DEVELOPING A FURNITURE TEST MACHINE ACCORDING TO NATIONAL STANDARDS : ENSURING QUALITY AND CREDIBILITY FOR THE SMEES IN SOUTH AFRICA
Abstract: In South Africa where the unemployment is immense, Small Micro and Medium enterprises (SMMEs) provide more than half of all job opportunities. Furntech, a non-profit organisation that works with vocational training and incubation within the furniture manufacturing sector in South Africa, wants to expand their testing laboratory with a machine to test mattresses according to local standards. The aim of this project is to develop a machine design to test innerspring mattresses by using product development methodology. Observations, interviews, and visits at companies in the furniture manufacturing sector is conducted to understand the needs from the user- and mechanical aspects. Existing and required additional parts to support the functionality for the test bedding machine has been evaluated by calculations and simulations by using for example ABAQUS and JACK. A design is produced that meets the local standards by developing the existing table test machine in Furntech’s laboratory and is presented in a CAD-model. A scissor lift controls the vertical adjustment of the platform and an electric ball screw cylinder controls the compression of the mattresses. Instruction manuals, a graphical interface design, flowcharts and drawings of some of the parts has also been produced.
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