Transport System

Transport System (TS) - Self-Propelled Trolley

Belt-Pulley System


The purpose of the transport system (TS) is to transport a load from one place to another and then return to its original position using no external power. It comprises a self-propelled trolley powered by the potential energy of the load placed on it. It operates by purely mechanical means. The trolley runs on a wheel in a track on the floor. It is about the size of a hospital trolley and will carry a load of approximately 8 kg. Short distances indoors will be covered initially. The design of the TS system is described here. Dimensions are available for an initial prototype model.

The concept on which the system is based is described. The main components in the system will be described; and how they operate and interconnect. The system enclosure and paneling will be described. The sequence of operations in the transportation process will be outlined. Multiple sketches are provided of components, panels, frames, and the transportation process itself. How the system is operated is described. Design notes, options and the mechanics of the system are given as well. References found useful during the design and the selection of different options are given.


A load is placed on the trolley. The trolley is then put in motion by operating a lever. When the trolley reaches its destination, the load is removed. A lever is then operated and the trolley returns to its original location. A sketch of the TS and how it operates is given here >>


transport system, self-propelled trolley, load, mechanical system, potential energy, springs, compression plate, rack and pinion, belt-pulley system, clamps, levers, sustainability


This is a list of references used during this study. They refer to different options considered during the design. Component manufacturers who are possible sources of components that could be considered for the project are listed. Online resources are listed as well.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence systems Perplexity and Gemini (mainly Gemini) were used during the design to find different options for mechanisms in the TS system. They were mainly used to get information on very specific mechanical operations in the TS system and to find references for mechanical components. The AI system was also asked for advice on the best mechanical solutions to use for particular use cases.

Gemini was able to remember the topic "Transportation System" and use it as background knowledge to answer questions put to it on the mechanical design. To get the best results from the AI system it was necessary to streamline the prompts to quite specific questions. One drawback of this prompting process is that you cannot make the queries too general as Gemini is unable to maintain a broad overview of the system being examined and can only answer quite narrowly focused questions well.

But for specific design queries it was very good and was able to offer multiple alternatives every time.

Design Notes

This project description is being composed at the moment, so it is not finished yet. The TS system was designed in Spring, 2024 and put online then. After that it will be continuously refined and upgraded. In April 2024 the original design was modified by replacing the two slider crank mechanisms operating in series in the trolley by a belt-pulley system.

Then in June 2024 another design iteration was put online. In this latest iteration the toggle clamps used to fix the dish and compression plate were replaced by pins. This is not a major alteration just replacing clamps with pins, but also showing how the pin carriage asembly is installed and operated.

A record is kept of notes taken during the design. They show the various options explored. Only some of the options were implemented but the notes are available for comparison purposes and as a record.

Further Reading

During the design the designer kept up to date with developments in mechanical engineering design by engaging in further reading. Some useful start-ups were found who are engaging in the same type of approach. A Swiss company called Neural Concept was a very interesting and inspiring read online. They explain how AI is used in mechanical engineering design - exactly what this project is about. They provide information on multiple tools, like CAE (computer aided engineering), CFD (computational fluid dynamics), AI, Deep Learning, and Simulation, that can be used in the design.

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