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The optimal compost: construction and design of a worm compost
2010 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

IKEA, which was established in 1943 in Småland, has always focused on reaching a broad target group as well as keeping prices down. However, environmental issues are also considered very important and today one aim is to offer a complete solution for handling all sorts of waste to their customers. Since the compost available at present is neither cheap nor well functioning, IKEA has decided to develop a new compost system together with a biologist. The end in view is a well-functioning compost for households with a garden and the project is to result in complete 3D-models as well as a prototype. During the first period of the project a thorough preliminary study was conducted. Cooperation with the biologist created an understanding of the biological process in composting and of the best way to achieve a natural process when composting at home. Market surveys were also carried out in which existing compost systems were evaluated to find their good and bad points. Finally a number of people used to composting were interviewed to bring out the views of possible future users. On the basis of the preliminary study a specification of requirements was compiled including desires and requirements regarding the compost. The most important requirements to be fulfilled were as follows: to create a well-ventilated compost to avoid putrefaction instead of a controlled decomposition or humification, to create close contact with the ground to enable worms going in and out of the compost, to effectively prevent vermin from getting in: and finally to equip the compost with at least two trays or compartments to facilitate handling the earth. Bearing these requirements in mind the work to outline various constructions and designs began. With the help of different creative methods a great quantity of solutions were suggested to the part problems and were then combined into a number of concepts. The work was carried out in dialogue with the biologist, designer and technicians as well as the commissioning party to evaluate the different ideas. Finally we were able to choose one concept for further development. The evaluation and choice were based on various systematic techniques as well as experiences and feelings expressed by the designer and technician. The work with the concept continued and a detailed construction of the compost was made in the 3D-program Solid Works, were radii, reinforcements and relief angles were determined among other things. At this stage a decision was made about the compost’s design which was outlined on the basis of two existing series since the new compost probably will be included in one of them. Since it was important to meet the demands on a low price as well as effective transportations and stock keeping great emphasis was also placed on developing a product that was well adapted to production and easy to pack. In addition serious considerations were given functional and ergonomic aspects. The work resulted in a worm compost consisting of 3 trays stacked in a pile and with a lid that easily opens thanks to a hinge on the back side. The trays consist of 4 separate side panels and a bottom which can be put into a compact and effective package to minimize transportation and stock-keeping costs. The trays can easily be assembled by the user. All parts consist of holes to create good ventilation. Each tray can hold around 35 l and is equipped with handles on both sides that make it easy to lift. All in all this makes a volume of 105 l, which is just enough for a household that composts food waste only. As a service to the future users a spade adapted to the compost was also designed. Clean and simple form characterizes the design which includes details from both the existing series. The colour black was chosen as it is well suited for the outdoor environment and details in green to create a more interesting look. Since the compost system is part of an environmental venture it was a natural thing to make it from environment-friendly material. Studies and tests resulted in the use of a wood-plastic composite - a material composed of sawdust and plastic. The sawdust is a residual product in the wood industry and, in this case, recycled polypropylene will be used. The recommendation for the continuing work is to develop prototypes that will allow exhaustive tests to be made in regard to the compost’s strength as well as its functions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Technology, Compost, design, construction, sustainability, IKEA
Keyword [sv]
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-54895ISRN: LTU-EX--10/051--SELocal ID: bd219254-3c2f-45f3-8256-851e8aa062f9OAI: diva2:1028276
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 30 credits
Educational program
Industrial Design Engineering, master's level
Validerat; 20101217 (root)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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