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Solving a Sticky Situation: CEAS Student Reduces Waste in Glue-Making Process

Mechanical engineering technology student Andrew Haufler worked with his co-op employer, Gorilla Glue, to reduce waste in the glue-making process. Gorilla Glue has already implemented his technology in its bottle-filling method.

Date: 4/26/2018 9:00:00 AM
By: Brandon Pytel
Phone: (513) 556-4686

UC ingot  
Haufler headshot
Haufler used his senior project to solve an efficiency problem for his co-op employer.

Engineering students at the University of Cincinnati (UC) must complete a final project their senior year. Oftentimes, students pair with a client in the industry to solve a real-world problem. Andrew Haufler (mechanical engineering technology ’18) paired with his cooperative education (co-op) employer, Gorilla Glue, to tackle an efficiency problem.

Before Gorilla Glue fills its bottle with glue, it injects each bottle with nitrogen. The company also uses nitrogen to blanket its tanks and product supply totes to keep the glue from skimming over. But this process of using nitrogen also affects the purity of the glue, sometimes leading to waste. Haufler used his senior design project to reduce this waste and save the company money by designing a new routing and regulating system.

“This was a problem the company dealt with over the years and knew that it needed to be addressed,” said Haufler. “I was given the task of managing the project.”

Haufler’s task was to deliver a new nitrogen system that supported current and future demand, kept costs low, controlled the pressure of the nitrogen to each machine, reduced waste and extended the life of the equipment.

Haufler spent the first half of this project calculating the amount of nitrogen used in the filling process.

“Before the project was implemented, we had no way to monitor exactly how much nitrogen was getting to each point of use,” Haufler said.

Haufler designed a plan that would install regulators to drop the pressure of the lines and flowmeters to set and monitor flow at each line. He mapped out a new delivery system that used pumps and an air compressor to send nitrogen to the day tank and bottle-filling station.

Haufler pulled from various courses he took as a mechanical engineering technology student, such as Engineering Project Management and Technical Writing. Haufler put together a budget, created a project schedule with a Gantt chart and drafted a professional document for upper management to review for project approval.

“The tools and knowledge UC gave me helped make this project run smoothly,” Haufler said.

At the end of the semester, Haufler delivered a line that dropped the pressure of the nitrogen delivery system from 100 psi to 7 psi. Just as important, he created a system that maintenance and line operators can easily monitor.

What’s even more impressive is that Gorilla Glue is currently using this model in their production process. The newly installed system is running at the desired range of 97 to 99.5 percent purity. (Previously, it was hovering between 80 and 83 percent.) The system also increased the life of the feed tote and day tank.

Haufler knows that efficiency and waste reduction are cornerstones of engineering. After Haufler graduates this month, he will start full-time as a packaging engineer for C-Safe Global in Dayton, Ohio. He will take the skills he has learned at UC and the College of Engineering and Applied Science to continue driving the industry forward.