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International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Technology (IJMET), ISSN 0976 6340(Print), INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING AND

D ISSN 0976 6359(Online) Volume 3, Issue 3, Sep- Dec (2012) IAEME

TECHNOLOGY (IJMET)

ISSN 0976 6340 (Print) ISSN 0976 6359 (Online) Volume 3, Issue 3, Septmebr - December (2012), pp. 107-122 IAEME: www.iaeme.com/ijmet.html Journal Impact Factor (2012): 3.8071 (Calculated by GISI) www.jifactor.com

IJMET
IAEME

DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT OF AN ECONOMIC AUTONOMOUS BEVERAGE CANS CRUSHER


A. Elfasakhany1, 2 *, J. Marquez2, E.Y. Rezola2, J. Benitez 2
1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Taif University, Box 888, Al-Haweiah, Taif, Saudi Arabia 2 Tecnolgico de Monterrey, Campus Ciudad Jurez, Av. Tomas Fernandez Campus 8945, Parque Industrial Bermudez, CP 32470, Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico * Corresponding author Tel.: +966 (02) 7272020; Fax: +966(02)7274299 E-mail address: ashr12000@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT
One problem of current cans crusher machines is that they are mechanical devices. However, autonomous or electrical cans crushers are large and expensive due to complexities and applied for compactor technology. Accordingly, there is a necessity having small, low-priced, and autonomous cans crusher devices. The aim of this work is to design and develop a small, economical and autonomous machine for crushing beverage aluminum cans. This work involves the processes of designing, developing, manufacturing, testing and validation. The machine was built based on a compilation between both of horizontal and vertical crushing designs and, in turn, the force needed to compact the cans is much less. The machine, which includes mechanical, electrical and electronic components, was tested in particular elements as well as overall. Testing and validation of the machine show that it works as it should be. Keywords: Cans crusher, Design, Development, Economic, Autonomous, Testing, Validation.

1. INTRODUCTION
Around our environment due to the facilities of the modem world, wastes of aluminum drink cans increase every year. This phenomenon is in a dangerous stage problem, which technologically needs to solve. Recycling/or reusing of cans wastes is one of the options currently being utilized internationally to beneficially reuse wastes and clean our environment. Recycling of aluminum cans wastes helps freely up space (used for the temporary storage of aluminum cans) and improves workplace safety and neatness. It helps reduce waste disposal costs (since the aluminum

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International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Technology (IJMET), ISSN 0976 6340(Print), ISSN 0976 6359(Online) Volume 3, Issue 3, Sep- Dec (2012) IAEME

cans are removed from the waste stream). For example, recycling one ton of aluminum cans saves 10 cubic yards of landfill space. Recycling of aluminum cans wastes saves up to 95 percent of the energy that is required to make cans from virgin bauxite (ore metal) [1-3]. Making one aluminum drink can from virgin raw materials uses the same amount of energy that is taken to recycle twenty empty cans. Recycling of aluminum cans provides 97% less water pollution than the cans produced from ore. Recycling 40 aluminum cans provides the energy saving equivalent of one gallon of gasoline. Recycling just one aluminum can is the equivalent of keeping a 100-watt light bulb burning for approximately four hours or having the television running for three hours. Due to the economical and environmental benefits, recycling of aluminum drink cans is the worlds most recycled packaging container nowadays [4]. In 1972, approximately 26,500 tons of aluminum cans were recycled and today that number is estimated to be as high as 800,000 tons. Over 100,000 aluminum cans are recycled every minute in the U.S.A, and there is a great effort being increased more [5-7]. Besides, two-third of the cans in the U.S.A is derived from regeneration [8]. In Sweden, 0.84 billion cans were recycled with a recycling rate of 83.3% [1]. Both Europe and Japan emphasize recycling cans as well [8]. In Mexico, a program for recycling aluminum cans was established some years ago [9-11]. Even though the billions of cans recycled around the world, there are still billions of aluminum cans every year that are being disposed of roadways and in trash cans. This attributed to that recycling still facing some difficulties. One of such difficulties of recycling aluminum cans is that cans need to be sorted from plastic, glass, metal and other trash materials. Besides, sorting is a time consuming and costly. Recently, some researchers worked on that and presented an autonomous trash sorting system, e.g. [12-13]. One of other difficulties of recycling aluminum cans is the necessity to reduce costs of shipping of these cans due to transportation of huge cargo. This problem could be solved using cans crushers. A can crusher is a device used for crushing aluminum beverage cans for easier storage and transportation. This device gives us more space by compacting either single or multiple cans. The first can crusher was the human foot; people used foot to stand up on the cans and flatten them down, but this could be hurtful if the foot does not come down in the correct way. Afterwards, engineers developed mechanical machines to do this task. The problem of mechanical machines is that they are mechanical devices need effort to use [14]. Afterwards, autonomous or electrical cans crusher machines were invented. However, autonomous cans crushers are big and expensive due to complexities and applied compactor technology. Accordingly, there is a necessity having a small, low-priced, autonomous cans crusher device. The purpose of this work is to design and develop a cans crusher machine. What makes this can crasher better than others is precisely the autonomous function of the mechanical press that crushes the cans and the unique design allows us to crush the cans at a little force. Besides, the proposed cans crusher device is smaller, cheaper, and more energy-efficient than current designs. By new design, cans crushers may be placed into airplanes, appliances, break rooms, hallways, and offices for employee (the average employee consumes 2.5 aluminum cans per day). This new design may prevent aluminum cans from landing in landfills but diverting them to the recycling centers like they should be.

