2019 Team21

Project Overview  |  Proof of Concept  |  Final Design  |  Fabrication  |  Testing and Results  |  Meet the Team  |  Acknowledgements

Project Overview

Sierra Autoload will be working with a company that produces disposable plastic lenses. When the disposable plastic lenses are produced, often times post processing of the lens is required. The lenses must maintain a level of clarity for end use during the automation process; therefore, a feeder bowl or conveyor where parts are allowed to rub and scratch each other cannot be used. Sierra Autoload plans to design and create an automated loading system consisting of a magazine and a feeder system. The feeder system will consist of a loading tray controlling the feed rate, while a motor will be controlling the speed of the feeder. The whole system will be automated up until the magazine is full. Once the magazine is full, a staff member will take it out of its fixture and replace it with an empty magazine.


Proof of Concept

The target market for Sierra Autoload’s design consists of the industrial automated manufacturing market. The target market is primarily based around companies that use automated processes for sensitive and fragile components.

Primary competitors in the market consist mainly of automation process contractors and part designers. Companies such as Rockwell Automation and Premier Automation Contractors work with businesses to provide either individual parts, or integrated systems for automated manufacturing plants. Competition is present, however limited due to it being in a unique market.

As a team, Sierra Autoload has brainstormed multiple ways to better provide the customer with a product that maximizes production efficiency. Sierra Autoload will continue to research automation parts and systems in an effort to provide the best product possible to its customers.

The concept design by Sierra Autoload demonstrates a design idea of a magazine system capable of loading cartridges as they are created by an injection molding machine. Part of the proof of concept is a physical test model that aims to model the functions of the final design. There are several objectives the proof of concept hopes to prove.

First, it aims to prove that the magazine will index the thickness of one single cartridge accurately. Second the test must prove the motor is capable of raising and lowering the expected maximum weight of the cartridges.

The major function that the test model aims to perform is the movement of the plate that prevents lenses from simply free falling into the magazine when released from the arm. The test model uses the stepper motor, plate, and lead screw that are intended to be used in the final design to prove that the motor can accurately position and control the location of the plate when loaded.


Final design

The concept design by Sierra Autoload demonstrates a design idea of a magazine system capable of loading cartridges as they are created by an injection molding machine. The injection mold will create twelve parts each cycle. The auto loading system must index and stack parts accordingly. Each cycle runs about thirty to forty seconds. The parts must be collected into a container that can then be flipped upside down and placed into an automated machine for post processing. Sierra Autoload’s model uses a stepper motor, lifter plate, and lead screw to lower parts down the magazine. An extruded aluminum frame supports the magazines and nests for the assembly as well as a guiding mechanism for the lead screw lifting system.




Testing and Results



Meet the Team

Alex Estrada

Alex is a UNR mechanical engineering student from Reno, NV. The most challenging engineering project that Alex has been on was a group-work electromagnetic geophysics (EMG) project, in which his team was tasked to build and control a vehicle using EMG technology. Through the course of the project, Alex was introduced to the concept of writing basic code for the first time. Alex has since improved his code writing abilities through continuation courses such as Introduction to Computer Methods, and Applied Numerical Methods.

Alex was recently tasked to lead an 8-person team of civil engineers from the 152nd Airlift Squadron during a routine temporary duty exercise in in Wahiawa, Hawaii. During this period, Alex and his team installed trusses, decking and gutters for a 3,500 sq. ft. community housing complex in four days, allowing for a smooth rotation for shingle installation for the next squadron tasked to complete the project. This project allowed Opportunities and Resources Inc., a nonprofit organization to provide relief and promote the general welfare of the disabled, elderly, and disadvantaged local population of Wahiawa, HI.

Alex’s current goals include attaining a bachelor’s of Mechanical Engineering degree, commissioning in the Nevada Air National Guard and continuing to provide humanitarian relief around the world.


Mitchell Johnson

Mitchell is currently a senior mechanical engineering student with an internship at an injection molding facility. One of the most challenging projects Mitchell has worked on was developing systems and optimizing automated processes for manufacturing. Mitchell used his skills from mechanical design, fluids and systems to optimize the design and manufacturing process. Throughout the time spent at the university Mitchell has improved his knowledge of mechanical systems and manufacturing.

