Design of a Compressor Assembly Removal Tool to Service the Clutch, Compressor and Replace the Belt

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The design of a compressor assembly removal tool to service the clutch, compressor and replace the belt


This is a final year Mechanical Engineering project. This project is being conducted for the Thermo King Ingersoll Rand Company. The project is to design a compressor assembly removal tool to service the clutch, compressor and replace the belts on a TRU system that is mounted on a trailer wall. Due to space constraints service technicians in the field find it challenging and time consuming to service the belt, clutch and compressor. The design of the tool will conform to ISO, ASTM and EN standards with all safety aspects surrounding the design and operation being adhered. The aim of this project is to reduce the service time from two and a half hours to approximately thirty minutes.

Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Introduction

1.2 Aims

1.3 Project Background

1.4 Outline of the following chapters

2.0 Literature review

2.1 Introduction

2.2 Introduction to product design and a Product designer’s role

2.3 Product Development

2.4 Characteristics of successful Product Development

2.5 The challenges of product development

2.5.1 Interface Challenges in NPD projects

2.6 Product development processes

2.6.1 Generic process – “Eppinger” model

2.6.2 Stage gate process – Robert G. Cooper

2.6.3 Total Design – Pugh

2.7 Product development model selection

2.8 Adaption of the Generic Product Development Process

2.8.1 Planning

2.8.2 Concept development

2.8.3 System Level Design

2.8.4 Detail Design

2.8.5 Testing and refinement

3.0 Materials and Methods

3.1 Planning

3.1.1 Market Research

3.1.2 End User

3.1.3 Human Factor

3.2 Concept Development

3.2.1 Collect and identify customer needs

3.2.1 Product Concept Generation and Selection

4.0 Discussion

5.0 Conclusion and Recommendations


Table of Figures


Figure 1: Progression of action in new business activity (2008)

Figure 2: Generic Process by Steven Eppinger

Figure 3: Front-End Process activities

Figure 4: Stage-Gate Process

Figure 5: Six phases of design core (2015)

Figure 6: Total Design Activity Model (2015)

Figure 7: The Generic Product Development Process
















1.0 Introduction

1.1 Introduction

To complete the final year in this degree in Mechanical Engineering the author must complete and submit a major project. The major project is worth 20 credits towards the final grade received. The author has chosen to complete a design project with Thermo King as he has a strong interest perusing a career in the design aspect of the engineering sector.

This project will be completed in conjunction with Thermo King, a manufacturing company that has nine plants in six countries. The author will be working with the Galway based plant to complete this project. After meeting with the Thermo King Project sponsors, Alan Heneghan and Senthil Kumar, it was suggested that two people work on the design of this project together and complete individual reports for the proposed design. The proposal for two people to work on the project was accepted by the project sponsors and by the head of engineering in GMIT Carine Gachon.

Thermo King have developed and manufactured a new trailer refrigeration unit that will be mounted on the trailer wall. The author and his colleague must design a compressor assembly removal tool to replace or inspect the components for customers and service technicians in the field. Due to space constraints servicing the unit in the field is highly challenging and time consuming, Thermo King wish to reduce the service time from two and a half hours to under thirty minutes. The potential design for the removal tool must be effective within the given boundary constraints.

1.2 Aims

The aim of this project is the use the knowledge and skills developed by the author from his four years studying in GMIT and apply them to a real-life engineering scenario. This project has been chosen by the author as he has an interest in the design sector of engineering. The author believes this project will be greatly beneficial in his future career as a design engineer.

The following are aims set out by Thermo King and by the author. The proposed design idea will be reviewed by the project sponsors and Thermo King Stakeholders.

  • Use a product development process in completing this project
  • Consider all safety aspects for designers, users and service personal
  • Develop an effective design for a compressor assembly removal tool
  • Design of the tool will use appropriate ISO, ASTM and EU standards
  • Estimate the total cost of the designed tool
  • Write a thesis report
  • Present thesis to supervising lectures
  • Construct project poster

1.3 Project Background

The following section outlines the purpose of this project. Thermo King are currently developing new trailer refrigeration units (TRU) that are intended to be introduced in 2020. Due to space constraints within the unit, servicing of the belt, clutch and compressor in the field is highly challenging and a time-consuming job. Thermo King wish to reduce the time it takes to access the belt from over two hours to thirty minutes or under.

