does not have extensive knowledge of the program, and so he, as our “Solid Modeler,” will have to develop some more skill and experience with it and solid modeling in general. Also, other than Tara’s very basic class in high school, none of us have any experience with Web programming or programming in general. Therefore, we will all have to learn how to use WikiMedia to upload our assignments.
For a summary of our group attributes discussed above, along with additional individual strengths and weaknesses, please refer to the table below.
|Sourobh Ghosh||- Prior experience in leadership roles
- Good public speaker
|- Inexperienced in web design |
- Limited prior experience in dissections
|Tara Harten||- Previous experience in web design
- Takes clear, precise, notes
|- Inexperienced in dissections|
- Limited experience in solid modeling
|Donald Pangrazio||- Some experience with solid modeling
- High attention to detail
|- Little prior web design experience |
- Weak time management skills
|Donovan Southwell||- Detail-oriented, meticulous worker
- Strong research and editing skills
|- Not a strong public speaker |
- Lack of patience for tedious work
|Maxwell Urban||- Experience with tools and dissections
- Highly motivated to complete work
|- No experience in web design |
- Illegible hand writing
Our group aims to set forth accomplishing goals on a gate to gate basis, completing one gate’s goal before moving to the next gate with the exception of allotting more time to those future goals that warrant extra attention. We will follow the Gantt chart for basic guidance while being aware of time constraints. Our Project Manager, Sourobh Ghosh, (who can be contacted at email@example.com) will also be our team’s point of contact. Team meetings will preferably be semi-weekly in the evening (some time after 5 P.M.), on either Capen third floor or in Furnas 621 depending on that week’s tasks. All are expected to attend team meetings. Please refer to the Gantt chart for further detail on how we intend to alott time within our project gate deadlines to meet all project requirements effectively.
Bearing in mind of our individual strengths and weaknesses, we have devised following group roles:
- Documentarian (Tara Harten) – takes pictures, documents deconstruction of product, takes thorough notes
- Chief Deconstructor (Maxwell Urban) – thoughtfully dissects product, is cognizant of the order of dissection, leads reconstruction effort
- Project Manager (Sourobh Ghosh) – coordinates dates and meeting times, communicates with instructor, moderates team activity
- Wikitech/Solid Modeling Expert (Donald Pangrazio) – digitally compiles data, pictures, and technical reports into a useable and relevant format; also produces solid modeling
- Chief Report Editor (Donovan Southwell) – edits and oversees writing of reports, transcription of notes, and annotation of pictures
As for conflict resolution, we have agreed upon a three tier disciplinary process for individuals who have not been carrying their own weight. First, if a majority of group members find that a particular individual is falling behind in their duties, then said majority will confront the individual and give them an opportunity to explain their actions (or lack thereof) and redeem themselves. At this time the said majority may devise a new temporary plan for how immediate tasks are to be completed. If a second offense occurs, then the group majority will notify the individual that they have informed the instructor of his/her shortcomings via e-mail. If a third should occur, the remaining members of the group will schedule to meet with the instructor in person to discuss appropriate disciplinary action.
Preparation and Initial Assessment
Unfortunately, there is no longer any support information on the Internet for our product, the Kawasaki air compressor. Our group was not provided with a product manual, or any product information whatsoever, so finding any precise information on our product proved to be quite difficult. The compressor lacks any serial or product number, and all of its labels have been removed, so we were left to make observations in order to narrow-down the time period in which it was produced. We had taken the time to call Kawasaki to inquire about our compressor, which eventually led to us being put in contact with a corporate partner, AllTrade, which may have been responsible for the design of our compressor. Unfortunately, without any real identification number on the compressor, the best we were able to do was send a picture of our compressor to a representative of the company in hope that she could recognize it or refer us to someone who was capable of doing so (since it presumably is no longer in production). This endeavor turned out to be an unsuccessful one, so we were left to estimating the origins of our air compressor.
When beginning our initial assessment, we first noticed the compressor has an electric engine, which helped to narrow down the time period in which the compressor was likely designed and produced. The desire to use electric power instead of gasoline increased substantially after the oil crises of the 1970s, so we believe that the compressor was produced sometime after this decade. The reason for this movement from gas to electric was because the price of gasoline skyrocketed immediately following the Shah of Iran's escape from his country. This was primarily due to Ayatollah Khomeini, who seized power of Iran and began significantly cutting back the amount of oil that the country was exporting. This drove the price of crude oil per barrel from $15.85 to $39.50, forcing many companies to find alternatives for gas-powered products, such as substituting an electrically powered engine for a compressor (Mouawad). Our estimate that our compressor was produced sometime in the last 40 years is also supported by the fact that gas prices have been steadily increasing over the years, so the desire to use less gasoline has only been increasing.
