Case Study: Lee Household Flour Mill
Royal Lee Organics is a subsidiary of Standard Process®. Since 1929, Standard Process has been dedicated to the field of nutritional supplements and the whole food philosophy introduced by Dr. Royal Lee. Royal Lee Organics provides organic ingredients as well as a re-designed version of Dr. Lee’s household flour mill that was originally designed in 1949.
When Dr. Lee first developed the mill in the 1940’s, he was concerned about what was happening to flour. In order to avoid spoilage, commercial mills were discarding the germ and the bran through a process called extraction, resulting in a less nutritious ingredient. Dr. Lee provided an alternative, allowing bakers to purchase and store grains in their natural state and mill them at home when needed. The result was fresh flour with all of its naturally occurring nutrients.
The original Lee flour mills were manufactured by hand, and many of them from the past 50 years are still in use which is a testament to the reliability and durability of the design. The previous manufacturing process, however, was expensive and time-consuming, so the engineering team made some changes to the flour mill in order manufacture it in a production environment.
One of the challenges the engineering team dealt with involved the rotating disk inside the mill. This disk creates an air current that rubs the grains up against the stone, an action that reduces the grains into flour. This disk rotates at high speeds, between 5,000 and 10,000 RPM. Anytime a component that rotates at such high speeds is out-of-balance, it will create problems. The least of these problems is that the machine becomes louder, which is unpleasant for the user. A more damaging consequence is that vibrations from out-of-balance conditions can cause early life failure of the motor. For these reasons, the Lee engineering team spent a lot of time determining what to do about balancing these rotating disks.
The team considered sending the disks to a third party for professional balancing, but that option proved too expensive and impractical. Instead, the team developed a manufacturing process that produces disks that are true and round. This resulted in a component that is as “in-balance” as possible. To verify this, the Lee Engineering team built a testing procedure using the DynaVibe GX2 system to measure vibration of the motor and rotating disk. Now, the vibration level of every flour mill is tested before it leaves the factory, ensuring that they fall within the specification limits the engineering team developed through various trials.
DynaVibe is helping assure that consumers are getting flour mills that live up to the traditions of quality and reliability for which the brand is known. The full vibration spectrum and balance data that DynaVibe provides also gives the Lee Engineering team baseline metrics and set of benchmarks the team can use to further improve the design of the mill in the future. With DynaVibe, there is certainty about how much vibration may exist and where it comes from. This helps ensure that the flour mills that leave the factory meet the standard of excellence.
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