ME 219, or the Magic of Manufacturing, looks to take mechanical engineering theory to practice by understanding how parts are made. Looking at the objects around us, especially the less expensive ones, there is often a dismissal of the intricacies that not only created the parts but allowed them to be created cost-effectively. Deconstructing parts sheds light on both the intricacies as well as the beauty of manufacturing processes. Below you can see the deconstruction and an investigation into how the pieces of the Veggetti Power Spiralizer are made.
Veggetti Power Spiralizer:
How its made:
- Injection Molding
- Plastic components – injection molded and assembled using press fit tabs or screws
- Metal Lamination
- Electromagnet Motor Stator – Laminated metal sheets reduce Eddie currents and improve efficiency of motor
- Sheet Metal Processing
- Cutting blades stamped, pressed and finished using sheet metal processes
Sheet Metal Investigation:
Looking deeper at the metal blades, we sought to follow the tells of the pieces and understand the manufacturing process further. Under a microscope we found several tells that hinted at the process:
- Spiralizing Blades – assembly of two sheet metal pieces via spot welding
- Tells: While the box indicated stainless steel, the pieces were clearly plated as can be seen by both the flaking and uneven edges that can occur with electroplating
- Material: With the current microscope, we could not determine the exact material; however, research showed that nickle is the most common for the food and beverage industry.
- Manufacturing: Barrel Plating – while the pieces don’t give any indications, this is the most common and cost effective method for small pieces such as the blades
- Method: Electroplating most common for small parts. Electroless (chemical) plating could be used with barrel plating for better coating thickness; however, it is less common and adopted by industry.
- Grinding Large Blade
- When: Post plating as plating texture does not cover blade surface and small chips can be seen on the edges between the grinding and plating
- Why: To create a sharp enough edge to consistently cut vegetables
- Small Blade Edge
- What: The edge on the small blades does not have the same grinding striations as the large blade. In addition, the edge is more rounded and uneven. As a result, this is likely the result of sheet metal notching, or the act of pressing the edge of sheet metal to make a thinner edge.
- When: This is most likely done prior to plating, as there is no additional chipping near the notch. In addition, it would be more cost effective to complete all sheet metal processing as one process before plating.
- Assembly using Spot Welds
- When: Plating does not create any webs at the intersection of the two metal pieces. In addition, the spot welds contain the most chipping. As a result, assembly of the two pieces is most likely done post barrel plating.
- How: Spot welds are only seen on one side of the blade assembly – the thin sheet metal side. This is likely due to being done with one side resistance spot welding. The combination of heat only being applied from the top and the poor thermal conductivity of stainless steal would account for no distortions on the back side of the assembly.