For reliability and performance purposes of the new TRU the belts need to be replaced after 600-900 engine hours and may have to be replaced within a temperature range of -40⁰C to 50⁰C. In order to ease the challenge and reduce the time, the design of a precise tool that can hold and move the compressor assembly and also enable easy removal.

While designing the compressor assembly removal tool, all safety aspects for designers, users and service personal must be taken care of while also adhering to the appropriate ISO, EU and ASTM standards. The TRU are mounted on the trailer wall where there is limited access and 10-15 feet above ground level, because of this there is very little space for had and tool access. The potential design must effectively remove the compressor assembly from the field unit within the given boundaries without having to disconnect the refrigeration vibrasorber that are fully charged with oil and refrigerant in the field. The compressor must move towards the left of the unit to allow the service personal to gain access to the belt and to allow any of the parts to be serviced safely.

1.4 Outline of the following chapters

Chapter 1 Introduction

In this chapter the author will give a brief synopsis of the project and the reason for choosing this project will be explained. The author will also outline the aims and objectives for this project.

Chapter 2 Literature review 

A literature review is a critical analysis of published sources, or literature, for this project. The research carried out consists of the following;

  1. Investigating product development
  2. Researching product development models
  3. Adapt model to suit project
  4. Conduct product research

2.0 Literature review


2.1 Introduction

In the literature review the author will outline the role of a product designer and give a detailed explanation of product design and product development. Following this, the characteristics of a successful product development and the challenges surrounding a product development will be discussed.

The author will then move on to describing three product development methods that may be adapted and used in the development of this project. The three product development the will be discussed are as follows; The Generic Process, The Stage-Gate Process and Total Design. From the three development processes discussed the author will choose one process that can be applied and adapted to benefit the development of this project.

The development process chosen will be described in detail outlining the steps required in each phase to successfully design the compressor removal tool.

2.2 Introduction to product design and a Product designer’s role

Product design is about creating new products or developing on old products with new innovative technologies and materials. Product design is about enhancing the life of its customers and users. Design makes things better for, not just the users and customers but for businesses and the world.

Companies benefit greatly from product designers whether they manufacture physical products or consumer products as their work is always relevant. Manufactures who want to gain a competitive over others use a number of different design processes, such as design thinking and the integration of designers, to develop new ideas. Product design allows products to be more usable, attractive, reliable and cost-effective which in turn benefits the customer.

The role of a product designer is to make things easier to use, improving the efficiency of products, reduce the production costs of products and increase a product’s emotional appeal. “In general, a product designer today observes people, listens and asks questions, holds conversations with people, generates design ideas, communicates them to others, explores and evaluates, makes and tests prototypes, produces detailed drawings and possible becomes involved in the final manufacture of the product itself” (Rodgers and Milton 2011).

The role of the client is a very important aspect of design. A designer must interpret the client’s needs and highlight any problems or opportunities the client has missed.  A designer must resolve the client’s problems while dealing with manufacturing, aesthetics and materials among others.

(Rodgers and Milton 2011)

2.3 Product Development

“Product development is a set of activities beginning with the perception of a market opportunity and ending with the production, sale and delivery of a product (Ulrich and Eppinger 2004).” “This set of activities includes everything from the initial inspiring new product vision, to business case analysis activities, marketing efforts, technical engineering design activities, development of manufacturing plans and the validation of the product design to conform to these plans (Otto and Wood 2001).”

Companies operate in a state of innovation by introducing new products or modifying and improving existing products as desired by the customer. Knowing what people want is the key to new product development. It is essential to know what the market needs in order to develop innovative new ideas.

In order to develop a successful product someone must come up with or develop a concept for the product. One idea is not enough for a successful product to be produced. Several promising ideas must be developed and analysed before the plans for a new business activity can be generated. Figure 1 shows the progression of actions in the development of a new business activity.

Figure 1: Progression of action in new business activity (2008)

A company must develop and manage its product portfolio when developing the overall business strategy. The product portfolio includes not only the new-to-market products but also any modifications of the existing line of products as well as products that are in the maturity part of sales. It is important that companies ensure that R&D of new technological platforms continues as the transition from one S curve to another must develop smoothly.

