Fall 2019 Tech Symposium Mechanical Engineering Senior Design I Projects

Clout Creations, High Accuracy Calibration Stand for Inline Torque Meters for Southwest Research Institute
Devon Corbeil, Nathan Day, Joshua Hight, Michael Wendel
A high accuracy calibration stands for inline Torque Meters built for Southwest Research Institute.

JMAK Solutions, Fast Mechanism for Road Vehicles to Transfer onto Railroad Tracks
John Peter Desmet, Armando Martinez, Kevin Mirov, Michael Westfield
The purpose of this project is to design a mechanism that allows for a road vehicle to transfer onto railroad tracks as seamlessly as possible to demonstrate the capability of achieving this transition in short succinct time duration.

TxMen Design Solutions, High-Efficiency HVAC System
Francisco Garcia, Pablo Guajardo, Andrew Ivone, Gordon Taylor
Increase HVAC system efficiency during the peak billing time and therefore peak load times for energy consumption.

Visionary Innovations, High-Pressure Viscometer
David Billingsley, Will Hogan, Loi Luong, Sheldon O'Carroll
The High-Pressure Viscometer (HPV) shall be able to test fluids in an environment that may reach operating pressures of 200,000 pounds per square inch (psi) and ambient temperatures up to 200°C.

R2D2 Visionaries, Particulate Matter Sampler 
Diego Bass, Dylan Gonzalez-Rebollar, Rene Holgun, Raj Patel
This PM Sampling bench will be used by the Intertek to test the engine’s emission of their clients for the PM certification and engine development.

Lone Star Core Innovations, Header Box Rotisserie Cart
Ruben Castillo, Jake Medina, Adalberto Rodriguez, Celina Vazquez
Lone Star Core Innovation is providing design, procurement and fabrication services for the Header Box Rotisserie Cart Project for Hudson Products Corporation. The Header Box Rotisserie  Cart is intended to be used as a source of transportation for a header box to go through various workstations throughout Hudson’s shop floor.

2.4.6. Innovations, Atmospheric Control System
Landon Fox, Maxwell Jarvie, Brandon Kasinger, Julio Rodriguez
2.4.6 Innovations will be working with Southwest Research Institute to build a functional Atmospheric Control System. This system will be designed to create certain environments for SwRI to test crack propagation in specific materials. These materials are commonly used in aircraft components and are subject to crack propagations due to the changing temperature and relative humidity. In order for 2.4.6 Innovations to achieve this, we will be redesigning SwRI’s current system by making changes to the environment cell, piping layout, and control center.

4-Rix Design, Electronic Concrete Dispenser for Wind Turbine Concrete Foundations
Jorge Delgado, Jefthe Gonzalez, Vicente Gutierrez, Christopher Schaefer
The purpose of this Electronic Concrete Dispenser design is to reduce injuries in the workplace. This design would eliminate work personnel from walking on rebar while pouring concrete for wind turbine foundations and collars. The objective is to design a concrete distributor that will not be hand-guided while walking on rebar. The team will have to be able to design a product that will allow the worker to see where the slurry is being placed and to have different directions where the individual is able to pivot the pump hose to place concrete in different areas. This would eliminate the worker from having to place the rubber concrete hose on his shoulders or arms to pivot around to reach areas where concrete is needed. In addition, the design consists of an exoskeleton that attaches to the rubber hose that can be controlled by a worker who is standing safely on the ground. The worker would have a controller comprised of a joystick or directional pad to aim the hose, and a live camera feed showing where the device is spraying concrete. The use of a linear actuator would provide the necessary movement to the brace.

Almost Engineers, Pneumatically Controlled Soft Plastic Actuator for a Facade-Mounted Solar Tracking System
Kameron Dean, Jordan Foster, Shawn Mieras, Ross Penney
The objective of this project is to design a lightweight solar tracking system, capable of being mounted vertically on the northern or southern side of building windows. The innovative solar tracker assembly will be able to provide up to 40% higher efficiency than traditionally horizontally mounted solar panel systems. Each solar panel will be rotated by a soft material pneumatic actuator; providing a cost-efficient and lightweight solar tracking system.

