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NAU Senior Capstone E3 Debonder Team

Pictured from left to right: Alyssa Lessard, Maxwell Rascon, Jonathan Chin, Chuck Rahrig (President and Co-Founder of E3 Displays), Anthony El-Shamsi, Alexandria Brown 

E3 Displays (E3D) recently sponsored a Senior Capstone Project for Northern Arizona University (NAU) College of Engineering. Two NAU students who were summer interns at E3 Displays were part of a team of seniors (a total of six students involved in their Engineering Capstone project). 

The team was provided with ideas and they chose to design and build an automatic glass removal system to replace the manual method that was being used. This equipment would allow E3D to more efficiently remove cover lenses or touch panels on completed units for which customers returned for rework. 

The de-bond process is typically used on returned customer units due to assembly damage or a non-functional component.  Removing, salvaging, and re-using the display, touch panel, cover lens, and other components is critical to the de-bond process.

E3 Displays Optical Debonder Concept Model E3 Displays Optical Debonder Concept Model E3 Displays Optical Debonder Concept Model

Pictured: Proposed Concept Models 

The NAU students worked with E3D to create several design ideas; E3D provided guidance and expertise in working to a final design and hardware selection. E3D supplied the team with requirements that the final design must encompass to meet the demands of their manufacturing process. 

Criteria and requirements for de-bond equipment:

  •           – Equipment max footprint of 10 ft x 10 ft
  •           – Remove touch panel/cover lens from the LCD without damage
  •           – Separated components will be reused
  •           – Improved yields over current manual procedures
  •           – Automate the process to reduce current labor-intensive de-bond procedures
  •           – Serviceable for repairs and rework
  •           – Equipment is capable of de-bonding displays from 3.5 inches to 17 inches
  •           – Process minimum 20 units per day
  •           – Audio/visual signal once de-bond is complete

E3 Displays Optical Debonder Concept Model

The Capstone Project is a senior-level dual semester course.  In the first semester, the team concentrated on gaining knowledge about the current de-bond process while interviewing E3D staff and brainstorming ideas.  The second semester’s focus was on documenting and building the final design. E3D helped by guiding the students during the design and build stages, supplied funding for the project, and provided access to hardware/tools and the E3D facility during the build phase. 

Throughout the design and manufacturing process, the capstone team overcame several challenges through an in-depth risk analysis identified below:

E3 Displays NAU Optical Debonder Concept Model

The risk analysis provided the team – and E3 Displays – visibility into the PROS, CONS, and consequences of the various design parameters.  The ability to re-use individual components after the de-bond process amounts to significant cost savings for both customers and E3D – reducing the need to purchase new components and reducing electronics waste which must be properly disposed of.

The NAU Capstone Project was successfully completed in May 2021.

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