(Mital 2008)

2.4 Characteristics of successful Product Development

Product development is a series of activities that begins with a concept of possible market opportunities and finishes with the production, sale and delivery of that product. A successful product in a for-profit enterprise results in products that are manufactured and sold for a profit. A business should develop the high-quality products that the market desires quickly, easily, economically and efficiently. There are five key attributes that relate to profit and are used to determine the performance and capabilities of a new product development. The five key attributes are discussed below.

  • Product quality: Product quality means; to incorporate features that have the capacity to meet customer needs, gives customer satisfaction and free from deficiencies or defects. Does the product development satisfy the customer needs?  How reliable is the product? How does the product compare to other products on the market? Are customers willing to pay for the product?
  • Product cost:  The cost to manufacture the product along with spending on capital equipment and tooling. Product costs determines how much profit the company will receive from a particular sales volume and particular sales price.
  • Development time: The time in which it took the team to complete the product development. Development time determines how active a company can be to competitive forces and technological developments, as well as how long it takes for the team to receive returns for the team’s efforts.
  • Development cost: The amount the company had to spend to develop the product. The development cost is usually a substantial portion of the investment required to attain the possible profits.
  • Development capabilities: The company capacity to develop new products as a result of their previous product development project. It allows companies to develop new products more effectively and economically in the future.

The correct procedure and performance in relation to the five key factors should boost performance and lead to economic success. However, other criteria that are also important may arise from stakeholders, members of the development team and members of the community in which the product is manufactured.

(Ulrich and Eppinger 2004)

2.5 The challenges of product development

Development of great products is difficult and there are often many factors that challenge a product development team. The following are characteristics that challenge a product development team:

  • Trade-offs: This involves diminishing or losing one quality, quantity or property of a set or design in return for gains in other aspects. Recognising, managing and understanding such trade-offs in such a way as to maximise the success of a product is a challenging aspect of product development.
  • Dynamics: New products are introduced, customer needs evolve and technologies improve. Decision making is a formidable task in an environment of constant change.
  • Details: Detailed decisions on every aspect of designer no matter how small, have implications in the order of thousands of euros to the client. Developing any product may require such decisions.
  • Time pressure: Problems would be easily managed if given enough time. |Decisions involving product development are usually made within a limited time frame.
  • Economics: A large investment is required to develop, produce and market a new product. In order to produce a product that has a reasonable return on the initial investment, the product must be both appealing to the customer and relatively inexpensive to produce.

(Ulrich and Eppinger 2004)

2.5.1 Interface Challenges in NPD projects

There are numerous challenges that NPD projects face, that stem from different sources and demand management attention. Concept interfaces are used to provide a structure for assessing these challenges. The three kinds of interfaces that are typically relevant in NPD projects are as follows;

  • Contextual Interfaces: Interfaces at the edge of the NPD project, between the technology and the market.
  • Technical System Interfaces: Interactions between the product and the production system.
  • Organisational Interfaces: Theses occur when the project team interacts with the surrounding organisation.

Each of these three interfaces invokes particular perspective on the NPD process and engages specific challenges. The interfaces being categorised provides a useful structure for assessing management challenge’s in NPD projects. It has been made possible to trace a specific challenge to its origin through interface-based framework, this indicates the capabilities necessary to deal with it and sharpens the insight into the challenge.

(Lakemond et al. 2013)

2.6 Product development processes

A development process is a sequence of steps that an enterprise employs to conceive, design and commercialise a product. In this section the different product development processes are analysed and compared. From the analysis and comparison of the processes the most suited process will be chosen and adapted for the execution of this project.

In this section, the product development processes the ‘Generic Process’ by Steven Eppinger, the ‘Stage Gate Process’ by Robert G. Cooper and ‘Total design’ by Stuart Pugh will be analysed and compared.

