Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Mechanical Engineering


Summers, Joshua D

Committee Member

Law , Harry

Committee Member

Mocko , Gregory


This work will illustrate how Environmental America Inc., EAI, and the Clemson University design team utilized lean manufacturing principles to revolutionize the curbside waste collection process. Through the application of lean manufacturing principles the number of non-value added steps was significantly reduced and the information gathered from the lean process tree acted as a framework to develop initial constraints and criteria for the vehicle's development. The design team was asked to construct the fifth iteration of the prototype collection vehicle in an effort to minimize vehicle cost, size and weight. An extensive case study will be presented which illustrates how the design team utilized CAE to optimize the proposed prototype baling system. The investigation is conducted through the use of an 'observer as participant' form of case study. The EAI combined collection vehicle was selected as the focus of the study due to the complexity and size of the system, as it has a significantly larger scope than those presented in classic academic engineering design projects. Since previous prototypes have been developed without the use of CAE software or additional engineering tool support, a benchmark for comparison exists which will directly demonstrate the benefits and limitations of the chosen software. Currently, CAE and FEA software is often used for product validation, system optimization, and parametric studies, however, this paper will demonstrate how CAE and FEA can be utilized to verify physical experimentation. The results of this case study will show that although the use of CAE significantly reduces lead time and cost associated with product development, the software can be extremely hazardous when used inappropriately.