Following are the general considerations in designing a machine component:
1. Type of load and stresses caused by the load: The load, on a machine component, may act in several ways due to which the internal stresses are set up.
2. Motion of the parts or kinematics of the machine: The successful operation of any machine depends largely upon the simplest arrangement of the parts which will give the motion required.
The motion of the parts may be:
(a) Rectilinear motion which includes unidirectional and reciprocating motions.
(b) Curvilinear motion which includes rotary, oscillatory and simple harmonic.
(c) Constant velocity.
(d) Constant or variable acceleration.
3. Selection of materials: It is essential that a designer should have a thorough knowledge of the properties of the materials and their behaviour under working conditions. Some of the important characteristics of materials are: strength, durability, flexibility, weight, resistance to heat and corrosion, ability to cast, welded or hardened, machinability, electrical conductivity, etc.
4. Form and size of the parts: The form and size are based on judgement. The smallest practicable cross-section may be used, but it may be checked that the stresses induced in the designed cross-section are reasonably safe. In order to design any machine part for form and size, it is necessary to know the forces which the part must sustain. It is also important to anticipate any suddenl applied or impact load which may cause failure.
5. Frictional resistance and lubrication: There is always a loss of power due to frictional resistance and it should be noted that the friction of starting is higher than that of running friction. It is, therefore, essential that a careful attention must be given to the matter of lubrication of all surfaces which move in contact with others, whether in rotating, sliding, or rolling bearings.
6. Convenient and economical features: In designing, the operating features of the machine should be carefully studied. The starting, controlling and stopping levers should be located on the basis of convenient handling. The adjustment for wear must be provided employing the various take up devices and arranging them so that the alignment of parts is preserved. If parts are to be changed for different products or replaced on account of wear or breakage, easy access should be provided and the necessity of removing other parts to accomplish this should be avoided if possible. The economical operation of a machine which is to be used for production, or for the processing of material should be studied, in order to learn whether it has the maximum capacity consistent with the production of good work.
7. Use of standard parts: The use of standard parts is closely related to cost, because the cost of standard or stock parts is only a fraction of the cost of similar parts made to order. The standard or stock parts should be used whenever possible; parts for which patterns are already in existence such as gears, pulleys and bearings and parts which may be selected from regular shop stock such as screws, nuts and pins. Bolts and studs should be as few as possible to avoid the delay caused by changing drills, reamers and taps and also to decrease the number of wrenches required.
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8. Safety of operation: Some machines are dangerous to operate, especially those which are speeded up to insure production at a maximum rate. Therefore, any moving part of a machine which is within the zone of a worker is considered an accident hazard and may be the cause of an injury. It is, therefore, necessary that a designer should always provide safety devices for the safety of the operator. The safety appliances should in no way interfere with operation of the machine.
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9. Workshop facilities: A design engineer should be familiar with the limitations of his employer’s workshop, in order to avoid the necessity of having work done in some other workshop. It is sometimes necessary to plan and supervise the workshop operations and to draft methods for casting, handling and machining special parts.
10. Number of machines to be manufactured: The number of articles or machines to be manufactured affects the design in a number of ways. The engineering and shop costs which are called fixed charges or overhead expenses are distributed over the number of articles to be manufactured. If only a few articles are to be made, extra expenses are not justified unless the machine is large or of some special design. An order calling for small number of the product will not permit any undue expense in the workshop processes, so that the designer should restrict his specification to standard parts as much as possible.
11. Cost of construction: The cost of construction of an article is the most important consideration involved in design. In some cases, it is quite possible that the high cost of an article may immediately bar it from further considerations. If an article has been invented and tests of hand made samples have shown that it has commercial value, it is then possible to justify the expenditure of a considerable sum of money in the design and development of automatic machines to produce the article, especially if it can be sold in large numbers. The aim of design engineer under all conditions, should be to reduce the manufacturing cost to the minimum.
12. Assembling: Every machine or structure must be assembled as a unit before it can function. Large units must often be assembled in the shop, tested and then taken to be transported to their place of service. The final location of any machine is important and the design engineer must anticipate the exact location and the local facilities for erection.
Credit: Machine Design by R.S Khurmi