Automated Ice Bag Maker
Advisors: Steve Alexander, Professor of Physics and Debika Sihi, Associate Professor of Economics and Business
Athletes comprise of approximately one third of the students at Southwestern University and the athletic training department sees dozens of these student-athletes every single day. Each one comes in for specialized treatment and athletic trainers devote much of their time to developing and administering such treatment. They often do not have time to do every day tasks. One of the most common things athletes need is ice bags.
The currently established practice of hand-making ice bags is somewhat tedious and so our project objective is to build a working prototype of an automated ice bag maker to alleviate time and labor costs that athletic trainers and physical therapists accrue. The prototype is designed to allow the user to select a body part they wish to make an ice bag for. The machine will then dispense the appropriate amount of ice and automatically make the ice bag. The actual mechanics of the machine include a motorized chute for the ice to enter the bag, a conveyor belt that moves the filled bag under a thinly designed tunnel to spread the ice evenly, an air-tight
vacuum chamber that will remove the excess air, and a heat sealer to close the ice bag. Another consideration when developing our machine is the cost and efficiency of using a cooling gel versus ice cubes and we will be testing this as we create the machine. Upon completion of the prototype, we will hopefully take it into the field and test it in various athletic training departments and physical therapy offices in the greater Georgetown area.