Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP) markets the number one single-serve coffee brewing system in the United States. Students on the Keurig team will design and prototype an automatic pod feeder and disposal compartment to be integrated into a Keurig coffee machine, supporting a fully-automated coffee brewing experience.
Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the United States. According to the National Coffee Association, an estimated 517 million cups of coffee is consumed per day. Of U.S. coffee drinkers, 27% are single cup brewer users. In order for Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP) to remain an industry leader, constant innovation occurs to improve the experience of coffee brewing. Previous work has been completed to create an automated puncture mechanism that still requires manual feeding of pods. There is a desire to fully automate the brewing experience, including pod loading and disposal, into a packaged solution for home use. Students on the Keurig Dr Pepper team will be tasked with developing the automated pod feeder that not only meets the successful loading requirements of the coffee pod, but also accounts for user safety, user experience, and design for manufacturability in a high-volume industry.
The development of an automated pod feeder, incorporated with an automated puncture mechanism, will provide convenience and consumer satisfaction in a growing market, and continue to put Keurig on the top of the home coffee brewing market.
Minimum Viable Product Deliverable (Minimum level of success)
- Literature review of Keurig best practice design, previous data/project work, and understanding of consumer needs. Include patent search and review of competitors’ product offerings
- Development of requirements
- Subsystem Design and development of automated pod feeder mechanism in accordance with sponsor-approved manufacturing processes
Expected Final Deliverable (Expected level of success)
- Integrated subsystem into prior project (automated puncture mechanism) prototype that can (1) accept coffee pods from the user into an organized hopper, (2) consistently load pods into puncture mechanism, and (3) collect pods in a user-friendly removable bin
- Provide a user experience in line with Keurig Dr Pepper “handshake” standards
- Maintain an agreed-upon footprint to minimize counterspace
- Meet UL safety standards
- Validated system against requirements
Stretch Goal Opportunities: (High level of success)
- Include selection option for multiple types of pods
- Low/No pod detection within in-storage hopper
- Remote auto brew capabilities for Wi-Fi enabled smart brewers
- Load standard size Keurig Pod box rather than manual loading of pods
Mechanical Design (2-3 Students)
Specific Skills: Mechanical Design with specific interest/skill in prototyping, injection molded plastics design, kinematics/dynamics, Solidworks Modeling
Likely Majors: ME
Mechatronics Design (1-2 Students)
Specific Skills: Design of mechatronic systems including the use of motorized linkages/gears/CAM systems
Successful completion of ME350 or equivalent preferred
Likely Majors: ME, EE
Electronics/Software Design (1-2 Students)
Specific Skills: Electronics design with specific interest/skill in power management and closed loop controls
Likely Majors: EE, CE, CS
Human Factors Engineering (1 Student)
Specific Skills: Engineering design focused on human factors and human safety engineering.
Likely Majors: ME, IOE
Additional Desired Skills/Knowledge/Experience
- Design for manufacturing (specifically in high volume plastic)
- Kinematics/dynamics experience
- Interest in consumer products
- Agile project management experience
- Appreciation for coffee is a bonus!
Charlie is a Mechanical Engineer at Keurig Dr Pepper in the Puncture Mechanisms group, working on a variety of improvement and development projects. Prior to joining Keurig, Charlie worked as a Mechanical Design Engineer at Raytheon Technologies, and GE Appliances. Charlie is a proud alumnus of the University of Michigan where he graduated with a B.S.E in Mechanical Engineering. During his time at Michigan, Charlie participated in the Multidisciplinary Design Program on a corporate sponsored team, and worked as a peer advisor for the program.
Ramez is a Senior Mechanical Engineer at Keurig Dr Pepper, and has been with KDP for 2 years now. Prior to KDP, Ramez worked in aerospace / defense, SOLIDWORKS, valves and fixtures, and automotive industries. Ramez and his family live in Boston, and they love all outdoor activities.
Rob is a Senior Engineering Manager at Keurig Dr Pepper, and leads the advanced development of the puncture mechanism team. Rob has been with Keurig for just over 5 years now, and prior to that, he was an engineering manager for Life Fitness/Cybex. Rob graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston.
Dr. Kruger is an Associate Research Scientist in both Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Michigan. He is passionate about finding novel engineering solutions to problems faced by care providers, and believes in translating these solutions into broader practice. He has a diverse research background, with publications covering areas from Intelligent Manufacturing Systems to Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Kruger’s current research focuses on Biomedical Informatics approaches (robotics, ultrasound, physiologic monitoring, software and firmware development, hardware design, algorithms, signal, image and video processing, and novel prototype manufacturing) based on Computational Intelligence technologies.
Project Meetings: During the winter 2024 semester, the Keurig team will meet on Tuesdays from 4:30 – 6:30 pm. Location TBD.
Work Location: Most of the work will take place on campus in Ann Arbor.
Course Substitutions: CE MDE, ChE Elective, EE MDE, CoE Honors, MECHENG 490, SI Elective/Cognate
Citizenship Requirements: This project is open to all students. Note: International students on an F-1 visa will be required to declare part time CPT during Winter 2024 and Fall 2024 terms.
IP/NDA: Students will sign IP/NDA documents that are unique to Keurig Dr Pepper.
Summer Project Activities: No summer activity will take place on the project.