BlueDot Dynamics, Carry-On Enclosure for Passive Cooling of Organ Preservation Device 
Mohammed Ahmed, Erick Castillon, Ryan Farrell, Nicholas Goodpaster
The majority of organs are rejected for transplantation due to limited viability time using conventional methods of preservation. Vascular Perfusion Solutions (VPS) has developed a device to allow for organ/limb viability of 24 hours. The next step is to allow for commercial air transportation of this device for extensive geographic applicability while passively maintaining a temperature range of 4-10°C to achieve a low organ metabolic rate. Knowing standard North American carry-on restrictions, passive cooling and insulative materials were researched to enable designs in accordance with specifications. Furthermore, parameters such as thermal performance, strength, and weight were considered during the material selection process. The research suggested flexible polyurethane foam and PureTemp-4 phase change material were considered to be the ideal insulation and cooling materials, respectively. A thermoplastic, carry-on enclosure with flexible impact-absorbing insulation houses the device and supporting equipment to effectively maintain its required temperature range in accordance with specifications. To verify this product, MIL-STD-810 inspired environmental tests will be performed based on potential conditions and effects encountered during transportation. The Hypothermal Carry-on ORgan Enclosure (HYPO-CORE) is a passively cooled enclosure which shall provide an increased geographical range for an organ perfusion device by means of qualifying as a carry-on to major commercial airlines, leading to more organ transplants.

Critical Power, Supercritical CO2 Brayton Power System
Duncan Biddy-Hoffman, Dean Kaialau, Michael Rittenberry, Natasia Upadhaya
As a component of the University of Texas at San Antonio’s (UTSA) research of Supercritical Carbon Dioxide (sCO2) power systems, this team of undergraduate mechanical engineering students, designated Critical Power (CP), will design, build, and test a Brayton power generation system using sCO2 as the working fluid. The design process will include material considerations and requirements (corrosion resistance, heat transfer, fatigue etc.), determination of optimum cycle mechanisms and their inherent losses, and overall thermal efficiency. Analyses of the project will consist of efficiency comparisons to traditional equivalent steam cycles, and impact of mass flow rate on cycle temperatures, pressures, and energy transfer. The scope of the project will include simulated, theoretical, and experimental analysis of CO2 flow in the supercritical state throughout the system.

Durrability, Portable Cooling System
Chris De Leon, Javier Ramirez, Scott Roberts, Michael Urban
This device is for a portable cooling system (PCS) to be used with a portable organ perfusion device called ULiSSES owned by Vascular Perfusion Solutions (VPS). The temperature within the container shall be reduced from ambient to between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius in no more than one hour. The temperature will then be maintained for 24 hours using minimal power.

Echelon4, Stair Climbing Chassis
Milton Cordova, Jose Gonzalez, Daniel Hinojosa, Diana Magana
The current iteration of a robot being used to scan and prepare 3D models of indoor buildings uses a chassis that is unable to climb stairs. This increases the amount of time required to complete an indoor mapping project. In order to increases the efficiency of the robot, the stair climbing chassis is being developed. The stair climbing chassis will grant the robot the mobility to scan separate floors like the current iteration while gaining the ability to climb stairs and maintain stabilization for the scanning equipment for continuous indoor mapping without the interruption of stairs.

Engineering Elucidation, Stationary Throttle Assembly Process
Gabriel Cavasos, Matthew Coignet, Rachid Maouchi, Rebeca Velaquez
The goal of this project is to design an assembly process plan for the production of a stationary throttle. We have partnered with a local company EControls to design an assembly cell including support structures to aid in the assembly process. Our project plans to improve the manufacturing time and provide a reliable method of production for EControls to use in the future.