We further narrowed down the compressor's likely time of production after examining its condition. We found it to be in good condition and relatively new, so we estimated that it was manufactured in the past ten years. Although we were not able to find our product on any of the Kawasaki websites or those of their corporate partners, we were fortunately able to make a visual match to an air compressor found via Google images search. This resource allowed us to confirm the storage capacity and horsepower of our compressor. After following the provided link, we were brought to an ad-based site with a sale listed for the compressor. The original posting date of the sale is listed as August 4, 2010, and the product appeared to be in practically new condition at the time. We also came upon a forum post of a man asking for shopping advice. In said post, he states that he saw an 8 gallon, 3.0 horsepower Kawasaki compressor for sale at a Costco for $200 dollars. His post was dated November 27, 2009, so although we were unable to find our product online or even by calling Kawasaki and a corporate partner of theirs, we think that is a fair estimate that the product was being produced up until the past few years, given that we found two recent dates regarding the sale of the product.
Trying to answer which countries or regions this product is intended to be sold seems complex, given the multinational status of Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. However, we get clues from the compressor’s method of power input. Our compressor has a Type B NEMA 5 plug, indicating that it is intended to be used in North American markets. Plugs and outlets have different designs across the world, and local power supplies are rated differently, as well. Although we do not have concrete proof that this air compressor has the capability to operate at different voltages (e.g. 240V, a common rating for much of Europe and Asia), the plugs give us a clue of the intended region where this product is to be sold and used. Also, a more obvious hint was revealed once we located a picture of the compressor online with the label still intact. Its units of measure were both in U.S. customary (gallons and horsepower), so it is very likely that the product was intended for U.S. markets specifically.
The intended impact of this product is to save the customer time and money. First off, running an electrically-powered compressor is more cost efficient than paying to fuel a gas-powered one. This was probably the main intended impact when the product was first designed with an electric engine in the 1980s. The compressor can also save a homeowner money because it lessens the need of hiring painting or roofing crews to work on his/her house. The paint-spray gun and nail gun make one person as, if not more, efficient as an entire crew using brushes or hammers. The compressor is even more attractive to people who do roofing or painting as their job. They can work more efficiently, get more customers, and hire outside help less often using tools such as the paint-spray gun and nail gun.
The intended use of the Kawasaki compressor is to convert electrical power into kinetic energy by pressurizing and compressing air via a piston-type positive displacement method and then releasing that air in relatively short bursts in order to power a variety of pneumatic tools. Given its small power rating and tank capacity, the compressor is best utilized for personal home use but is potentially capable of being used for very small professional applications. This product has the possibility of fulfilling numerous tasks due to the plethora of compatible attachments available. It comes supplied with nozzles, needles and valve attachments for redirecting pressurized air or inflating things such as tires. Other tools, along with their implied uses, include a nail and staple gun, a gun for spraying paint or finish, and a pneumatic drill. This product is versatile as many more compatible attachments exist than are supplied with the product by the manufacturer, and it is therefore capable of much more than is stated here.
Note: to perform this energy analysis, we assume that we have a simple piston compressor. There are other types of compressors, including rotary or screw compressors and centrifugal compressors, but if this was to be another type of compressor, it would most likely be a rotary or screw compressor (due to its small-scale applications). However, based on our initial inspection (when dissection is not allowed), we have reason to believe from observation of the parts that we are able to witness without dissection that it is a piston compressor.
For our Kawasaki Air Compressor, the main types of energy used are human, electric, and mechanical. In order to produce its product (compressed air), the compressor takes electric energy provided by a standard wall outlet, and, with the assistance of an electric motor, converts that electric energy to the mechanical energy needed for the product. Of course, none of this would happen without the input of some human energy, which is needed to plug in the compressor and to switch it on for operation.
