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Consolidation of Deep Carpet Cleaner and Vacuum Cleaner: A Capstone Project to Investigate and Recommend Needed Improvements

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2020 ASEE North Central Section conference


Morgantown, West Virginia

Publication Date

March 27, 2020

Start Date

March 27, 2020

End Date

May 20, 2020

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Andrew James Ballard

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Nathaniel P Fenwick


Betsy M. Aller Western Michigan University

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Betsy M. Aller is an associate professor in engineering management and manufacturing at Western Michigan University, where she coordinates capstone design project courses, and has developed and teaches a graduate course in project management and a course in manufacturing for sustainability. Dr. Aller’s research interests include professional development of students to enter and succeed in the engineering workplace, and enhancing engineering and technology-related experiences for women and minorities.

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A senior capstone project investigated shortcomings in combination vacuum / wet cleaning systems that purportedly remove dry debris and pet hair while performing wet cleaning of dirty surfaces. Having confirmed that these systems may promise more than they can deliver, the team explored the possibility of genuinely consolidating a vacuum cleaning system and a deep cleaning system. An effective consolidation would allow for the two methods of cleaning simultaneously, reducing process time and increasing customer satisfaction. Using a base model deep cleaner as a foundation, the team performed extensive testing to verify current lack of performance, and then followed the engineering design process to theorize, design, and test a proposed consolidation of the two functions and improvements. The use of computer-aided design (CAD) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software allowed for accurate design creation and analysis. This multidisciplinary senior project drew on team members’ experience and skills acquired in their undergrad programs while pushing them to proactively seek out as-yet unfamiliar software and techniques. Like all capstone project teams, a final formal presentation was required, and the team had to find a way to convey the highly technical nature of the project in a way that satisfied their engineering specialists, while still making the project relevant and interesting to the broad audience attending their presentation. The team feels the combination of exacting technical design and manufacturing skills, proactive research, and communicating specialized knowledge and findings to multiple audiences has well-prepared them for similar challenges to come in industry.

Ballard, A. J., & Fenwick, N. P., & Aller, B. M. (2020, March), Consolidation of Deep Carpet Cleaner and Vacuum Cleaner: A Capstone Project to Investigate and Recommend Needed Improvements Paper presented at 2020 ASEE North Central Section conference, Morgantown, West Virginia.

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