G&G Innovations, PneuChair Redesign 
Joshua Campbell, Zack Masters, Kenya Payne, Andre Taeuber
Residing in Morgan Wonderland’s waterpark, Inspiration Island, the PneuChair is a pneumatic wheelchair whose current design is unsatisfactory. The current PneuChair design’s joystick does not have accurate directional control and sometimes the chair is responsible for the user’s unexpected discomfort. Aside from those issues, the main reason for performing the pneumatic wheelchair modification is the wheelchair’s braking system. The brakes are failing while the wheelchair is in operation causing the user to lose control and being unable to stop the chair’s motion. Riders are people who typically have little to no control over their bodies and, due to the braking system, they have to experience jolting which causes their bodies to leave the upright position, putting them in a disagreeable situation with no way to independently correct their positioning. To mitigate these inconveniences, the team will be making improvements to the joystick, adding an adjustable headrest, and three alternative braking system designs were conceptualized: Pseudo-Airbrake, Dual-Shaft, and Single-Shaft. Through the stress analysis performed on SOLIDWORKS, force calculations done on Matlab, and trade-off studies, the criteria of the three braking system designs were scrutinized until a solution was reached and the Single-Shaft was chosen. The Single-Shaft braking system will assist in diminishing the erratic behavior of the device, leading to an overall increase in user comfortability and reliability of the PneuChair.

Gold Shirt Enterprises, The Handy Helper - Robotic End Effector for Manufacturing
Lane Berger, Chris Blain, Casey McGaughey, Jacob Perkins
Robots are useful for many different operations in manufacturing but fall short in the area of automated tasks requiring fine motor skills. Seemingly simple tasks such as inserting electrical connectors into sockets and installing fasteners (nuts, bolts, rivets, etc.) become incredibly complex when trying to teach robots to complete them. Part of the problem is that current end effectors (grippers) lack the dexterity and adaptability to grasp the objects used for such tasks, usually having been designed for only a single, very specific purpose such as grabbing one specific part over and over again. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has produced a challenge consisting of various tasks requiring considerable dexterity (pick-and-place, threading nuts onto studs, inserting electrical connectors, etc.) that serves as a benchmark for the capabilities of automated manufacturing robots. The Handy Helper project, in cooperation with the Intelligent Systems Division of the Southwest Research Institute, will produce a single end effector capable of grasping and manipulating all components of the NIST task board. The Handy Helper will provide improvements in grasping capability and precision and will allow manufacturing processes to be completed more easily by automated robots, reducing labor costs and eliminating human error from many manufacturing processes.

Humaign, Semi-Passive Ankle Prosthesis
Drishya Dahal, Stephanie Roman, Saron Russom, Alberto Samaniego
The Amputee Coalition of America estimates that there are 185,000 new lower extremity amputations each year just within the United States. Transtibial, or below the knee amputations are the most common representing 71% of all amputees. Humaign will design, fabricate, and test a Semi-Passive Ankle Prosthesis (SPAP) that enhances the mobility of transtibial amputees, thus improving their living standards. The prosthesis integrates both spring-like mechanisms and motors, which compose the passive and active components of the device, respectively. Using its active components, SPAP changes the apparent stiffness of the ankle joint. The actuators within the system do not directly affect the motion of the ankle joint however, they will modify the position of parts within the passive ankle mechanism. The prosthesis offers two degrees of freedom to achieve dorsiflexion and plantar flexion, as well as eversion and inversion allowing the user to navigate various terrains. The performance of the prosthesis will be tested with the use of encoders, force sensors, and human subjects. A similar output is to be seen when a healthy human subject’s gait cycle is to be compared, using gait recognition hardware and software, to that of a transtibial amputee using Humaign’s SPAP. Additionally, the stiffness seen by the prosthesis user will be calculated by applying a range of forces at the furthest point on the device measured from the joint and the resulting angle measured by the encoders. Overall, SPAP is a transtibial prosthetic device that allows the amputee to achieve human-like mobility helping improve the locomotive functionality and quality of life of lower limb amputees.

