Mini-Pie Desktop Machine
A local entrepreneur noticed a market trend in the food industry towards miniaturizing food items especially desserts. He focused his attention on mini-pies and formulated a business plan to sell "pieballs" as he called it - see the image above. However, while testing out the product, he noticed that the process of making one tray of these mini-pies takes about 40 mins (excluding baking time) with the crimping of the dough layers taking the longest. Therefore, he had an idea of developing a small machine that produces those pies in under 5 mins to sell it to small-to-medium scale businesses and approached my university to assign students to work on it as their cap stone project.
The making process typically consists of feeding/cutting/shaping the lower dough layer + feeding the fillings + feeding/cutting/shaping the upper dough layer + crimping the layers. I led a team of 3 engineering students to design an automated desktop machine to do this process in the target time and presented to the client (see the first gallery - it shows the development of the design from the first concept to the final design).
In addition, we proposed to the client to steer away from an automated machine and opt for a manual machine that can do the exact same process with 80% less cost. We proposed two designs for this manual machine and prototyped one of them as a proof of concept - see the 2nd photo gallery.