As mentioned above, energy (other than the human factor required to activate the system) is imported into the system via a standard wall outlet. The wall outlet provides electrical energy in the form of current, which is sent to the electric motor. The motor, leveraging magnetism, converts this electric energy to kinetic energy, which is embodied by a rotating crankshaft. This rotating crankshaft then raises and lowers the piston, which is the key component that creates pressurized air. As the newly pressurized air leaves the piston, it is stored in the air storage tank until the desired air pressure is obtained, building up potential energy. Finally, when the desired pressure is reached, the motor turns off, and the air storage tank outputs the air to one’s desired tool or appliance, converting the potential energy of the air in the tank to the kinetic energy of moving air used to power the tool or appliance.
Other energy conversions not mentioned during this aforementioned process occur as well. A substantial amount of the original input power is lost in the form of heat and sound due to friction. Because of the excessive heat generated, a fan is placed in the motor-piston housing to cool down these inner components. The fan also uses an electric motor that derives its power from the wall outlet, and it converts this electric energy to kinetic energy in the form of moving air that is intended to provide this cooling effect. It should be noted that the fan itself incurs power losses to heat and sound just like the rest of the compressor does.
A search for the meaning of “complexity” leads one to the common definition of “the state or condition of being intricate or having many elements in a complicated arrangement.” This definition does well to describe the nature of the inner workings of a machine such as an air compressor. It is a difficult task pre-dissection to estimate the number of components used in the compressor as little can be seen without removing those pieces that intentionally cover the actual functioning parts. The workings of the individual parts known to comprise the compressor are not in themselves too complex. On a large scale, they consist of a tank, pressure regulator, two gauges, an electric motor, a fan, a piston in a cylinder and crankcase. With a little knowledge or research, the fundamental workings of each of these components is easily known (perhaps the most complex individual part in this list is the electric motor which leverages the properties of electromagnetism to convert the electric input to the kinetic output of a rotating shaft--common knowledge to all engineering undergrads). It is only when put in a system, such as an air compressor, that the complexity of the combination of these parts, acting codependent of each other, is realized. The air is contained in, and flows through, the tank, is pressurized by the piston, which is driven by the electric motor and cooled by the fan. This pressure is regulated by a small electronic device. Though more will be revealed with dissection (especially after deconstruction of the motor and piston housings), the complexity and thoughtful engineering that went into this product is obvious.
Materials that are clearly visible of the compressor are the metal alloy body, which also flows into the handle bar. This metal is hard and durable and most likely cast iron. The two wheels are covered with rubber for traction, but the spokes are made of hard plastic to support the weight of the compressor. On the other side, there are two rubber stoppers that keep the compressor in place when it is on. Another visible material is the hard but malleable plastic, covering of some electrical wires, the fan, and the compressor chamber which have a rubber casing to protect the wires. There are two pressure gauges that are made out of a firm plastic for the body and have a clear plastic covering the readings. Since our compressor runs on electricity it has a power cord. This cord is made of a synthetic rubber to insulate the wires within it. There are multiple sizes of screws and bolts in the compressor keeping certain components in place. The screws and bolts are most likely made of metal alloys of lead and iron. The check value is made out of a brass alloy. The polyurethane covering the hose also has a brass component at the tip. The pressure control switch cover is made of a hard plastic.
The parts that are not in plain sight consist of a piston, crankshaft, a connecting rod, a cylinder a fan, and an air filter. These are all made of some type of metal alloy that is strong and durable and the thicknesses of each component vary. The air filter is most likely made out of polyester.
User Interaction Profile
The user interfaces with the product by first preparing the compressor for use. Before the product can be utilized, the oil pressure must be checked to ensure the internal parts are well lubricated for best performance. The unit then needs to be plugged into a 110 volt electrical outlet and the compressor switch turned to on. Also the drain valve needs to be closed so that pressure can begin to build in the tank. The user can then pick which attachment to connect and begin. After use the system should be bleed of all air in both the tank and the hose.
The interfaces are fairly simple but very important for proper use of the product. The gauges, which are needed to ensure the maximum pressure in the tank is not exceeded, are easy to understand and placed at the front of the tank. Once the unit is activated the pressure builds and is stored in the tank. When needed, the air is propelled threw the hose by pulling the trigger of the chosen attachment. The last aspect of the interface is the drain valve, which when activated relieves the tank of any built up pressure. All of the interfaces are easy to use with no prior knowledge being needed to operate this machine.
