University of Twente Student Theses


Optimizing the Polyester Cargo Box of the Mobile Solar Kiosk

Berga, Geeske (2008) Optimizing the Polyester Cargo Box of the Mobile Solar Kiosk.

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Abstract:Netherlands. The assignment is carried out on behalf of a small Cambodian company, named Kamworks, founded by the Dutch charity foundation Pico Sol. Kamworks is specialized in solar energy and is situated in the rural areas of Cambodia, 30 km south of Phnom Penh. The Cambodian economy is still recovering from the civil war in the 1970’s. In rural areas 40 to 45 % of the people live below the poverty line. Many people are poorly educated or not educated at all, which leads to high unemployment rates especially in the rural areas. Furthermore, less than 9% of the rural Cambodian have access to a proper and reliable electricity grid. In rural areas small diesel generators serve as charging stations for car batteries which makes electricity rather expensive. Also petrol products, like gasoline and kerosene are used for lighting. All in all, the rural people’s means for living are polluting and unhealthy. Kamworks tries to improve this situation by developing small solar products for rural people, e.g. solar lights, and by offering employment. The previous years, these goals led to the development of a distribution concept for solar products under the name of Kamunasal in the rural area of Kandal province, which won a World bank Prize. The concept in short: Young people from the province are trained in a four week course to become a Micro-Entrepreneur at Kamworks and sell the Kamunasal products. For this purpose stationary stalls and a market bike were developed. This market bike is subject for this bachelor graduation project. The market bike was the result of the graduation project of Miriam Reitenbach. She used an old bike for the frame and glass fi ber reinforced plastics for the cargo box. This box was not reproducible and thus it required redesigning to make it suitable for a small serial production at Kamworks. Therefore, the goal of the assignment is to redesign the market bike for Cambodian Micro-Entrepreneurs to distribute solar products in the rural areas of Cambodia, and make this bike suitable for serial production. This project asked for knowledge about glass fiber reinforced plastics, the Cambodian economy and trends and of course the cultural aspects which influences the way of working at Kamworks, economy, every day life, et cetera. Because Cambodia does have slim to non expertise in composites, this project was started with a small internship at NPSP Composites in Haarlem, to gain experience with and knowledge about composites. This knowledge proved valuable during the time in Cambodia. Furthermore, literature and the reports of previous students were examined thoroughly, to get insight in Cambodia’s economy, the products of Kamworks and the distribution model. The experience of being on Cambodian grounds helped to understand the decisions made by preceding students and Kamworks. The Khmer participants of the Micro-Entrepreneurial course served as subjects in user tests with the original Mobile Solar Kiosk. These tests were performed in order to see whether design adjustments were recommended. The subjects were also asked about the appearance of the bike. These tests resulted in valuable information for the rest of the project. To get insight in the production situation and possibilities, tests with composites were performed at the workshop of Kamworks. Soon it became clear that the composite work situation at Kamworks is still very primitive, which asked for a flexible, easy-to-adjust, design approach. The results of the research done on aforementioned levels was translated in a new concept of the cargo box. The box was placed on a bike frame which was redesigned by Jeroen Jansen. The combination of frame and bike is colored corresponding with the Kamunasal brand. The new concept makes better use of the characteristics of the glass fi ber reinforced material, such as form freedom and a high quality surface finish. In order to achieve a satisfying prototype, the production process was adjusted. It was necessary to produce the positive form or so-called plug in a different way to achieve a high surface quality. A major difference with the old production process is that the positive form remained intact and can be used over and over again. Furthermore, the positive mold does have mold division lines, but they are not visible in the final product. Also the shape is much more complex. By means of the user tests and interviews with Micro-Entrepreneurs the shape was defined. During prototyping a fl exible approach was applied. The design was adjusted a few times to cope with some unforeseen problems. Especially problems with the paint layer of the plug and the mold releasing asked for radical changes in the mold design. The final mold combination now contains four mold parts instead of the three mold parts in the initial concept. The fi nal prototype is an electric market bike, with a polyester cargo box and a sun-blocking roof. Compared to the existing mobile stores, this market bike is much lighter due to the composite material which makes the bike easy to steer. The redesigned frame with its damping system enables the driver to drive along bumpy roads. The electric system makes it possible to cover large distances on rough terrain. The batteries can be recharged by solar energy which makes the bike less polluting than conventional mobiles stores, using moto’s on gasoline. The cargo box is fi t with a product display in the lid, onto which products can be attached. This way the public can see the products. In the cargo box all sorts of products can be placed, from large to small products. Also, the equipment of the Micro-Entrepreneur can be stored. At the moment the prototype is used to further develop the final product. Therefore, to help Kamworks employees and possible future students achieve better results during the production of the cargo box or new composite products for the Kamunasal brand, all the actions and recommendations for producing the plug, the molds and the final products are described in a manual.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Kamworks bv
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:21 art forms
Programme:Industrial Design BSc (56955)
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