DESIGN OPTIMIZATION OF DISPOSABLE COFFEE CUPS

Angel N. Chukwu

Abstract


In 2014, Starbucks made a change in the lids used for their disposable hot coffee cups. Since this change, customers have noticed an excessive amount of drip originating from the interface of the coffee cup lid and the paper cup rim. The flaw occurs when the Starbucks disposable hot coffee cup is filled with coffee, and the cup is tilted to drink. Due to the seam created during the paper cup manufacturing process, the hot beverage saturates the seam of the paper cup and travels up to the rim of the cup where residual amounts of coffee collect. Upon meeting the lid, the coffee then drips down the side of the cup and on to the consumer. This research aims to provide a solution to the described design flaw in the lid-rim interface of the Starbucks coffee cup. To further analyze this problem, the coffee drip was replicated in a series of experiments using cups from various manufacturers to determine the cup-lid combinations that minimized the issue. Using this design information, optimal coffee cup designs were modeled with computer-aided-design (CAD) software. Physical three-dimensional (3D) prototypes of the new coffee cup designs were printed using additive manufacturing (AM) to test the effectiveness of the designs.


Keywords


additive manufacturing, hot coffee cup, Starbucks, leakage, coffee lid, computer aided design, polyethylene paper manufacturing, prototype

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