Iron Star Collective, Tank Blending System
Apolonio Alejandrez, Julian Ayres, John Parks, Alexander Saveliev
A Fuel-Based Jet Fuel and a Renewable Jet Fuel are required to be mixed to a 60:40 ratio by volume. The blending of the fuels will require the design, build and implementation of a pipe network, nozzle selection and blending tank to accomplish homogeneity in a timely manner. This process will adhere to the pressure, velocity and power limitations set forth by our client.

JAKT Innvoations, Magazine redesign for a de-binding machine
Joshua Drew, Alex McCatherine, Kevin Muy-Trejo, Thach "Tim" Nguyen
This project is the redesign of a fixture used inside of a de-binding machine as part of a metal injection-molding process. The current fixture has a pass rate of 92%, and with the client's expansion into medical device production, the process needs to have a 99% pass rate. This project is made up of three potential designs with stress and fluid simulation data for each. Included is the final design choice with supporting data, including trade-off study data.

MAJJ Design Group, Compressed Earth Block Machine
Jeffrey Bergner, Joseph Olvera, Adan Ramon, Meggan Wolanin
Compressed earth block technology is an inexpensive, eco-friendly, and sustainable way to construct buildings. The mission of MAJJ Design Group is to design and fabricate a machine that produces compressed earth blocks for small scale construction projects. The current machines on the market have a production rate that is sustainable for larger projects that involve multiple people to operate one machine. Our team created the 1000A Impact which will operate with just a single user. Compressed earth blocks are comprised of subsoil and aggregate that contains a low amount of organic material that is compressed at 2000 psi and cured at ambient air temperature. The Impact 1000A Impact uses a single, manually operated, hydraulic press to compress the earthen material to the desired dimensions and has an ejection mechanism to facilitate ease of use. The machine is also mobile allowing it to be transported to different work sites for convenience. Key support locations will be modeled and subjected to stress simulations to verify their ability to withstand operational forces. The 1000A Impact will revolutionize the accessibility to compressed earth block construction projects.

Mechanical Innovations, Manual Plastic Compactor
Justin M. Bouzigard, Tomas Glenn, Quinton Limbrick, Michael Oyetunji
On average, PepsiCo’s Hidalgo, TX satellite warehouse produces about 12 to 14 4 x 4 x 4 ft bins of plastic shrink wrap in one week. Due to shrink wrap’s components, plastic cannot be directly placed in recycle bins due to rapid expansion. To ease this problem, plastic is then compressed and wire wrapped in a baler machine and left on pallets outside of the warehouse to be collected a third party company. By creating a manual trash compactor that is able to compress and dispose of plastic efficiently, a monthly expense of $1500 to third party trash companies is eliminated. Current manual trash compactor design issues consist of plastic not being able to be bagged and disposed of properly. The main purpose is to eliminate the monthly cost of removing the wrapping plastic from the location. This will be done by compacting the plastic into smaller sizes in order to dispose of the plastic into the recycling bin that will be picked up by the city. Specifications of the desired manual plastic compactor consist of being able to produce 1000 lbs of RAM force to compress plastic shrink wrap to 75% of its original size. With this being said, compressed plastic must coincide with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards by not exceeding 50 pounds of a final size to be lifted and disposed of. OSHA standards also require the compactor wheel to be used in a way that will not cause irregular body movement or harm to the user. Lastly, the compactor must not take up more than 3 ft x 3 ft square area. If the project performs to specifications, the company will make up the loss of sponsorship within two months allowing the company to save money in the long run.

Next Generation of Innovation and Solutions (NGIS), SAE Front Suspension
Angel Corona, Rebecca Deleon-Hutton, Abigail Fuentes-Salazar, Jimmy Salazar
NGIS will design a front suspension system for the 2020 Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (FSAE) competition. The front suspension will be mounted to the formula race car and will compete in the endurance, design, and static/dynamic events in Fontana, California. The front suspension system will be composed of wheel hubs, uprights, spring and damper assemblies, an anti-roll bar, and linkages connecting the system to the chassis.