Born and raised in the North Lake Tahoe area Mitchell, first moved to Santa Cruz California for school before transferring to University of Nevada Reno to pursue mechanical engineering. After graduation Mitchell plans to move to Seattle Washington and work with automated systems.





Christian Arzadon

Christian has been involved in a plethora of engineering projects, ranging from simple to challenging concepts. The most challenging project Christian has worked on was designing a mobile floating dock on a lake in Canada. The dock had to maintain its integrity through rough waters, in addition to being moved to land when Canadian winter storms froze the lake five feet deep. This project required Christian to apply analytical techniques on how to make the dock stable, yet mobile. This required the use of structural equations, in addition to dynamic equations to account for the constant motion of the water.

Throughout his years at The University of Nevada, Reno, Christian has developed the knowledge and skills to acquire his certification in SolidWorks, write code in programs such as Matlab, and apply analytical skills and knowledge to various engineering problems and applications. Christian uses his knowledge while working in the HVAC and plumbing industry to assist customers with design solutions.

Christian was born in Houston, Texas, and later moved to Gardnerville, Nevada where he attended high school. Christian currently lives in Reno, Nevada, where he is pursuing his degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduation Christian plans to move back to Texas in hopes of becoming an engineer in the HVAC industry.


Marcelo Mendieta

Marcelo has been in many projects but the project he had the most challenge in was designing an office building. In this project he had to meet the requirements on how many people would fit inside this building, the transportation system to and from the building and the landscape surrounding the structure. This required a lot of research as to which materials would be best suited for the building and which equations needed for the support structures in the building. In this project, Marcelo used his skills in SolidWorks to design the entire project. In the computer model, Marcelo ran tests on the support structures of the building using the FEA analysis on SolidWorks. Over his years at the University of Nevada, Reno, Marcelo has acquired many skills such as writing code on Matlab, becoming certified in SolidWorks and learning how to use different manufacturing tools such as mills and lathes.

An accomplishment Marcelo has achieved was when he realized he impacted a class of 8th graders. He realized he made an impact on the class when the students and the parents shook his hand for the help he gave to the 8th graders.

Marcelo was born in Fremont, California but grew up and attended elementary and high school in Lodi, California. He then moved to Reno, Nevada to pursue engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno. His current goal is to finish school and earn his bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduating, Marcelo plans to become an engineer working with prosthetics for children.


Stephen Patti

During recent years, Stephen has had many opportunities to improve and expand his engineering skills. Recently, during the summer of 2018 he worked as a project engineering intern for Southland Industries, a mechanical contractor. At the start of this internship, he had very little knowledge about mechanical systems in buildings and how to design them. He and the other interns working for Southland were placed on competing teams and given a project. They were tasked with submitting a full response to a request for proposal on an actual project Southland had undertaken in the past. The project was to completely renovate and redesign the mechanical systems in an old government building. This was an incredibly challenging experience as they had only a few months to learn from the ground up how to design systems, estimate labor and materials, find subcontractors, build a project delivery schedule, and the many tasks that go into a real project. The interns had a few classes throughout the summer to give them a basic understanding of how to do some of these tasks but there was much Stephen had to learn to do by working and talking with other engineers in Southland. By the end of the project he had learned many things such as the UBC plumbing code, how to design systems in Revit, and how to estimate and budget a project. The project culminated with the teams presenting their bids for the project to Southland’s best executives and managers and trying to win the bid. Stephen’s team won the competition after a very difficult bidding process. This project used all of Stephen’s analytical and engineering skills to design a solution to a large problem.

Stephen was born in Pleasanton CA, but moved to the town of Newcastle, CA at a young age. Stephen then grew up in the Sacramento area. After high school, he stayed in the area and attended Sierra College for two years. During those two years stephen made the Dean’s List for several semesters because of his high GPA.

After graduating, Stephen plans to either stay in Reno or move to Boise, ID where his family moved recently.  He plans to start his engineering career either in the field of robotics or mechanical contracting. Eventually, his goal is to transition into sales engineering or project management.