Developing an At-Home Bottle Return Solution

ElectronicsEngineeringProduct Design & Development

Problem Statement

Nessie Solutions came to DISHER to help solve the problem of how people could earn deposit credit for their cans and plastic bottles through their curbside recycling service instead of returning them at a store.

This would require a machine that could verify acceptable cans and bottles, crush them to prevent fraud, and work with a cloud-based user interface for secure transactions.

Research and Methodology

To identify the parameters for the machine design, DISHER conducted initial bench tests to determine the required crush force for both cans and plastic bottles.

These results enabled the team to establish a data-driven hypothesis around the ideal force profile to accommodate the various use cases and conditions.

Inner gears and mechanics of the can crusher
Can crushing slot

Ideate and Design

DISHER iterated through various crushing concepts and modifications to improve the system. Continual user testing validated some aspects of the team’s initial hypothesis and disproved others.

As the product was fine-tuned, DISHER also implemented necessary safety features and supporting electronics.

DISHER’s electronics team also interfaced with another partner responsible for the app and cloud development to create a secure-communication protocol between the device and the cloud.

Two Engineers working on the electronics of Nessie

Build and Test

To date, DISHER has completed work on two generations of Nessie crusher devices.

Upon completion of the first generation, it was determined through user testing that a different motor would provide a more consistent crush and enable better serviceability for any devices that needed maintenance. The newly completed second generation is ready for another round of user testing.

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