PURO Solutions, Water Distillation Unit
Gustavo Barragan, Matt Garcia, Rayan Morsi, Dylan Samples
Our problem is to support hurricane relief efforts by providing a device to produce fresh water. The increased occurrence of high category hurricanes has highlighted major issues within the infrastructure of cites. When disasters strike near coastal regions power and water utilities cut off leaving citizens without their necessities. Hurricane Dorian flooded 60% of the Bahamas cutting out all their utilities. Most emergency water desalination products available are manually operated or require fire for operation. In flooded environments it can be near impossible to start a fire, making these devices obsolete. While the small hand pump devices do their job of providing drinkable water, they are expensive and do not produce enough fresh water for the effort put in. We will provide a product that is easy to use and provide greater quantities of freshwater than our competitors, in lieu of establishing comfort into the community.

SCQuad Design Group, The OverWatch
Joe Castellano, Matthew Fierro, Logan Haney, Nicolas Valdez
The OverWatch is a device that shall provide a user-specified amount of assistance, up to 1000 lbs., to a free-weight barbell when desired by the user during the bench press and squat exercises. In addition, the device shall provide a catch for a dropped or quickly-descending barbell so as to prevent entrapment of the user under the barbell during the bench press and squat exercises. The frame of Overwatch will resemble a traditional weightlifting cage, and the device is to be used in conjunction with manually adjustable safety bars. Overwatch shall be designed for the consumer fitness equipment market.

SuperbPosition, Automated Salt Deposition System
Daniel Badillo, Andrew Knippa, Sean Lynch, Adam Ronquillo
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) needs a system that can consistently and uniformly deposits salt onto a variety of specimens of different shapes within a 6” x 6” x 2” space for corrosion testing on metals and electrical components. The desired system would also need to be able to dispense different concentrations of salt solutions onto the test specimens. In order to produce a solution to this problem, the team has investigated three alternative designs, settling with the use of an inkjet printhead to dispense a saltwater solution onto a specimen heated from underneath by an aluminum heating pad and also consisting of a silicone thermal pad. After fabrication, the team will test for consistency and repeatability, test samples that have had the salt solution dispensed onto them will be tested with a conductivity meter to determine chloride concentration. Visual tests will also be conducted to determine pattern consistency.

The Mechanical League, Automation And Transportation of Earth Block Press Machine
Valeria Delgado, Cesar Montemayor, Oscar Puentes, Jose Maria Quiroz
Automation and transportation of the BP714 Machine. The BP714 is a machine, manufactured by Advanced Earthen Construction Technologies (AECT), that compresses a soil-based mixture to form usable construction blocks. The objective of the project is to be able to reduce the number of people required to operate the machine by automation the block forming process. Also, the team will focus on improving the transportation of the BP714 Machine by re-designing the bottom structure of it to incorporate a trailer-like structure.

Ethan Beeman, Tomas Garcia, Jose Hotema, Williams Puentes
With the popularity of premium phones, tempered glass screen protectors have become the favorite form of protection against accidental screen damage. However, we all know the surgery like conditions, processes, and accuracy required to properly apply a new screen protector. A single mistake results in wasted screen protectors, money, and time for consumers and retail companies. The Q-LADZ saw this inconvenience and have created the first robotic system to autonomously replace, clean, and apply a new screen protector to any phone, any time, and with guaranteed satisfaction.

