TODD FARR ENGINEERING PORTFOLIO
This is a small online Portfolio of some Mechanical and Automation Design work I have done. If you are interested in hearing more about these projects please feel free to contact me.
PRESTA GALLON ORIENTATION LABELING SYSTEM
This machine was designed specifically to target high precision 3 roller application. This is an ideal system for orienting label placement to various geometric features on the bottles and containers. It will also apply Front and Back labels off the same roller controlling the spacing between them to + or - 0.5mm between bottles.
This machine incorporates everything I have learned about labeling in the last 5 years. It is probably the last Labeling Machine I'm every going to design as recent career changes are pulling me in new directions.
AUTOMATED HORIZONTAL MITERING MACHINE
When I first started building bicycle frames, I quickly learned that mitering was one of the most labor intensive processes. Even using machinery, the operator has to stand next to the machine and crank the handle at incredible slow speeds to achieve clean miters. This project involved converting the Y-axis of a 1976 Nichols Horizontal Hand Mill into an automated feeding system. This was completed using parts that I already had from previous automation projects and samples from potential vendors. It involved gutting the entire control cabinet, adding a VFD for 220V single phase operation and spindle control, and the addition of a PLC + Stepper to control the Y-axis. The PLC is a Panasonic FP-e Panel mounted unit, and the Servo is a Oriental Motor Alaha-Step Closed Loop Stepper. The control panel layout was designed in Solidworks and was manufactured by myself using a Southwestern Industries ProtoTRAK Milling Machine.
The PLC program allows operators to set the feed-rate in "/min. By switching screens using the mode button, the operator can then input tube size & angle. The PLC then uses this data to determine the number of steps it needs to move to complete the cut. The tube is loaded and the "START" Button is pressed, if the spindle is not already running, the PLC will start the spindle motor. Once the cut is finished the program will move the table back to the home position, then turn off the spindle. The light tower will then "Blink" indicating to the operator on the other side of the shop that the cut has been completed. An audible alarm can also be configured to sound if needed. If for any reason the operator wants to use the machine as "manual" the control panel is equipped with "Jog" controls that allow the operator to move the Y-axis either direction at the displayed feed-rate.
Aside from the automation of the actual machine, I also designed and manufactured a mitering system that would hold the tubes and help keep the miters in phase. The requirements for this jig where as follows, easy change-over from one tube size to another, quick setting of angles, self-centering and tool-free adjustments. Rather than completely reinventing the wheel, I used a rotary table and a self-centering vise as a foundation for the mitering jig. A full photo set can be seen here.
BOTTLING LINE AT BREW DR. KOMBUCHA
Brew Dr. Kombucha is a growing Kombucha manufacturer out of SE Portland, Oregon. They make some of the best Kombucha I've ever tasted, and are some of the most genuine and passionate individuals I've had the pleasure of working with. I first started working with BDK when I was at LabelOne Connect. At this time I designed a VERT Labeling machine for them with a Custom Inkjet Printer attachment for Date/Lot coding on their labels. The Machine was originally designed to run as a desktop, semi-automated unit. After I had left LabelOne, BDK contacted me about possibly converting this machine to a fully automatic labeling machine.
The outcome of this project is a small but efficient bottling line capable of delivering up to 40 finished bottles per minute. I modified the PLC program in the VERT labeling machine to control the custom 4.5" x 10' conveyor system, the 42" circular collection table, as well as the Pneumatic Bottle spacer. All of which are my own design and manufacture. The VERT machine also received a new custom stand that also doubles as a conveyor support. All the controls for power, speed and the added E-Stop were moved to the front of the machine for easy access. Not only did this machine upgrade increase productivity, but it also helped eliminate additional labor that once existed for bottle transferring between stations.
STEP LABELING MACHINE DESIGN
I designed the STEP labeling machine to target mid-range wineries throughout the Willamette Valley. The STEP is a closed-loop stepper labeling head that was designed off my concept of all inclusion. Both the Labeling Head and the handling system are designed and machined off the same plate. This revolutionary design came from my VERT concept that can also been seen on this page. Not long does this design cut costs, but it allows for a power labeling machine with a compact footprint. The STEP is barely over 24" wide, but can label at speeds up to 50 Containers per minute.
I designed every mechanical, pneumatic and electrical component on this machine. I also wrote the PLC program, and designed the HMI interface. Utilizing the closed loop steppers, I developed an algorithm that will calculate label sizes and self-teach the machine for any label or label set 10mm-300mm wide. This requires the user to simply load the labels and initiate the STEP's SMART Label Recognition software.
VERT LABELING MACHINE DESIGN
The VERT was the first labeling machine I designed from the ground up by myself. The idea came to me when I was talking to a customer about upgrading his existing semi-automatic labeling machine. He was trying to work with us on a trade-in or asking if we knew anyone who would be interested in buying it. I started thinking it would be nice if instead of trading in your semi-automatic labeling machine, you just upgrade it. Most semi-automatic labelers on the market are horizontal machines, meaning you have to lay the bottle down on the machine in order to label it. I identified this as an immediate problem, and the VERT was born. It seemed pretty obvious, but the revolutionary idea of moving to a VERT-ical labeling platform provided maximum flexibility for future development. Within a year the VERT became the most popular Labeling Machine at LabelOne Connect, and helped sales reach $500,000 USD in 2012.
TAMP LABELING MACHINE DESIGN
While working at LabelOne Connect INC. I designed this machine from the ground up. All the Mechanical Design and assembly was done by myself. Including the Electrical component selection, wiring and PLC programming. I was also in charge of all the cost estimates and market research to build a machine that would be successful in a competitive market. Over the course of 5 years, I designed, built and shipped 20 TAMP labeling machines, all custom manufactured for small companies all over the world.
MASQ LABELING MACHINE DESIGN
While working at LabelOne Connect INC. I was tasked by a customer in South America to design and manufacture a Labeling machine that could manually label square containers. The MASQ is a completely mechanical design that relies on a clever push-pull mechanism. I personally completed both the concept and the design by myself in my free time after normal business hours. After the first one was built and sold to a Juice Manufacturer in California, management allowed me to send the machine to production. I've been told a few times by industry leaders that the design is patent-able.