2.6.1 Generic process – “Eppinger” model

The Generic development process was constructed by Steven D. Eppinger and can be used as a base template for any type of product development. The generic process consists of six phases and begins with the planning phase. The planning phase consists of research and assessing available technologies with a mission statement being an output of the phase. To move from the planning phase to the concept development phase the mission statement is required and in turn it acts as a guide for the development team. The completion of a successful product development process results in the product launch, at which time the product is introduced into the market and available for purchase. Figure 2 shows clearly a schematic of the Eppinger’s generic development process. The six phases of the generic development process model describe by Eppinger (2004) are as follows;

  1. “Planning phase: This phase is often considered as phase 0 as it precedes the project approval and launch of the actual product development process. This phase consists of an assessment of technology developments, market objectives and developing a corporate strategy for the project. The outputs of the planning phase are the project mission statement, business goals, key assumptions and constraints.
  2. Concept development phase: The concept development phase begins with identifying the customer needs, the development of product concepts and an evaluation of the product concepts. One or more of the product concepts are selected for further development and testing.
  3. System-level design phase: The system-level design phase includes the definition of the product architecture and the breakdown of the product into subsystems and components. The output of this phase usually includes geometric layouts of the product, functional specifications of each of the products subsystems and preliminary process flow diagrams for the final assembly process.
  4. Detailed design phase: This phase includes the complete specification of the geometry, materials and tolerances of each unique part in the product and the identification of all standard parts to be purchased from suppliers. A process plan is developed and tooling is designed for each part to be fabricated within the production system. The output of this phase is the control document for the product, the drawings or computer files of each part and its production tooling, the specifications of the purchased parts and the process plans for the fabrication and assembly of the product.
  5. Testing and refinement phase: The testing and refinement phase involves the construction and evaluation of multiple preproduction versions of the product. Early (alpha) prototypes are constructed with production-intent parts. These prototypes are then tested to determine whether the product will work as designed and whether the product satisfies the key customer needs. Later (beta) porotypes are extensively evaluated internally and are also typically tested by customers in their own use environment. This is usually to answer questions about performance and reliability in order to identify necessary engineering changes for the final product.
  6. Production ramp-up phase: In the production ramp-up phase, the product is made using the intended production system. Products produces during production ramp-up are sometimes supplied to preferred customers and are carefully evaluated to identify any remaining flaws. The transition from production ramp-up to ongoing production is usually gradual and at some point in this transition the product is launched and becomes available for widespread distribution (2004).”

(Ulrich and Eppinger 2004)

Figure 2: Generic Process by Steven Eppinger Concept Development: The Front-End Process

The concept development phase demands more coordination among functions than any other phase due to its many integrative development methods. This section will outline the many interrelated activities that make up the concept development phase, known as the front-end process. Figure 3 shows clearly the front-end activities that comprise the concept development phase.

The concept development process described by Eppinger (2004) includes the following activities;

  • Identifying customer needs: To gain an understanding of the customers’ needs and to develop a customer needs statement, ordered in a hierarchical list of relative importance of the need. This allows the development to effectively understand the customer’s needs.
  • Establishing target specifications: The target specifications are based on customer needs and benchmarking. This is done by setting the target specifications, refining them and reflecting on the results and the process.
  • Concept generation: The goal of concept generation is to thoroughly explore the wide variety of product concepts that address the customers’ needs. It includes research, team problem solving and the exploration of various solutions generated. As a result of the initial concept generation, a set of 10 to 20 concepts are produced with sketches and a brief descriptive text to represent each concept.
  • Concept Selection: Concept selection is the activity where the various concepts are analysed and sequentially eliminated to identify the most promising concept(s) or specific aspects of the concepts are used to generate new concepts. This process usually requires several iterations and may lead to additional concept generation and refinement.
  • Concept testing: When one or more concepts are tested to verify that the customer needs have been met, determine the market potential of the product and assess any defects that may require attention during further development.
  • Setting final specifications: The target specs set earlier in the process are returned to after the concept has been selected and tested. The team must set specific values of the metrics reflecting the constraints inherent in the concept, limitations identified through technical modelling and trade-offs between cost and performance.
  • Project Planning: The team creates a detailed development plan, constructs a strategy to reduce development time and identifies the resources required to complete the project.
  • Benchmarking of competitive products: Understanding competitive products is critical to a successful positioning of a new product and may result in ideas for the product and production process design.
  • Modelling and prototyping: Each stage in the concept development process requires various forms of models and prototypes. These may include early ‘proof of concept’ models, ‘form only’ models, spreadsheet models of technical trade-offs and experimental test models.