2. MACHINE DESIGN 2.1 Beverage Cans Characteristics


The beverage cans available in the world market can be classified into two types, based on the type of material: type A is made of a combination of two materials, steel for the entire body and aluminum for the top cover, as shown in Fig. 1(I). Type B, however, is completely made of aluminum, as shown in Fig. 1(II). Due to the large availability, especially in Mexico, type B was chosen for our study. The details of the geometry and thickness of our beverage can are shown in Fig. 1(III). As seen,

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the thickness of both top cover and bottom base is 0.2 mm and the thickness of top and bottom shoulders is 0.12 mm; the thickness is reduced gradually from the top and bottom shoulders (0.12 mm) to the center of the entire body by 0.07 mm for every 1 mm. The material properties of the beverage can of type B are given in Table 1. The measured average mass of an empty aluminum beverage can was about 16 g; the diameters of top shoulder, base bottom, and the main body of can are 54 mm, 48 mm, and 65 mm, respectively. Special care was taken to use cans without defects such as indents and crumples in order to test the prototype during this work.
Table 1 Parameters of the beverage cans of type (b) [15-17] Parameter Material Density (Kg/m3) Cp (J/Kg K) Tmelt (K) Value Aluminium 2024 2770 875 775

Cp= Specific heat capacity; Tmelt =melting temperature.

D= 54 mm Top shoulder

All material from aluminum

Base bottom

D= 65 mm

D= 48 mm

(I) Details of type (a) cans

(II) Details of type (b) cans

(III) Dimensions and geometry of any beverage cans

Fig. 1 Beverage cans characteristics

2.2 Mechanical Design The current mechanical design of the can crusher is a new design that allows people to compact cans using an autonomous machine at low price and a compact size. Firstly, we need to evaluate different design ideas and defining the force required to crush the can at each idea. To apply that, several experiments were carried out using a dynamometer for crushing cans, as shown in Fig.2. In the first experiment, we crushed three cans a time organized as shown in Fig. 2. The experiment was

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International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Technology (IJMET), ISSN 0976 6340(Print), ISSN 0976 6359(Online) Volume 3, Issue 3, Sep- Dec (2012) IAEME