This product is very easy to use. Once the compressor is activated it builds pressure in the tank and the gauges display how much pressure has built up. The user can then attach a hose with a chosen attachment for a wide variety of tasks. Some of the available attachments include blo-gun, nail gun, sandblaster, air stapler, air sander, caulking gun, Air ratchet wrench, Air hammer/chisel, air drill, impact wrench , and spray gun. When use of the product is complete the tank and hose need to bleed of any excess pressure and then the unit is ready to be stored.
The simplicity of this product allows for very little maintenance. After multiple uses the oil pressure may become low. In which case the compressor requires more to operate efficiently. This can easily be added to the front of the compressor where the oil gauge is located.
Product Alternative Profile
Our product, the Kawasaki air compressor, is more of a convenience product than a necessity. In many cases, it reduces the need for as much manual labor to complete tasks, such as roofing and painting. Therefore, our product could essentially be replaced by hammers, paint brushes, and hiring more manual labor. These options would be reasonable alternatives to our product if the job at hand is not very demanding. However, the advantage of the air compressor when compared to these manual tools is that its attachments require less effort to do the same task and are superior in terms of time efficiency, making the product ideal for larger home projects. These advantages also lead to a decrease in the need to hire other labor, which proposes an economic benefit. One potential disadvantage to the air compressor is that it needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet; however, because of the length of extension cords and air hoses, the significance of this disadvantage is substantially decreased. Also, the pneumatic drill attachment could be replaced by a standard power drill, unless a higher level of torque was required, in which case a standard drill may not be able to suffice.
Due to the problem that we had in locating information on our product, we are not sure of its exact cost. However, both of the two posts that we found about the sale of our product mentioned that it retailed at about $200 and included with it a hose, nail gun, paint-spray gun, ratchet, plus additional accessories. Similar products include a PORTER CABLE 6 Gallon Compressor and the Husky 13 Gallon Compressor Kit. The PORTER CABLE compressor sacrifices the extra storage space for a savings of $31 when compared to our product, but only has a 0.8 HP engine and is also missing some of the accessories such as the paint-spray gun. This alternative is sensible if the user has no need for paint-spray gun, and doesn't plan on using the compressor for jobs demanding large amounts of air. For $29 more than the Kawasaki compressor, the Husky compressor provides a 5.0 HP engine and five more gallons of storage, but is also missing the paint-spray gun in its kit offer. Once again, this alternative is reasonable if the user does not have a use for a paint-spray gun, but contrary to the PORTER CABLE compressor, this product would sustain a larger demand for air than our product. Another comparable product is the EMAX Portable Gas Powered Jobsite Air Compressor. This product does have the portability advantage because it is gas-powered, but it costs a hefty $999. This product also justifies its more expensive cost by being equipped with a 6.5 HP engine and a 10 gallon storage tank. This product comes with no attachments however (Home Depot). A user might be interested in a product such as this if they are doing outdoor work (emissions from the gas engine require that the product is used outdoors) in locations where electricity is not readily available.
For product alternatives to the Kawasaki compressor, please refer to the table below.
|Picture and Name||Price||Specs||Details|
|$200||- 8 gallon tank
- 3.0 HP engine
|- Electric motor |
- Includes hose, nail gun, paint-spray gun, drill, ratchet
|$169||- 6 gallon tank
- 0.8 HP engine
|- Electric motor |
- Includes hose, nail gun
|$229||- 13 gallon tank
- 5.0 HP engine
|- Electric motor |
- Includes hose, nail gun, drill, ratchet set
|$999||- 10 gallon tank
- 6.5 HP engine
|- Gas powered engine |
- No included attachments
"Home Improvement Made Easy with New Lower Prices | Improve & Repair with The Home
- Depot." Home Depot. N.p., 01 Oct 2010. Web. 1 Oct 2010.
Mouawad, Jad. "Oil Prices Pass Record Set in ’80s, but Then Recede" New York Times. N.p., 03 Mar
- 2008. Web. 1 Oct 2010.
"Kawasaki 8 Gallon Air Compressor with Nailer and Muffle South East, Calgary." UsedCalgary.
- N.p., 01 Oct 2010. Web. 1 Oct 2010.
"Air compressor advice needed - RedFlagDeals.com Forums." RedFlagDeals. N.p., 01 Oct 2010.
- Web. 1 Oct 2010.
Back to "Main Page"