QFD and Measureable Design Targets (Report #2)

Category: , By Mike
In order to assess our progress and performance for our Capstone Design Project, we created a Quality Function Deployment (QFD) chart. This chart will be used throughout the project to guide us and help gauge our development. In this chart we have included the concerned parties and topics that are relevant to our design. We have also included three of our competitor’s designs, in order to compare out design’s results and capabilities to others in the market. The specifications are assigned units deemed appropriate to easily access performance. The QFD created for the gasifier is shown below as Figure 1.

Fig. 1 QFD chart for biomass gasifier.

The four parties that have an interest in our design are the user, the manufacturer, the marketing department, and the maintenance personnel. The user is ultimately our customer. The consumer’s opinion and satisfaction is very important to the design of the project because if the customer is not happy with the product, then it will not be purchased and the end product will be unsuccessful. The manufacturer’s assessment is important because the easier it is for a product to be manufactured, the cheaper the end cost of the product will be. It is also important that the product is manufactured with such material and in a manner to ensure a safe, high quality product. The marketing department will be the medium between the consumer and the engineer. Their expertise will help the development of our product to meet the consumer’s needs and desires. After the product is in use, the maintenance personnel will be the person responsible for upkeep and repairs the product. It is important that we design a product that will be able to be repaired on location safely and with minimal difficulty.

The parameters that govern our design have been chosen to gauge the functional performance of our product. The sales price must be kept to a minimum so that consumers will be encouraged to purchase the product. This is an important aspect of our design because most of the competitor’s products are of a much larger scale and therefore much more expensive. The collectable Syngas output is an important parameter because this is the Syngas is the desired end result of our product. The physical size, like the price, is also an important parameter in our design because of our desire to market the product as a compact, household item. Our competitor’s products are all of much larger scales and therefore not practical for average consumer usage. The insulation of the chamber directly correlates with the efficiency. Any energy loss through heat will reduce the efficiency of the unit. Being that this product will be marketed to the general public, it is important that the end result is as simple to assemble and operate as possible. It is important that the consumer be educated on the use of the product and its possible hazards. Safety is a top priority in the design of our product. We do not want our consumers to be at risk of injury while operating the product. The gasification efficiency is an important parameter because if the efficiency is too low, the product will be a failure. The resulting energy generated by the product will be too low to justify its use. Lastly, manufacturability is a crucial aspect of any product. Having a product that is easily manufactured is a key element to keeping costs low as well as maintenance of the product.

There are eight important measurable design targets in our QFD chart. These are used to measure tangible results or goals. The first target is cost, which is to be measured in dollars. The next target is size. The size of the entire system will be measured in cubic meters. The capturable gas measurement is the amount of useful Syngas energy per unit time that results from the pyrolisis of the biomass. We chose to use Kilowatts as our units because most of the competitor’s measure their output during a continuous biomass feed process. Because the biomass is continuously fed into the units, it is difficult to measure the instantaneous energy. The amount of energy lost through heat loss of the products is measured in a percentage. If all the energy is lost though heat loss the percentage will be 100%. The combined heat and power efficiency is also measured in percentage. This is the percentage of potential biomass energy that is converted into usable Syngas energy. The number of system components is measured because it shows the complexity of the total unit. The manufacturing difficulty will be measured on a scale from one to ten, ten being the most difficult to manufacture. This gives us a concrete idea of the range of difficulty between the competitor’s designs and ours. The working pressure is measured in Pascals. This relates to safety because if the pressure exceeds a certain limit there could be an explosion.

We researched our competitor’s websites to determine the products that are in the marketplace now that closely relate to our design. After narrowing the products down to three candidates, we researched them to acquire performance specifications. Being that biomass gasifiers are not used widely today, it was difficult to find much information about performance. Many of the performance values for the competitors had to be estimated. These estimates are denoted by parenthesis in the chart. Their performance was ranked from one to eight, eight being the most important parameter for that particular design.

Sources
  • Crorey Alternative Fuels (Link)
  • Tom’s Woodgas Stove (Link)
  • Biomax 15 (Link, PDF)
  • Dept of Energy, Small-Modular Gasification (Link)
  • Study on performance of biomass gasifier-engine systems (Link)