repeated 20 times to get trusted results and at every test we record the force indicated by the dynamometer. Table 2 shows the crushing force recorded and as seen the force was varied from 40 to 55 kgf. The can after crushed is shown in Fig. 3, and as seen the can is not fully crushed due to the organization of cans. As a result, we thought about organizing the three cans to be above each other in a series mode but that organization requires larger devices; however we aim to make a compact and economical design, so this organization was disregarded. Next organization/experiment was to crush single can a time. The can was positioned to be crushed from its side, as shown in Fig. 4. The crushing force recorded using the dynamometer, as shown in Table 3, was in the range of 9 to 12 kgf; however, the crushed can was not compacted efficiently (similar to the first experiment). In the third experiment, we crushed a single can but the force goes from above (not from side), as shown in Figs.5-6. As seen, the deformation is mainly concentrated at the end of the can and the can was compacted to a small size in this experiment (compared with first and second experiments). The force needed to crush the can in a vertical position is about 23 to 26 kgf, as shown in Table 4. Considering the three experiments, we believe our design to be a compilation between both of horizontal and vertical crushing designs, as shown in Fig.7. According, the horizontal force will be the same as side force in the second experiment, but the vertical one will be much less (about 17 kgf, this value is verified in testing and validation section). Besides, can compacts to a very small size.

Table 2 Vertical force needed to crush three cans at same time Test 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20

Force (Kgf) 40 55 52 48 49 48 52 54 45 48 55 47 48 48 52 54 53 54 55
51

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International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Technology (IJMET), ISSN 0976 6340(Print), ISSN 0976 6359(Online) Volume 3, Issue 3, Sep- Dec (2012) IAEME

Dynamomete

Fig. 2 Dynamometer used to crush three cans a time organized as shown

Fig. 3 Crushed can when we organized three cans to be crushed a time

Fig. 4 Dynamometer used to crush a single can organized horizontally

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Table 3 Force needed to crush one can in a horizontal position


Test 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Force (Kgf) 10 11 11 10 9 11 11 10 10 9 11 12 10 11 10 10 12 11 11 11

Table 4 Force needed to crush one can in a vertical position


Test 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Force (Kgf) 25 25 23 24 25 24 24 23 25 25 26 24 24 25 25 25 24 26 24 24

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International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Technology (IJMET), ISSN 0976 6340(Print), ISSN 0976 6359(Online) Volume 3, Issue 3, Sep- Dec (2012) IAEME

The mechanical structure, as shown in Fig.8, is made of aluminum, which includes: (1) a circular plate acts as a main crushing piston to crush the can vertically, (2) a side piston for crushing can horizontally from its side, and (3) an aluminum ring for stabilizing can in a vertical position. After defining the design layout, the force and the mechanical structure, we need to define the motor(s) needed to control the movements of the two pistons. Since the maximum force needed to compact a can is about 17 Kgf, we considered the total force of 20 kgf (adding of 3 Kgf as a safety factor) to be the force needed by the motor(s); the motor(s) be able to provide this force (20 kgf =196.2 N) requires toque about 9.81 N-m for a radius (torque arm) of 5 cm, and the output power is about 1.23 KW, as shown in the following calculations:

T = Fd cos ,
T = (196.2 N ) (0.05 m) = 9.81 N .m

(Eq.1)

P = T

(Eq.2)

P = (9.81 N .m) 2. (1200 RPM ) / 60 = 1232 W


Using motor with this specification (torque and horsepower) is very expensive, about 298 $. In order to solve this problem, we may use a pneumatic system instead of the electric motor. To design a pneumatic system, we need to calculate compressor pressure, as follows.

P=

F A

(Eq.3)

P=

196.2 N = 632.9 KPa 3.1 cm 2

There are two pistons in our design, horizontal and vertical ones. We calculated the pressure needed for the vertical piston since it requires the higher pressure and the other one will be enclosed. The area used in the calculation (3.1 cm2) is the can area after it is compacted from the horizontal piston (see Fig. 4). With this pressure value (632.9KPa =6.3 bar), many compressors available in the market will be able to crush the cans. The compressor does not require to produce this pressure directly but normally connected with a storage tank for pressure accumulation. In this condition, the compressor may produce 2 bar as a working pressure and connected with storage tank to reach the needed pressure. Hence compressor is cheaper (100 $, i.e. one third of electrical motor) and fulfills the requirements as a replacement for the electrical motor used in the most available electrical can crusher in the market nowadays. Fig. 9 shows the pneumatic system connected with the compressor and used to crush the cans; it is the one that goes from the top opening and the bottom connected with both pistons (see Figs. 7-8.). The last part of the mechanical design is the housing for the system. The housing comprises a highresistance of the wooden structure that holds the components (mechanical, electrical, and electronic equipment), as shown in Fig.10.

