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Bread Bagging Device for User with Hemiparesis

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Contents

Situation

Figure 1: The bread prior to bag loading
Figure 1: The bread prior to bag loading

The client is able to perform many of the required tasks involved in his job, but was having great difficulty bagging the bread, due to the client's limited use use of his left arm. This duty must be performed throughout the workday as soon as fresh bread comes from the ovens. Given that the bakery is at a major grocery store, this accounted for a large portion of his required work. There are five different bags, and up to seven different types of bread produced each day. Each type of bun, loaf, or roll must be placed into its appropriate bag in an aesthetically pleasing arrangement. The client's primary duty is to arrange the bread, stuff the bread into the various bags, and tie the bags closed.

The traditional manner of filling the bags involves holding the bag open with one hand, while inserting the bread with the other. Many of the bags require the bread to be stacked or oriented correctly for efficient packaging (Figure 1).


Accommodation

Figure 2: The blower fills bag with air, allowing the user to package the bread.
Figure 2: The blower fills bag with air, allowing the user to package the bread.
Figure 3: The user inserts the bread into the bag.
Figure 3: The user inserts the bread into the bag.
Figure 4: The twisted neck of the bag is held by the 'bag holder'.
Figure 4: The twisted neck of the bag is held by the 'bag holder'.
Figure 5: The user applies a twist tie to the end of the bag.
Figure 5: The user applies a twist tie to the end of the bag.
Figure 6: The bread bagger with bag holder.
Figure 6: The bread bagger with bag holder.

After consulting with the client, his employer, and counselor, it was agreed that the best approach would be to develop a device to aid in bagging the various types of bread. Since there are so many variables involved relating to the bags and types of bread, a universal device was needed which could work with any of the choices. The resultant device, dubbed the Bread Bagger, is a stainless steel platform with an attached fan, mounted to a nylon tray.

A miniature, 50 c.f.m. blower is mounted in a stainless steel housing 12" away from the bag loading area. The bags are placed in a stack on the nylon tray, utilizing the bags' peg holes as a mounting location. The peg holes are located on the leading edge of the bag, which extends beyond the actual lip of the bag. The hinged stainless steel platform is lowered onto the leading edge of the bags, clamping the stack of bags in place. When in use, the switch operated blower is turned on and proceeds to fill the bag with air (Figure 2). Once the bag is inflated, the client simply slides the bread into the bag (Figure 3). The blower will keep the bag inflated even as the bread is in the bag, allowing for stacking of bread. After the bag is filled with the appropriate bread, the client simply grabs the open end of the bag, lifts it off the platform and spins it with his fingers. After the end is twisted, he inserts the twist into a small v-shaped bracket mounted to the table (Figure 4). He can then release the bag, and apply a twist tie to the end of the bag (Figure 5). The blower is usually left on, as he will have many trays of bread to bag at any given time.

When there is a need for new bags, the stainless steel platform is tilted upwards, and new bags are placed on the pegs in the nylon tray. All of the different styles of bag have the same hole pattern in the top edge for ease of mounting.

All surfaces in the design are constructed of food-safe materials and designed to aid in clean-up. The stainless steel blower enclosure is fully sealed with silicon caulking. The blower opening is covered in a stainless steel mesh to prevent injury related to the spinning of the blower cage (Figure 6). The blower's intake and output screens are easily removable for the necessary cleaning. All surfaces may be cleaned in the same manner as the rest of the bakery, with no special consideration beyond keeping liquids from electrical components.


Cost Analysis

Unknown


Repeatability of Solution

All surfaces in the design are constructed of food-safe materials and designed to aid in clean-up. The stainless steel blower enclosure is fully sealed with silicon caulking. The blower opening is covered in a stainless steel mesh to prevent injury related to the spinning of the blower cage (Figure 6). The blower's intake and output screens are easily removable for the necessary cleaning. All surfaces may be cleaned in the same manner as the rest of the bakery, with no special consideration beyond keeping liquids from electrical components.

Acknowledgements

Publix, the client's employer

Mary Mullaney of the Tommy Nobis Center, the client's job coach

State of Georgia Division of Rehabilitation Services

Julius T. Corkran, Industrial Designer

Alan Harp, Industrial Designer alan.harp@arch.gatech.edu

Scott Haynes, M.E. - BME scott.haynes@arch.gatech.edu

Phone: 404 894 4960 Fax: 404 894 9320


[1] http://www.workrerc.gatech.edu