The dismantled components of the kettle have been further investigated each one separately

In this project the understanding of how materials work and also the manufacturing methods used have been discussed. In this report, the use of an electrical kettle was needed in order to be dismantled for further experimentation and study. The dismantled components of the kettle have been further investigated each one separately. The properties of the material used to make these parts were discussed using the appropriate theory as well as the function of each component. Also, the designing and manufacturing process were outlined and opinions for better future designing/manufacturing were drawn.

Introduction

The referred case study has as aim, the further understanding of the way materials operate and also issues on manufacturing that have been discussed in this module. To sum up, an explanation is given for the application of an everyday product, (electrical kettle). This kettle is to be dismantled for further investigations of its components material that is used to make it.

Experimental

As it was asked by this assignment, to investigate and discuss an everyday product, an electrical kettle was chosen. To fulfil this task a domestic electrical kettle was obtained, as to be dismantled for the further identification and study of its parts. Also an evaluation about the manufacturing methods used in the production of each component of the observed electrical kettle was made.

The electrical kettle has a task; to boil water for everyday use and can be found in every household. The electrical kettle that has been obtained is made of plastic and a metal heating element attached inside the plastic body, where the water is placed. The element is connected to an electric switch that allows current to pass through the element and also to be turned on and off. The electric switch that is connected to the boiler is turned on manually but as the water reaches a specific temperature it automatically switches off. The switch is connected to the power supply through a cable.

Analysis

At this stage of the project, each function of every part of this electrical appliance will be identified.

The first of the main parts of the reported electrical kettle is the water reservoir; in this component an amount specified on the reservoir is filled with water. What specifies the amount of water poured in the reservoir is the gauge, which states the level of water in the kettle. The reservoir has also a second part, (the handle), which makes easier the holding of the appliance and the pouring of water from it. This handle is divided into two parts; the first one is a part of the whole reservoir and the other one is placed as the other side of the surface of the handle.

This was probably constructed in this way in order to make it possible for a third part, the cover of the electrical switch’s mechanism to be placed. This was probably assembled in that way, in order to achieve better designing methods and also to make it more efficient for manufacturing as proving divided parts’ production. The three parts of the electrical kettle mentioned above, are made of plastic. In order for the appliance to be efficient, heat resistant plastic should be used. Some of the materials that could be used to compose these parts of the kettle are low-density polyethylene, polypropylene; materials used in many plastic equipment such as cables, toys and house ware.

Polyethylene is one of the most multipurpose thermoplastics that over a wide temperature range (85�C maximum service temperature) can be tough and flexible. Its toughness can reach a tensile strength of 11MPa and it has an elongation from 90-650%. Also polyethylene is a homopolymer and has various degrees of chain branching (increase in the number of chain carriers), having as a result the achievement of flexibility and density. Other characteristics of polyethylene are its good dimensional stability, it is easily moulded and has a good resistance against common solvents as well as good weathering properties.

Polypropylene has similar properties to polyethylene except that it has better heat resistance (150�C maximum service temperature). It has mechanical properties that allow it have an excellent resistance to different chemicals such as acids, as well as it is tougher than polyethylene reaching the tensile strength of 30-35MPa and an elongation of 50-600%; inflexible although it is light in weight.

The second main part of the electrical kettle is the heating element. This component is attached inside the reservoir and its function is to boil the water. For the element to make it possible to boil the water, it uses electric resistance to maintain heat. For such a procedure to take place, heat resisting steel should be used. This kind of steel can resist oxidation at high temperature. In order to achieve this, the steel may obtained 30% chromium mixed with small amount of silicon. However, chromium steels tend to become brittle as they promote grain growth as the material is heated at high temperatures. In order to avoid the grain growth on the material, nickel is added. The heating element is attached to the switch throught the kettle. The switch is actually a thermostat. When the water reaches a specific temperature the switch is automatically turned off.

In addition, as the electricity flows through the element, causes resistance to the flow of electricity causing heat creation. The heat is transferred to the water and as a result boiling is achieved. As the water reaches a specific boiling point, the steam caused by the heating of water heats up a bimetallic strip. This is made up of two different strips, which are of metallic material, that tend to bend when heat is applied. The one strip of metal expands faster than the other and as a result the circuit is breaking and electricity doesn’t pass through the element. This means that the switch is turned off and the indicator is switched off. The indicator is a small light bulb which indicates when the kettle is in boiling process. As the kettle is automatically switched off, the indicator switches off too.

As the analysis of the components has been concluded the real production takes place beginning with the design of the product. Differences in designing a kettle can vary, basically on the amount of time spend on design and the output price that will be set. Thus, if the product is demanded to have high standards then more efficient materials and designing methods will be used. However due to the fact that an electrical kettle is a very common item, the way of operation cannot vary so there is limited range of differences in design. The only features that could be added to such a device are the use of greater lifetime materials and designing methods as to increase the user standard concerning demand and the present fashion in the specified market.

After designing the product, the process of manufacturing takes place. Such a process consists various stages. To begin with, the material of each product is purchased by the entrepreneur and it is transferred to the manufacturing sector. Before proceeding to the actual manufacturing of the product the materials purchased are tested for any impurities, to ensure the quality. After, the second stage of manufacturing the product takes place. Materials are now passing through the moulding process where they are heat treated to be given their final shape. After the moulding process the finished components are brought together to be assembled, to maintain the final product. After the assembly, the products are passed under quality control to ensure their reliability. Finally, the products are packed and send off to be consumed at the market.

Having the above features in consideration it can be concluded that the quality of the product can vary. The kettle observed was low cost product amounting at six pounds UK. Thus, it resulted that this product was produced under low costs resulting average standards of design and maybe the whole lifetime of the product. As mentioned above, designing methods can lead to a more reliable product as seen from the consumer’s eye; the more attractive the product is the more reliable it is. Passing to the manufacturing stage, some improvements that could be made are inventing new methods of production and raw materials used. Finally, to ensure the high demand of the product and the global market can be achieved by lowering the cost of production. Enjoying economies of scale could result to a lower price elasticity of demand. Also, better distribution methods should be used as to introduce the product in the market.

Conclusion

As now the task of the assignment has reached its final stage, investigations have been made results have been outlined. As the purpose of this case study has been achieved, understanding and comprehending of the components took place. Finishing this assignment has acquired the person writing this report with knowledge for future development of such a device due to the fact that its designs tend to be developing through time.

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