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International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Technology (IJMET), ISSN 0976 6340(Print), ISSN 0976 6359(Online) Volume 3, Issue 3, Sep- Dec (2012) IAEME

Fig. 5 Dynamometer used to crush a single can organized vertically

Fig. 6 Progressive of crushing stages for a single can organized vertically

Fig. 7 Compilation between both of horizontal and vertical crushing designs

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2.3 Electrical and Electronic Designs


The servomotor, light sensor and arduino microcontroller were used to move and control the crusher machine. The function of the servomotor is to turn the cargo to get the can out after it was crushed, see Fig 10. The servomotor used is the Hextronik HX12K type, as shown in Fig 11. This motor was selected because it is much cheaper than any other motor with the same specifications. Besides, it can turn for 120 degrees in 1second to get out the crushed can. The light or optic sensor determines if there is a can in the loading cargo. This occurs by sensing a light, which is received on a photo resistance. The light sensor of type ''DF Robot Ambient'' is chosen to be cheap and adequate, as shown in Fig. 12. The microcontroller is the brain of the entire system and it provides the calculations needed to control all the actions. The microcontroller used is an Arduino, as shown in Fig. 13. The programming language is very similar to C but includes several libraries that help in the control of the I/O ports, timers, and serial communication. This microcontroller was chosen because it is inexpensive and very easy to reprogram; the programming language is simple and interrupts are available for this particular chip.

(1)

(2) (3)

Fig. 8 Mechanical structure of crusher machine of 30 inches height; (1) Circular plate (14 inch diameter and 1.5 in thickness) acts as a main crushing piston, (2) Side piston for crushing can from side to reduce the vertical forces, (3) Aluminum ring for stabilizing can in a vertical position.

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International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Technology (IJMET), ISSN 0976 6340(Print), ISSN 0976 6359(Online) Volume 3, Issue 3, Sep- Dec (2012) IAEME

Fig 9 Pneumatic cylinder

Fig. 10 Upper/Side view of the can crusher with wood housing

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Fig.11 Servomotor

Fig. 12 Light sensor

Fig. 13 Arduino microcontroller board

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2.4 Software Design


Since our can crusher system consists of hardware and software, the flow chart of the software is presented within the system operation section in this paper.

3. TESTING AND VALIDATION


Testing and validation are a fundamental part of our work as well as in any new design. Several tests were carried out to validate our crusher machine and its components. The tests covered both the particular elements as well as the overall system. Firstly, all components were tested individually to demonstrate their capability of working properly. After words, the overall system is tested. Testing of the light sensor shows that it works properly but we need to detect a can within 2.5 cm away from the sensor, according to the input voltage (5 volts). Hence, the sensor should be positioned within this distance or increase its input voltage in case of larger reflecting distance is needed; we made our design to be within 2.5 cm distance. The second device tested was the servomotor, which has to turn cargo including the compacted can and throw it away in the waste container. To test the different functions of this motor, we made two kinds of tests, as follow: 1. 2. A test in which we change the input voltage and check the output torque (Table 5). A test to check the response time needed at different angles (Table 6).
Table 5 Voltage and related output torque from servomotor
Voltage 5 4.5 4 3.5 3 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 Torque 4.8 4.32 3.84 3.36 2.88 2.4 1.92 1.44 0.96 0.48 0

Table 6 Response time needed at different angles for servomotor


Time (s) 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Angle (degree) 90 95 100 115 150 120 130 140 145 150 155

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International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Technology (IJMET), ISSN 0976 6340(Print), ISSN 0976 6359(Online) Volume 3, Issue 3, Sep- Dec (2012) IAEME

According to these tests, we figured out the input voltage needed to provide the adequate torque at a rotation angle of 120 degrees and also the time needed. We found that the servomotor needs 6 volts as an input to take advantage of the strength and make it work for 1 second, which is enough to throw the can away. The third device tested was the pneumatic system. We changed the compressor pressure and checked the compacting efficiency. 10 tests were carried out starting from 1 bar to 10 bar and we found that at any pressure lower than 7 bars, we do not have a complete compacting, as shown in Table 7. This test is consistent with our calculation, which is presented previously and showed that the lowest pressure needed to crush the can is about 6.3 bar. Finally, a complete system test is carried out using a pass/fail methodology. Pass means a can compacted completely and gotten out of the machine; however, fails mean a can semi compacted and/or can did not get out after it was compacted. In this test we found that the prototype works properly and safely without any danger at the operator(s).