The RoundTable, The Traffic Header 
Shawn Chughtai, Orlando Garcia, Jon Murray, Alex Ramsey
The Traffic Curtain is a device that has been implemented by The Department of Transportation and Capital Improvements (TCI) in San Antonio. The device is placed on a roadway approximately a half a mile before a low clearance bridge. The Traffic Curtain is designed to alert the driver of a semi-truck or other tall vehicle that they will collide with the bridge up ahead if they continue. The problem with the current design is when the Traffic Curtain is hit by a vehicle, the device becomes tangled must be untangled by a maintenance team. This must be done so the device functions properly and this process stops traffic for hours. TCI has sponsored us to design a new device that will replace their current design. We are calling our device The Traffic Safety Header. Our design will prevent tangling and will incorporate a sensor that detects a vehicle hitting the device. This will actuate a visual signal positioned in front of the Traffic Safety Header to inform the driver to stop. Our device is designed to prevent collisions with low clearance bridges in cities across the world.

Thermal Solutions, Fire Resistant Camera Housing
Charles Ahlm, Sean Clifton, Curtis Roberds, Weiss Tabiat
Southwest Research Institute needs a method to view and record video footage from inside of a corner room burn test. To accomplish this, fire-resistant camera housing has been designed to ensure the safety of three GoPro cameras throughout the test duration. The housing must be able to maintain an internal temperature not exceeding 38°C while withstanding radiant and convective heat transfer and an external environment temperature of 600°C, in addition to providing clear video recordings without interfering with the airflow or the testing setup. Three alternative designs were developed: the rectangular sloped housing, cylindrical sloped design, and the disk housing. Through the use of SolidWorks fluid and thermal analysis, and Pugh chart trade-off studies, the cylindrical sloped design was selected as the final design. The cylindrical sloped housing utilizes more simple manufacturing, maintains a lower internal temperature relative to the other two designs, and meets all performance specifications regarding cost, weight, and field of view coverage in the test room. Moving forward, detailed drawings, manufacturing plans, Gantt chart will be used to ensure a smooth transition from the conceptual design to a finished product.

Z-FOG, Heat and Electrical Stimulation Sleeve for UCL Recovery
Fernando Chavez, Zachary Danielson, Omar Navarro, Gerson Velasquez
The number of Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) injuries in professional baseball athletes since 1974 has increased drastically from 140 in the 26-year span of 1974-2000 to over 1260 in the 10-year span of 2009 to 2019. The only preventative measures a player must protect their elbow is to provide heat to reduce pain in the early symptoms of a UCL injury. Electrical muscle stimulation is media that athletes use to prepare their muscles for training by inducing contractions to push blood throughout the body. Research supports the hypothesis that the use of both heat and electrical muscle stimulation is an effective means of increasing blood flow in an applied area and that the use of both simultaneously increases blood flow more than either of the two individually. This increase of oxygen-rich blood flow has been proven to heal wounds. Using this, the Z-FOG team leads are working to fabricate a medical device capable of providing both modes of therapy individually and simultaneously to reduce UCL injuries in athletes. After conducting a trade-off study, the team leads determined that the optimal design for the medical device is a brace-influenced exo-sleeve with a Glass-filled Nylon case to maintain the control system, Flexible resin arms to secure the device and the Electric Stimulation pad to the user’s bicep, and a detachable Neoprene sleeve to deliver the heat therapy.

F.B.H.D. Innovation, Automated Conduit Bender (ACB)
Luis Bass, Brandon Donald, Joseph Fernandez, Haitham Huissain
An Automated Conduit Bender (ACB) is a device that when given specific parameters regarding a section of conduit and the required bend to be performed, automatically executes all of the necessary bends at the exact location needed, applying the correct angle, with limited user interference. The ACB shall be able to perform the five most common types of bends utilized in electrical installation on electrical metallic tubing (EMT) with diameters ranging from ½ inch to 1-1/4 inch, and rigid metal conduit (RMC) with diameters ranging from ¾ inch to 1 inch. One ACB, once energized by a 120-volt power source, shall be capable of producing a bending force of 80 kN. It shall do so while maintaining durability adequate for repetitive use over a period of time while retaining a compact design and overall weight sufficient for transportation and onsite mobility. An ACB shall employ a combination of a central processing unit (CPU) input and a simplified manual interface to create a user-friendly system for creating specific bends suitable for electrical installation.