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Study to reduce the environmental impact of a corporate cup washing machine

Grant number: 20/09765-3
Support type:Research Grants - Innovative Research in Small Business - PIPE
Duration: June 01, 2021 - February 28, 2022
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Mechanical Engineering - Mechanical Engineering Design
Principal researcher:André Minatti Felismino
Grantee:André Minatti Felismino
Company:Ecotec Soluções em Automação Sustentável Ltda
CNAE: Fabricação de fogões, refrigeradores e máquinas de lavar e secar para uso doméstico
Fabricação de máquinas e equipamentos de uso geral não especificados anteriormente
City: São Paulo
Assoc. researchers: Carlos Issao Igarashi
Associated scholarship(s):21/04336-0 - Study to reduce the environmental impact of a corporate cup washing machine, BP.PIPE

Abstract

The large consumption of disposable cups - in Brazil it is 720 million per day - is mainly due to the convenience of them not having to be washed, due to its low cost and because it is hygienic. However, a factor that has been increasingly taken into account is the environmental impact caused by the production and disposal of this material. There is a strong worldwide trend towards the elimination of disposable plastics, which are being gradually banned from Europe and from several countries. In Brazil, in addition to the ban on plastic straws in several cities, a bill is in the process for extinguishing the sale of any disposable plastic utensils. In the private sector, companies are increasingly valuing sustainability, including it in their institutional values, generating reports and creating goals to reduce environmental impact. Following this trend, the proponent of this research adopted the issue of disposable cups in a corporate environment as the theme of his Undergraduate Thesis. Knowing that many studies show that reusable utensils cause less environmental impact than disposable ones (Clean Water Fund, 2017), a project was developed of an automatic washing machine, LavECOpos, which enables the implementation of reusable cups in companies, completely eliminating solid waste generated by disposables. The LavECOpos project went through an acceleration stage with the AWC program, from Instituto TIM, and became a startup project with great market potential, being able to meet the needs of companies, while the current alternatives are very expensive, impractical or unhygienic. Due to the ecological character of the machine, it is essential to ensure that its environmental impact is as small as possible, especially with regard to water and electricity consumption. The present project, therefore, aims to analyze, measure and optimize the cleaning process of LavECOpos, reducing the environmental impact and ensuring the efficiency of the process. To this end, the methodology of Lean Startup (RIES, 2011), which seeks to reduce the time between the generation of ideas and the evaluation of their results, will be used, consisting of cycles of three stages each: build, measure and learn. In each of the cycles, the variables that interfere in the process of cleaning the cups will be studied, such as the number and duration of the steps, model and concentration of chemicals, temperature of the mixtures, among others. The expected result at the end of the project is the construction of the final version of the machine and the definition of all aspects and variables of the cup cleaning process, ensuring the lowest environmental impact (lowest consumption of water, electricity and chemicals possible) and greater process efficiency (better hygiene quality in the shortest possible time). (AU)

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