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Precision Castparts Corp. (PCC) is a global manufacturer of multifaceted products and metal components that serves varied aerospace and general industrial needs. PCC is focused on producing investment casting for power generation and aerospace customers. Filtration is a key requirement for any operation confined within the manufacturing sector. This capstone project proposal seeks to address filtration crisis faced by PCC by designing an apparatus for evaluating the performance of casting filters.
According to PCC Structurals, PPC produces industrial pumps for handling fluids for wide variety of target customers’ needs, along with after purchase services. Further, the company manufactures refiner plates, refiner rebuilds and screen cylinders for the paper and pulp industry. These production processes involves integration of numerous raw materials with substantial production of byproducts (PCC Structurals). These unwanted materials have to be separated from the desired inputs in order to guarantee a cost effective and quality product that will meet the industrial as well as market standards. Separation of these materials is aided by filters which are prone to reduced efficiency attributed to wear, tear and clogging (Li, 2010). Thus, it is critical to design an apparatus that will periodically evaluate the performance of castings filters in order to ensure that only desired materials are used in the manufacturing process.
Kuang et al. (2012) affirm that majority of manufacturing firms apply automated filter testers and component systems in ensuring that their operations complies with varied regulations and testing standards. These regulations are formulated by various stake-holders in the manufacturing industry and they serve to steward operations in the sector to ensure that they are consistent with the structural, mechanical and chemical properties required for their effective use. According to Furuuchi et al. (2010), the design of filter testing solutions should be such that the filtration efficiency of air filters and other media, including respiratory effects, very high efficiency filters, protective garments and cartridges is measured with ease. Li (2010) alludes that most of the apparatus used to determine the efficiency of castings use either monodisperse or sodium chloride aerosol which has a higher capacity of separating materials depending on the basis of particle size.
The project will entail the design of a reliable, durable and automated filter testing device with minimal maintenance requirement. The design of the apparatus will be such that it can be easily integrated into high volume production lines which are rampant in PCC Structurals. The project aims at achieving a 99.999-percent testing efficiency by integrating the hardware of the instrument with a properly coded program that will have the capacity of transforming the device into a stand-alone apparatus. The operation of the machine will depend on monodisperse particles whose function will be determining the most penetrating particle size (MPPS) in the range of 15-800 nm (Kuang et al., 2012). For effective determination of MPSS, the project aims at combining dual Condensation Particle Counter (CPCs) with an Electrostatic Classifier. The apparatus will feature a polydisperse oil aerosol generator a property that will make it a perfect choice for PCC Structurals since it have numerous high efficiency filters (Kulkarni, Baron, & Willeke, 2011).
The project will have a timeframe of 6 months to give the designer an ample time to design, detail and produce relevant drawings to aid in casting the apparatus. A significant amount of time will be dedicated to coding a program that will be consistent with the hardware specification in order to ensure that the project objectives are meet.
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