Programmable Cleaner for Confined Space Ovens

Last year, I had gone to the bakery at our University (Penn State) for a tour as part of a cooking club team. One of the first things I noticed during the tour was a large oven that had a narrow opening. These type of ovens are very common in the baking and cooking industry and their cleaning is still being done in a manual fashion, by having a "tiny" employee enter the space (when it is cool) and clean it manually.

The system has a large flat surface that needs cleaning (fairly easy to reach) but also a narrower vertical wall surface at the back where there is air flow during normal operation and lot of material/particles condense and deposit. A robotic, programmable machine with attached steel brushing is conceived and presented here. The machine will have a programmable motor that can intake the dimensions of the oven and have a algorithmic set path. The path can be modified actively if needed by an operator or by a visual feedback sensor. It will also have active control to pull the machine or lower along vertical walls by a means to support the machine weight by a hydraulic cord.

The device will also have wheels and a gripper to handle the vertical climb in narrow spaces.

There can be two variants of this device, one that can operate in hot mode (without visual sensors) and the other that can operate in cool mode with an active wireless microcamera that can show exact positions the machine's brush path is about to clean.

This device will vastly improve hygiene in industrial ovens and can be fabricated by easy assembly of existing movable robots such as roomba etc that are used for room cleaning. Specific improvements for the device include the gripping feature and a hydraulic cord that can be used to manipulate and move the machine when it traverses vertical walls.


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  • Name:
    Narasimhan Soundarrajan
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  • Narasimhan's favorite design and analysis tools:
    Google Sketchup
    COMSOL Multiphysics (when license available)
    DWSIM (open source)
  • Narasimhan's hobbies and activities:
    Nature photography, bird watching, cooking
  • Narasimhan is inspired by:
    A lot of my design thoughts are usually inspired by extreme environments in nature and how many creatures adapt to those environments. Biomimicry is the most sincere form of flattery we could ever do to give respect to our environment!
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