(Ulrich and Eppinger 2004)

Figure 3: Front-End Process activities

2.6.2 Stage gate process – Robert G. Cooper

Stage-Gate methodologies are recognised and widely embraced by many companies around the world as it acts as a method of restoring order to disorganised processes of product innovation. “The Stage-Gate process is described as both a conceptual and operational model for moving a new product from idea to launch (2010).” It improves efficiency and effectiveness of a NPD by integrating discipline into the process with a predetermined set of stages.

The Stage-Gate process consists of a series of stages where specific activities are carried out. The stages are complemented by gates where interim achievements are evaluated. The development work is carried out in each stage and the specific activity being carried out depend on what stage the project is in. In the early stages, the main focus is generally on discovering new opportunities and generating concept ideas, while the later stages focus on concept development, testing and commercialization. The activities are completed in parallel with each other and the stages are typically cross functional to enhance speed to market. Each stage is typically more expensive than the previous one, but this reduces the number of unknowns and uncertainties so that risk is effectively managed. Figure 4 shows a schematic of Coopers Stage-Gate process. The stages of a typical Stage-Gate process are as follows;

  • Stage 0 – Idea Discovery: Pre-work designed to discover and uncover business opportunities and generate new ideas.
  • Stage 1 – Scoping: A quick and inexpensive preliminary investigation and scoping for the project.
  • Stage 2 – Build Business Case: Detailed investigation involving primary research in both market and technical – leading to a business case, including product and project definition, project justification and a proposed plan for development.
  • Stage 3- Development: The actual detailed design and development of the operations or production process for eventful full-scale production.
  • Stage 4 – Testing & Validation: Provide entire validation of the entire project.
  • Stage 5 – Launch: Full commercialisation of the project.

Figure 4: Stage-Gate Process

The gates function as a stop and go with milestones where discussions for the future of the project are made. “The project team must obtain managements approval after each stage before proceeding to the next stage (2010).” There are three significant elements within each gate and they are as follows;

  • “Deliverables: Inputs into the gate review – what is delivered to the meeting by the team and project leader. These are set in advance and are the results of actions from the previous stages. Each stage has a list of specified deliverables to be carried out.
  • Criteria: What the project is judged against in order to make the go/kill and prioritization decisions. These criteria usually chosen to evaluate the gates include both financial and qualitative criteria.
  • Objectives: Results of the gate review. The gates must have articulated outputs including: a decision and a path forward (The Stage-Gate® Product Innovation Process | Stage-Gate International 2018).”

(Grönlund,Sjödin and Frishammar 2010)

2.6.3 Total Design – Pugh

“Total design is a systematic activity necessary, from the identification of the market or user need, to the selling of the successful product to satisfy that need – an activity that encompasses product, process, people and organisation (Pugh 1990).”

By having a visible operational structure, the effectiveness and efficiency of the integration of technology or non-technological subject material can be greatly enhanced. A crucial factor in bring about integration is visibility as it keeps everyone focused of what must be done and why.

Pugh’s Total Design Activity Model consists of four parts. Design core is the first stage with six stages; user needs, product specification, concept design, detailed design, manufacture and sales. Figure 5 depicts the six phases of design core. To account for changes to the objectives for the product, iterations must occur between phases during the period of design.

The second stage of the Total Design Activity Model is the product design specification (PDS). This envelops the design core and contains the main specification elements to design, manufacture and sell the product. The PDS form lines that radiate from and surround the core phases, these PDS are relevant to the particular product’s design.

The third stage of the Total Design Activity Model is to execute the design core and the inputs from the discipline independent methods are required to achieve this. The fourth and final stage of the Total Design Activity Model are the inputs from technology and discipline dependent sources. Figure 6 depicts the completed Total Design Activity Model including examples of both technology and discipline specific methods and discipline independent methods, these illustrate the inputs of the model.

(Adams 2015)

Figure 5: Six phases of design core (2015)

Figure 6: Total Design Activity Model (2015)

2.7 Product development model selection

Three product development models were considered and this section outlines why this model was chosen:

From extensive research of the different models the author has chosen to adapt and apply Steven Eppinger’s ‘Generic Process’ in the execution of this project. The author chose Steven Eppinger’s ‘Generic Process because;

  • It clearly identifies key tasks.
  • It acts as a walkthrough guide.
  • Each phase is described in detail.
  • The generic process has been used successfully in similar projects.

Figure 7 shows how the development process for marketing, design and manufacturing product is generally organised and shows clearly the work that needs to be carried out.

