Automation of coolant agent extraction in refrigerators
Abstract: Refrigerators contains something called CFC which is a gas that depletes the ozone layer if it is not handled correctly. The recycling of refrigerators has therefore a lot of regulations surrounding it, making it extremely important to have full control over the recycling process. The pre- treatment process of refrigerator recycling is today a fully manual process. This introduces high amounts of physical strain on the employees, especially in the compressor removal stage. This project focused therefor on developing conceptual ideas for automating or semi-automating the pre-treatment process at the Stena Nordic Recycling Hub in Halmstad, Sweden. Since there are no automated pre-treatment manufacturing lines in the recycling industry today regarding refrigerators, a theoretical review on related areas was done. Visits to the plant were made and employees were interviewed about the current process. In the end two concepts were presented as suitable ideas for automating the process to an extent that removes the major physical strain of the production line but still contains the control of the process. One concept for the stage of removing the compressor and one concept for the production line as a whole. The compressor removal concept utilizes an articulated robot equipped with a claw that is controlled by an image analysis system.
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