BURN Jikokoa Charcoal Cookstove

 

Overview

I’ve worked with Burn Manufacturing as a full-time mechanical engineer continuously since January 2015 and intermittently since June 2013, including a 6-month co-op and 3-month internship.  As part of a 4-person engineering design team, I’ve worked on an extremely varied set of challenges.   I worked primarily on the manufacturing engineering for the Jikokoa charcoal cookstove:  developing stamping tooling, assembly jigs, and other equipment for manufacturing the stove in our factory in Kenya.  In total, I’ve spent 18 months with the Vashon-based R&D team and 8 months with the Nairobi-based Manufacturing team.

Cookstove Manufacturing Design: Vashon, WA

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  • MANUFACTURING EQUIPMENT DEVELOPMENT:  Designed and fabricated dedicated machines and mission-critical tooling for manufacturing operations including an automated parts-washer/dryer, sheet metal punching and forming tools, drilling and welding fixtures, quality-inspection tools, and powder-coating fixtures.
  • EQUIPMENT SPEC & SOURCING:  Researched, vetted, and arranged orders for $300,000 of production machinery and tooling from domestic, Chinese, and Italian manufacturers, including stamping presses, forming presses, spot welders, and CNC mills.
  • PROCESS RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT:  Investigated and developed optimal process parameters for key operations including spot welding schedules and tooling, powder-coat application techniques for reclaim efficiency, and tab-and-slot geometry for sheet metal joints without fasteners.
  • COOKSTOVE DESIGN-FOR-MANUFACTURING:  Transformed prototype cookstove designs into precisely toleranced production models as part of a 4-person design team.  Modified designs to reduce complexity and minimize production cost and capital requirements: Added self-locating features, combined parts where appropriate, and incorporated recommendations from tooling manufacturers.

 

Cookstove Manufacturing Engineering: Nairobi Kenya

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  • PROCESS IMPROVEMENT & DOCUMENTATION:  Optimized assembly operations for safety, quality, and speed, achieving a 2.5x increase in production capacity over 6 months bringing production rates over 10,000 units per month. Created detailed work-instructions and trained operators and quality inspectors, achieving a 90% reduction in powder-coating defects over 2 months.
  • MACHINE INSTALLATION & MAINTENANCE:  Commissioned over 20 new and used machines for production.  Developed preventative maintenance schedules and spare parts inventory system.  Trained maintenance technicians on preventative maintenance and diagnosis of mechanical and electrical failures.
  • FACTORY LAYOUT DESIGN: Developed space-efficient floor-plans for factory expansion based on work-station footprints, material flow, utility distribution, and worker preferences.  Specced and installed electrical, plumbing, and air utilities.
  • ERGONOMIC WORK STATION DESIGN: Worked with factory operators to customize their workspaces for optimal safety, comfort, and performance.  Designed and fabricated dedicated tools, benches, carts, to meet operators’ needs.

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