Figure 7: The Generic Product Development Process


2.8 Adaption of the Generic Product Development Process

This section outlines how Steven Eppinger’s ‘Generic Process’ will be adapted to fit this project. This project is being carried out in conjunction with Thermo King. If the proposed design is successfully tested and accepted the device will be manufactured for further use on actual units in the field.

The process used to develop this product is known as a Market-Pull Process and it is very similar to the Generic Process. The main difference between this adapted method is that the production ramp-up phase has been changed to final design presentation to both Thermo King and supervising lectures. The production ramp-up phase has been changed as the design shall be the property of Thermo King and the production of a successful design will be carried out by members of the Thermo King Company.

The adapted model will follow a clear and easily understood set of phases to benefit the development of the compressor removal tool. Planning is the initial phase and it will consist of the steps set out by Kressy;

  • Market Research
  • Existing Products
  • End User
  • Human Factors

Phase 1 is the concept development phase, which includes;

  • Identifying the customer needs
  • Concept development
  • Concept selection

Phase 2 is the System-level design phase, which includes;

  • Finalisation of concept design
  • Detailed sketches
  • Prototype CAD models will be developed

Phase 3 is the detailed design phase, which includes;

  • Completed CAD model
  • Control document

Phase 4 is the testing and refinement phase, which includes;

  • Reliability testing
  • Performance testing
  • Seek approval of design

Phase 5 is usually the production ramp-up phase but for this project it has been changed to the final design presentation for Thermo King and the supervising lectures.

2.8.1 Planning Market Research

  • Demographics
  • Applicable technologies Existing Products

  • Reverse engineering

– Aesthetics

– Functional behaviours

– Mechanical features

– Materials

– Manufacturing processes  End User

  • Environment

– Physical

  • Observation of Use

– Features used and their hierarchy

– Misuse Human Factor

  • Ergonomics
  • Intuitive Use Interdisciplinary Integration

  • Mechanical requirements

– Product architecture

  • Manufacturing requirements

– Cost

-Preferred processes

2.8.2 Concept development

As this phase of the project requires more coordination among functions than any other, it is considered as being one of the most important aspects of the product development. This phase of the project will use techniques to identify and interpret the customer needs. This in turn ensures that the product is focused on the customer needs and develops a collective understanding of the customer needs between the team members. Collect and identify customer needs

  • Gather raw data from lead users

-Meetings with Thermo King


  • Interpret raw Data in terms of customer needs

-Customer needs statements

-Establish target specifications

  • Organize the needs into a hierarchy

-Primary needs

Secondary needs

  • Establish the relative Importance of needs
  • Reflect on the process

-Continuous improvement Product Concept Generation and Selection

Concept ideas will be generated using a five­-step concept generation method. Following the concept generation, an established set of criteria will be used to choose the appropriate product concept that meets all the needs of the client and end users.

The five-step concept generation method set by Eppinger and Ulrich (2004) will be executed as follows;

  • Clarify the problem

– Understanding

– Problem decomposition

  • Search externally

– Interview Lead users

– Research Literature

– Benchmarking

  • Search internally

– Generate concept ideas

  • Explore systematically

– Classification tree

– Classification table

  • Reflect of the solutions and the process

– Identify opportunities for improvement

Following the concept generation, Pugh’s concept selection (Pugh) will be used to narrow the number of concepts and improve them. The steps are as follows;

  • Prepare the selection matrix
  • Rate the concepts
  • Rank the concepts
  • Combine and improve the concepts
  • Select one or more concepts
  • Reflect of the results and the process

2.8.3 System Level Design

The system-level design phase includes developing the product architecture in detail, determining which parts should be purchased and which parts should be made and the identification of the necessary suppliers.

2.8.4 Detail Design

Detail design is the phase where necessary engineering is completed for each component. Each part must be identified and engineered with the tolerances materials and finished defined for each component. The product design will be finalised before moving onto the testing and refinement phase. The phases are outlined below;

  • Generate CAD model
  • Produce component drawings
  • Generate proto-type
  • Control document

2.8.5 Testing and refinement

During this phase the CAD models and proto-types are tested thoroughly using ANSYS workbench 17.1 software and on the physical refrigeration unit. These tests allow the project team to see whether the design will fail or not under use. Following the results of the testing, the finalised design will be presented to Thermo King and seek approval if successful.



