Jake Salgado, a senior metallurgical engineering student, works full-time in professor Raj Rajamani’s development lab. Salgado and Rajamani are working on an automatic, scrap-metal sorting machine. When asked his role on the team, Salgado replied, “I am an engineer at heart. I like to build things. I identify what we are doing in the processing of metal and make it better by any means.”
Salgado made changes to the technological design and processes to reduce cost and increase efficiency. He designed two key components that reduced costs by two-thirds and cut production time from two weeks to eight hours.
While maintaining the same geometrical design that the team decided on, Salgado designed a new way to produce the magnet for the inner core of the machine. Rather than using nine magnets, he used 18 rectangular pillars and three pyramid shapes. As a result, this increased consistency and reproducibility of the process.
Salgado also designed a 3-D printed shape that would feed metal into the magnetic field. Before Salgado’s design, the process required something strong to guide the metal into the machine. Unless it was being sorted, there could not be anything metallic next to the magnetic field, so they could not use anything metal as the guide. Through Salgado’s contributions, the team was able to advance their technology to achieve alloy metal sorting on a large scale.
“We will have the ability to greatly influence current scrap recycling markets and possibly create new markets with the expanded capabilities of this exciting, new technology,” he said.
Find this article and a lot more in the 2018 “Student Innovation @ the U” report. The publication is presented by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate student innovators, change-makers and entrepreneurs.