During the summer of 2015, a group of mechanical engineering
students identified an issue with the systems used to load a
motorcycle into a pickup truck—namely that currently available
products were cumbersome, dangerous, and easily stolen. The Ramp
NV system was originally designed to fit within a pickup truck tailgate
and telescope to the ground, however, budgetary and design
constraints caused the group to pivot towards a design that utilizes a
single ramp nested within an enclosure that is permanently mounted
in the pickup bed.
This design requires far less modification to the truck itself and
can be installed in less than 15 minutes. The ramp system utilizes the
entire length of the truck bed in combination with an expanded mesh
surface and telescoping internal structure to provide a user-friendly
and intuitive setup that can be safely operated by one user. Ramp NV
is one of a select number of projects that are nominated for the 2016
Owen Stedham Best Capstone Project Award. For more information
and a demonstration of the ramp operation, visit the Ramp NV booth
outside of Lawlor Events Center on Innovation Day, May 6th, 2016.
Phase I: Design Inputs
- The purpose of Phase I was to elucidate the required design inputs for the Ramp NV system in order to achieve the items laid out in the Product Requirement Specifications (PRS).
- Some products that are similar in scope to the Ramp-It-Up are
- According to the PRS, the following items were required to be completed:
- Be able to deploy the ramp in under one minute.
- Less than 20 pounds of force required to extend and retract ramp with some debris in the tracks.
- A load capacity of 1500 pounds.
- The ramp’s mesh material having a coefficient of friction of 0.85 for traction and safety.
- The ramp fits in the bed of a 2011 Dodge Ramp 1500 with unmodified suspension.
- The ramp and sleeve reach a notable final position when fully extended or enclosed.
- The ramp is to remain securely in the bed through regular off road use.
- The ramp requires minimal effort for maintenance and cleanliness.
- Ergonomic design of the ramp system for ease of use.
- Anchor points on the enclosure to secure a dirt bike.
- Non-slip coating on top of the enclosure to increase safety and aid in loading and unloading.
- Market Research: Some similar products existed, but were either too bulky or prohibitively expensive.
- Shark Kage
- Concept selection:
- Concept drawings:
- Proof of Concept Testing:
Phase II: Design Outputs
- The purpose of Phase II was to connect the design inputs to specific outputs in order to most efficiently complete the items set forth in the PRS.
- Assembly Drawing:
- Part Drawings:
Phase III: Verification and Validation
- The purpose of Phase 3 was to verify and validate the design inputs and corresponding outputs in relation to their fulfillment of the PRS.
Phase 4: Introduction into Manufacturing
- The purpose of Phase IV was to manufacture a prototype of the Ramp-It-Up that fulfills the requirements set forth in the PRS.
- Fabrication process:
- Fabrication of the Ramp-It-Up involved welding, machining, grinding, and cutting of raw material in order to combine them into the prototype. Certain parts, such as the truss-style side members in the sleeve, were cut with a waterjet machine to achieve the desired shape and necessary dimensional accuracy of the part.
- Manufacturing technologies utilized:
- The combination of the raw materials was achieved using Miller 211 MIG welding kit using an argon CO2 shielding gas with .030 wire.
- Milwaukee grinder with 60 grit abrasive flapper attachment.
- The Ramp NV project was very successful, completing the requirements set forth in the PRS.
- Future Activities: The Ramp-It-Up will remain in the Dodge Ram 1500 for which it was built and could potentially be used as a prototype for a ramp manufacturing organization in the future. Additional features will include integrated toolboxes and a drawer insert that can be used when the ramp system is not in use.
- Christopher Rosa (Team Leader): Christopher’s future plans include breaking stuff really well.
- Matthew Allen: Matthew Allen works as an engineer at Twisted Metal Industries and plans to continue working there after graduation.
- Alex Schwartz: Alex’s future plans including working in the energy production industry on steam turbines.
- Zack Poindexter: Zack will be continuing to work for NuVasive Spine Company, and hopes to continue working the medical device industry.
- Nick Pavone: Nick is a 4th year Mechanical Engineering student from Reno, Nevada. He will be returning to school for an additional year at the University of Nevada, Reno to complete a Master Degree in Business Administration.