2009 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this planned study is to conduct research on and development of a proprietary white-tailed deer collaring assembly with improved function, reduced parts, increased reliability, and more robust construction than the current prototype assembly that is used with the newly developed robotically enhanced ARS-patented automatic collaring device for white-tailed deer. The resulting assembly will permit attachment of collars with a variety of functions, and will greatly improve the automated sizing for individual deer.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
ARS and Wildlife Management Technologies, LLC, Woodstock, CT, and CRADA partner with ARS will host engineers from Empire Prototype & Product Development, Inc., Attleboro, MA, at WMT facilities to view the new automatic collaring device and to receive schematics of suggested parts changes and prototype assemblies. Collaboration among all parties will be ongoing during all developmental phases, and periodic tests of functionality of incremental prototype designs will be done using the actual collaring device prior to mold manufacture and final parts production.
During FY 2009, primary efforts of ARS scientists and the SCA cooperator were to collaborate with personnel of Empire Prototype and Product Development, Inc. on research to develop plastic injection molding tools and prototype plastic parts of two proprietary collar assemblies designed specifically to function with the 5th generation robotically enhanced and fully computer-assisted automatic collaring device for white-tailed deer that has been designed and prototyped under an agreement with a separate vendor. Numerous informational contacts were made and concept drawings were exchanged among ARS, Empire, and a CRADA partner during the year to enhance the likelihood that the project would be completed within the short one-year timeframe. The CRADA partner also used a 3-dimentional printer to manufacture and assemble semi-functional representative assemblies that were supplied to Empire engineers as hands-on parts to accompany detailed drawings. As opposed to the original prototype clasp assemblies, these greatly simplified collar components will require significantly less time and effort in assembly and will permit a greater range of adjustment during the self-sizing event of collar attachment to the deer. Although the project is close to meeting scheduled production dates, the scheduled completion date has been extended to 08/31/2010 to obviate undue rush, permit additional time for testing functional properties and mechanical polymer stability, in efforts to enhance final quality of the tools and parts. The ADODR participated in communications, held product develop and design conferences, and monitored progress of the project primarily through teleconferences and exchanges of email, drawings, and photographs with the SCA cooperator and the CRADA partner.