Designing a Mechatronic Popcorn MPS

Calum Knott
Jul 31, 2019 · 2 min read

For the 2019 WorldSkills UK Mechatronic Team Selection competition in March, I wanted to design a modular production line that — that produced popcorn (and drinks)

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The completed System

The System needed to be capable of dispensing & weighing popcorn kernals, transferring them into a popcorn popper, and then popping them

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The system (as seen in the GIF) was comprised of 5 tasks, spread over 3 days (14 hours build time)

The competitors build up the system, starting with the simplest system, and then moving on to the more complex features as the days progress.

The system ejects a pot from a magazine, checks if it is the right way up usign an analog IR height sensor, then transfers it to the filling area, on station 2. It then either fills with popcorn, or liquid, depending on the choice selected from the HMI. — The the pot is transfered back to the 1st station, and then onto the 3rd station. At this point the system allows you to pump the popcorn down to the popcorn popper, and then the popcorn popper is turned on using a networked plug socket (240v)

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The system included a Popcorn popper, and a pneumatic transfer system

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It included a peristaltic pump, for transferring liquid to the pots in precise amounts

And then Finally, a solution was needed to allow the 24v system to control the 240v popper. A Standard relay could not be used, because the competition rules prohibit 240v work.

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If you made it this far, you probably deserve a video of the finished system.

This video was shot by my 2019 competitors Jack Dakin and Danny Slater — Please excuse the mess, it was a long week.

Please exuse the mess!

Bonus Video — Coco the cat, unimpressed our living room was full of equipment.

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