Table 7 Results from the can crusher using different pressure values (1-10 bars)
Pressure (bar) Result 1 F 2 F 3 F 4 F 5 F 6 F 7 S 8 S 9 S 10 S F: fail, S: success

4. SYSTEM OPERATION
The design of the can crusher is enough only for one can a cycle. In this way, the compactor has a simple way to detect the can in the sensing area. We take advantage of the gravity to put the can in its place. Once the can is putted into the can path, the can will only fallow that path, until it reaches the desired position. The light/optic sensor will detect the can and send a signal to the microcontroller. Then the microcontroller will activate the pneumatic system to crush the can using both horizontal and vertical pistons. Once the can is crushed, activation is send by the microcontroller to servomotor to through the crushed can away. The crushed can will disperse into the waste container. The flow chart of system operation is shown in Fig. 14.

5. RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS


Results from the beverage cans crusher machine are presented here. By operating the machine for ten times, results show that the machine works property for all operated cases, except for only one case, as shown in Table 8. The unique failed case happened due to incompact can to the required size. This is attributed to that the compressor pressure was not enough (less than 6 bars) due to electricity of compressor was not connected. Otherwise, the machine has a high efficiency, and the result is very pleasant during all

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International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Technology (IJMET), ISSN 0976 6340(Print), ISSN 0976 6359(Online) Volume 3, Issue 3, Sep- Dec (2012) IAEME

operating times, as shown in Fig.15; so in general we may conclude that it is an acceptable design. However, esthetic improvements might be implemented in the coming future. One of such improvements is that the machine could give the people reward at inserting cans in the machine. Hence this may encourage people to crush cans. The overall cost of the can crusher machine is about 350 USD only. Detail cost of different components of our prototype is presented in Table 9; however, this cost could be reduced at mass production condition. By this low cost with related specification (small size and autonomous) cans crushers may be placed into airplanes, appliances, break rooms, hallways, and offices for employee. Hence, this may help prevent aluminum cans from landing in landfills and diverts them to the recycling centers like they should be.

Fig 14 Flow chart for operation of the can crusher Table 8 Results from testing of the can crusher for 10 times
Number of Test Result 1 S 2 S 3 S 4 S 5 S 6 S 7 S 8 F 9 S 10 S F: fail, S: success

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International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Technology (IJMET), ISSN 0976 6340(Print), ISSN 0976 6359(Online) Volume 3, Issue 3, Sep- Dec (2012) IAEME

Fig 15 Cans crushed from the machine

Table 9 Detail cost of different components of the can crusher machine in USD
Equipment Relay 12 VDC Pneumatic cylinder Aluminum structure Pneumatic hose Wood housing Arduino Servomotor Electrical accessories Air compressor Total Price ($) 4 136 24 8 7.5 25 13 32 100 350

6. CONCLUSIONS
A new design of cans crusher is presented in this work. The cans crusher, which is used to compact single can a time, consists of a hardware and software. The hardware includes mechanical structure, servomotor, light sensor, arduino microcontroller, and pneumatic system. The pneumatic system has been used instead of an electrical motor since electrical motor with the needed specification (torque and horsepower) is very expensive. The software is the maestro for operating and controlling different system components. The design of the can crusher is based on a compilation between both of horizontal and vertical crushing machines. Accordingly, the vertical force will be much less; besides, can is compacted to a very small size. Several tests were carried out to validate the crushing machine and its components. The tests covered both of particular elements and the overall device, using cans without defects such as indents and crumple. Results show that the machine and its particular elements work property. In conclusion, this small, inexpensive and autonomous can crusher machine may help to prevent aluminum cans from landing in landfills but diverting them to the recycling centers like they should be. By this new design, cans crushers able to be placed into airplanes, break rooms, hallways, and offices.

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