A design framework for identifying automation opportunities Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/0p096c041

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  • Since the Industrial Revolution, automated systems have increasingly become a part of everyday life. Automated systems range in scale and scope from simple assists to complete robotic replacements. Inexpensive integrated circuits, sensors and microprocessors have allowed automated systems to become smaller, cheaper and more prevalent. Identifying appropriate opportunities for automation, however, is still a complex task. This research aims to discover automation opportunities for the design of products that replace error prone human-centric tasks. Process models are used during conceptual design to capture how customers will use products. These process models combined with functional modeling provide a starting point for the systematic exploration of automation opportunities. Failure analysis based on process models is used to identify customer-product interaction points offering opportunities for automation. Impact factors qualitatively and quantitatively predict the impact of an automated solution as it relates to an identified failure mode. The integration of functional and process models creates a framework to support modeling of manual processes. This framework is used for the discovery and conceptualization of products to fulfill identified automation opportunities and consists of the following four stages. (1) Identify and understand the needs of the customer. (2) Translate customer needs into engineering specifications. (3) Identify automation opportunities from the manual actions of the customer. (4) Synthesize solutions to the identified automation opportunities. This framework defines the underlying structure for a family of methodologies to automate existing manual products. One methodology, supported by the framework, is presented in this dissertation for identifying automation opportunities based on error prone human-centric tasks. Designing an automated solution for identified opportunities has the potential to improve task completion efficiency, provide safer product operation, provide improved convenience and improve quality control with the final outcome of a task. Applications of this research include automated systems for military or defense applications, assistive technologies that improve quality of life, therapeutic devices for clinical applications, design of sustainable products, design of consumer-focused products and smart home technologies.
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