Bresslergroup recently designed the next generation of CleanCut, a touchless paper towel holder that can dispense and cut any length of paper towel with the wave of a hand. Bresslergroup redesigned the inventor’s prototype to optimize the appliance for high volume, low cost manufacturing. The design firm used SolidWorks 3D solid modeling software throughout the project processes.
According to Dave Schiff, director of the Bresslergroup’s engineering department, “SolidWorks software was key to the project. The benefits of 3D CAD are rapid turnaround from on-screen images to solid prototypes, rapid concept iterations, kinematic analysis, and FEA analysis to simulate performance before prototypes are built.
The front panel of the device has two recesses with icons to prompt the user where to wave the hand to dispense and cut the towel.
“The ease of the user interface makes it a good tool for our industrial designers to use for design concept and form development. By using it to build multiple bodies within a given part, it is possible for design intent to be captured in the ‘master model,’ and then export child parts for detailing. During the course of the CleanCut design, as changes were made to the height, width, or depth of the full assembly, it was possible to make these changes to the master model, and have them propagate to the child parts with minimal rework.”
He added, “We visualized and animated the interaction of the various parts in the assembly. For example, we were able to view pinch plates that open and close to hold and release the paper during the cutting process. Additionally, we used SolidWorks Simulation software to evaluate stress and deflections under loads prior to prototyping. This capability most likely helped reduce the number of prototypes.”
Bresslergroup used SolidWorks software to design the CleanCut automatic towel dispenser. The use of break beam technology assures the device is instantly responsive to the user.
The design team went through several iterations. Once the basic form was defined, the internal modular cutting mechanism went through a number of changes over a six-month period. Basic functions such as cutting and feeding paper were proven with the first alpha prototype build. Over the next six months, Bresslergroup worked closely with the manufacturer in China to fabricate and test several iterative prototypes. This process helped refine key functions to improve the reliability of paper feeding and cutting, while implementing several measures to reduce cost in production.
When you wave your hand the mechanism propels the towel at a rate of approximately 11 in. in 0.25 sec.
The first alpha prototypes were fabricated by Prototype Solutions Group. These models were a combination of highly finished and painted stereolithography (SLA) parts for the housings to give the appearance of final molded product. The acrylonitrite butadiene styrene (ABS) components were NC-machined to give strength for handling fast moving mechanical loads and impact forces. The beta prototype was then refined for manufacturing at Yamaha for production in China.
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