DESIGN FOR MANUFACTURABILITY - REFLECTION
ME270: Design for manufacturability has been an extremely interesting and enriching course. Having been part of the Engine subsystem in the Formula SAE team on campus, I was always wondering how engine efficiency could be improved. This project has particularly allowed me to understand the cost/weight improvement in a sub assembly within an engine. I have gained in depth understanding of the materials used to prepare a piston, the reasons for using the particular materials as well as the compromise that has to be achieved between the materials used, the safety factor as well as the cost. It has allowed me to gain an additional insight into closed drop die forging of the connecting rods of the piston and the reason for why the disassembly of the piston is so hard. This project has also allowed me to research more into stress vs strain graphs for different components and understand why certain manufacturing practices are preferred over others, whilst negating and including the cost factor. Furthermore, it has also instilled confidence that if I can redesign and implement something as complex as an engine piston which has to run at tens of thousands of rpm every day, to improve its recyclability and environmental cost, I am ready to face the challenges of tomorrow.
Some of my major strengths, that I have identified as part of working in a team-based setting for the majority of the semester are that I am able to delegate tasks to everyone and stand up for my team when needed. I have also learnt to understand differing viewpoints. I have an outspoken personality so there may have been points in the semester where I may have come off too aggressive when trying to understand certain points of views. Moreover, another area where I feel I need to work on is in the data analysis stage. I sometimes tend to start designing without analyzing the improvements that need to be made. I credit ME270 for having made me realize the importance of careful analysis before starting product designs. I will be saving most of my work from this course for future reference and implementing the design for manufacturability, design for assembly and the design for experiment principles in future courses, in my Formula SAE team and ultimately in the workplace.
The mini projects have been an important tool to learn and apply the skills learned in the classroom. I found it to be slightly challenging to learn physical machining practices theoretically and not being able to apply them in the labs as much as I would have liked to. The course highlight was when we were made to generate G-code and CNC a mold which we had created. Moreover, it was also extremely interesting to see the injection molding process up close and to understand the effect of pressure and temperature on the viscosity of the plastic being injection molded. It was also very interesting to learn about forging, which is the main principle on which I have based this e-portfolio on.
In materials and material properties, I learnt why certain materials were used in certain assemblies and through the challenge part of the mini project I understood the life cycle of materials and how they ended up in the place they are at. Furthermore, through the CAD/CAM machining processes mini project, I improved my Computer Aided Design skills as well as learnt how to generate G-code in the labs. Through additive and direct manufacturing processes I learnt more about the manufacturing of plastic products and a lot about different forms of 3D printing. Through Casting and molding I learnt a lot about the manufacturing of metals, why certain metalworking processes are used over others as well as advantages and disadvantages of different processes. Some major components of manufacturing I learnt were of those of design of manufacturing as well as design for assembly in addition to design of experimentation. These provide statistical analysis of a product in terms of certain factors and help prevent the wastage of materials. They are also a component of sustainable engineering and should therefore be followed by every engineer. Assembly processes were another interesting component of the course as I learnt about the different ways to complete an assembly of products and make them work as required . Having already had welding training and having been around fasteners for all my life I found it interesting to learn about the other assembly processes. This particularly helped me out in my club as I was being taught the use of epoxies such as DP460 and have also maintained an interest in brazing and soldering practices.
All in all, I feel design for manufacturability is an interesting and very practical course. It has certainly helped me in understanding tolerancing when machining, especially since I am looking to get trained by a machinist as well as in the workplace, where I ultimately want to delve into product design.