3.0 Materials and Methods

3.1 Planning

The following section is planning phase of the tailored product development process set out above in the literature review. In this section the market research, existing product research, end users, human factors and interdisciplinary integration will be outlined.

3.1.1 Market Research Demographics

Thermo King has been a world leader of transport control systems as early as 1938 and has a variety of different products that vary from van systems to air and sea going systems. The compressor assembly removal tool for Thermo King’s new trailer refrigeration unit will be used by service personal to service the belt, clutch and compressor or to inspect any rotating components in the in the field.

Thermo King’s factory that is based in Galway supplies the majority of the refrigeration units used worldwide outside of America. The target market for the removal tool will be focused at the EU market for the refrigeration units that are aimed to be introduced in 2020. Applicable Technologies

In this section, the author must look at relevant products that may be reverse engineered to design the removal tool. Due to space constraints service of the belt, clutch and compressor in the field is a highly challenging and time consuming. In order to ease the challenge and reduce the time of the service, development of a precise tool that could hold and move the compressor requires research of products with similar architecture and functional behaviours. The following are products that have relevant features that may be used in the design of removal tool;

Feature 1:  Actuators

Feature 2: Engine Hoist


Feature 3: Hydraulic Lift/Jack


Feature 4: Support Frame


Feature 5: Scissor Lift


Feature 6: Manual Car jack Environmental

In designing the compressor removal tool, the author must adhere to all relevant ISO, EU and ASTM standards.

3.1.2 End User

In this section

3.1.3 Constraints

Identifying the constraints is a key stage in the planning phase of the development process as it highlights the most important limiting factors that stand in the way development team achieving its goal. The following are constraints that surround the design of the removal tool;

  1. Due to limited space servicing of the belt, clutch and compressor is highly challenging and time consuming.
  2. As the TRU is mounted on the trailer wall tool and hand access is limited.
  3. Access to the system is between 10-15ft above ground level.
  4.  The TRU is fully charged with Oil and refrigerant in the field and the fluids may not be removed.
  5. The compressor assembly can only move towards the left.
  6. The refrigeration vibrasorber must stay attached to the compressor.
  7. The tensioner may not be used as a rest as it would damage the bearings.
  8. The compressor flange must clear 7 studs during compressor assembly removal, with 1 stud with a length of 57.2mm and 6 studs with 44.5mm lengths.
  9. The clutch must clear the 30mm dowel pins.
  10. The position of the slanted post on the left hand side render free movement of the compressor assembly to be taken off, or replace the belt.
  11. There is approximately 60mm between the frame slanted post and the compressor end. The compressor assembly must move to the left by 43mm to clear the stud and then it must be angled towards the front in order to remove the assembly.

3.1.4 Mission Statement

Thermo King Compressor Assembly Removal Tool 

Mission Statement

Product Description Thermo King require a compressor assembly removal tool to speed up field service times for the clutch, compressor and to replace the belts.
Key Business Goals The design must consider all safety aspects designers, users and service personal. 

The tool design must use appropriate ISO/ASTM/EN standards.

The design must reduce service time from 4 hours, with half an hour being the target time.

The potential tool must fit within the given boundaries/constraints.

All parts must be ordered from Thermo King approved suppliers.

Tool must operate within temperatures ranging from -40⁰ up to 50⁰C

Primary Market Thermo King Customers 

Service engineers

Truck drivers

Secondary Market Transport Companies 


Assumptions Compressor removal tool to be designed by Ian and Andrew. 

Removal tool to be manufactured within the Thermo King workshop,

All parts to be sourced through trusted suppliers.

Part to be fully operational within constricted space.

Stakeholders Thermo King 

Senthil Kumar

Alan Heneghan

Gabriel Costello

Ian Heffernan

Andrew Waters

3.2 Concept Development

The concept development phase of this project consists of two key stages that are required to produce a successful product development. Collecting and identifying the customer needs and product concept generation and selection are the two critical stages required. The procedures used to identify the customer needs and develop concept ideas are described in detail below.

3.2.1 Collect and identify customer needs Customer Needs Statement

3.2.2 Product Concept Generation and Selection

4.0 Discussion

5.0 Conclusion and Recommendations
























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