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2019-20 Senior Design Capstone Projects



AGCO Dry Spreader Rate Sensor - Scott Cowan, Jayden Waldner, Joshua Irvin
Sponsor: AGCO
Project Maturity: 1st Semester

AGCO is one of the leading global manufacturers of agricultural equipment and implements with a strong presence in the chemical application market. Currently, AGCO offers a product flow rate sensing system for their granular fertilizer spreaders that consists of a Dickey-John sensor, which outputs the linear speed of a belt chain carrying the granular product from a hopper by converting the rotational speed of a hydraulic drive motor to calculate the tangential speed of the drive sprocket. The product carried from the hopper by the belt chain discharges through a rectangular cross-section gate before being distributed to either a rotary or pneumatic conveyance systems depending on the configuration of the machine. Assuming that the product cross-section is the same as the gate cross-section, the mass flow of the product can be determined using the speed calculated by the Dickey-John sensor, cross-sectional profile of the product and the density of the product. The primary drawback to this rate sensing system is that it lacks the ability to directly measure product flow rate as it does not interface directly with the product. In addition, the current system is incapable of detecting conditions of no product flow due to a backup at the gate, the bin running empty, or the chain breaking since the only measurement taken by the current sensor is the rotary speed of the hydraulic drive motor, which will continue to rotate regardless of whether or not the product is flowing. To address the shortcomings of the current rate sensing system, a method of direct mass flow sensing is to be determined. This will be accomplished by constructing a scaled down test bed to replicate AGCO's granular spreader and test several sensor options to determine which option produces optimal mass flow readings. 

Self-propelled Sprayer Crop Protection - Michael Hansen, Tate Ketelhut
Sponsor: CNH Benson
Project Maturity: 1st Semester

Case New Holland is a global equipment manufacturer who produces numerous different product lines. In 1998, Case IH acquired Tyler Manufacturing, who started the patriot self-propelled sprayer line. This line is still manufactured in Benson, MN. With the current precision agriculture technologies, minimizing crop damage caused by machinery has become a concern to maximize yields. CNH offers a bolt-on wheel shield, which minimizes amount of crop that gets run over by the sprayer tires. The structural performance on the current crop shield isn't meeting the lifespan desired by CNH. The current design is also hard to manufacture and not easily removable, which is hindersome for both CNH manufacturing and the end user. CNH has requested a new design for the internal shield structure that provides increased lifespan, ease of manufacturability and toolless connection. The new design will be constructed out of formed tubing to minimize weld joints and increase manufacturability. Also, a concept for toolless disconnection will be presented to allow for ease of installation and dismount. Testing will be conducted with a patriot 4440 using similar practices to that of the current shield. Strain gauges and accelerometers will be attached to the structure, then it will be driven over a test course. The lifespan of the new shield can be calculated from our testing data. We will also be able to compare our testing data against CNH's previous data. this concept will provide CNH with an improved design that can withstand the tough conditions faced during operation. It will also offer easier installation and dismount for the operators. 

Lake Mitchell Water Quality - Nick Fuhr, Blake Wolters
Sponsor: City of Mitchell
Project Maturity: 1st Semester

Lake Mitchell of Mitchell, SD, is a 690-plus-acre lake created in 1928 on Firesteel Creek to be used as the city's primary water source. Today, it is no longer used as a potable water source, and recreational activity has declined due to water quality issues. Both Firesteel Creek and Lake Mitchell are listed on the state's list of "impaired water bodies." The project scope is to assist the city in the design of 200-plus acres of land/waterway of Firesteel Creek to improve water quality, concerning mainly phosphorus levels. Using LiDAR data and USGS flow rates, the team will develop a system of control structures that will allow for settling of phosphorus particles in the creek before they enter the lake. As flow rate is a function of velocity and area, the addition of a control structure will provide a way to increase the area of the flow and decrease the velocity, which will stimulate more settling. Approximately 370 acres of upstream land were recently purchased by the city, along with the acquirement of a shoreline easement of Firesteel Creek with landowners. Samples from 2018 showed that the historic channel valley of the lake holds up to 7 feet of previously accumulated sediment, but it is unclear as of now if dredging or capping will be within the scope of the current project. The early concept of the project is to use a low-head dam in combination with a sluice gate further upstream to be able to raise and lower water levels to facilitate the removal of phosphorus-collecting vegetation and sediment to prevent its reentry to the system. Vegetation along the creek easement will be selected to act as a phosphorus hyperaccumulator. LiDAR and hydrologic data will be analyzed with ArcGIS at various flowrate scenarios. 

Vermeer Powered Windguard - Bennett Peterson, Jacob Filk 
Sponsor: Vermeer Corporation
Project Maturity: 2nd Semester

Vermeer Corporation is an international manufacturing company based out of Pella, IA, that focuses on niche markets. Vermeer has a very extensive forage division that provides high-quality products ranging from cutting and conditioning to baling crops, which include grass, straw and cornstalks. The forage division offers a Corn Stalk Special baler to maximize productivity in hard-to-bale crops. The pickup, windguard and main frame interaction have changed substantially from the old model and does not allow for the old powered windguard to be installed in the baler. Major challenges with the new design will be achieving proper interaction of the powered windguard and crop while not interfering with the new windguard and pickup operation. The Corn Stalk Special baler has been offered for several models of balers and it is important to continue offering this option to customers for increased productivity. The new design must achieve a throughput of 80 bales/hour, be comparable in cost for sale in an aftermarket kit option and be easily removable. Two unique designs will be developed and tested, then a recommendation will be given to Vermeer in December 2019. These designs will be created in SolidWorks in order to provide a final proof of concept for Vermeer that they can easily modify into a production-level final design.