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Design and implementation of an automatic conveyor sorting system

Isiramen, Oseikhuemen E. (2018) Design and implementation of an automatic conveyor sorting system. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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One of the challenges of automation engineers is coming up with the best possible way to automate a process. There are many sensors, controllers, remote I/O devices, and actuators in the world today that makes it difficult for one to decide on which particular device to use for a particular application. Prior knowledge of some of the key components required for automation is necessary to help with the selection process. This design and implementation of an automatic conveyor system project was designed to be used as a teaching tool at Murdoch University to expose students to different components used in automation and how these components can be put together to achieve a required goal. This project is concerned with designing, developing, and commission of a conveyor colour sorting and scattering system. There are six sections in this report.

The first section of this report introduces the project. It talks about why this project has been undertaken, the aim, and objectives of the project. For better execution of the project, the project was divided broadly into four different stages with each stage having set objectives. These stages and their objectives are also discussed in this part of the report. Following on from the first section, the second section talks about the background of automation. A brief history of automation which dates as far back as 1769, advantages and disadvantages of automation, key components required for automation are discussed in this section. The last part of section two talks about the previous work that was carried out by other students on the conveyor system.

Details about the system design, materials selection, and construction of the system are in sections three and four of this report. Effort was put into trying to make use of different kinds of components so that students who study the system can develop an understanding of various kinds of automation components. Incorporating the various components selected as well as developing the computer program to carry out the required task of the system is presented in section four.

The system was tested twice. Once with coloured wooden boxes and the other with polycarbonate boxes fitted with coloured acrylics. The first test was unsuccessful while the second was a success which shows the importance of proper material selection. The system was able to transport boxes across four conveyor belts and sort them according to their colours. The last two sections of this report discuss the various challenges encountered during the project execution as well as possible advancements that can be done on the system.

It was discovered that the knowledge of the different components used in automation and how they can be used can go a long way in the achievement of a required goal especially as an effective tool for teaching.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor(s): Cole, Graeme
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