Original Date: 07/18/1994
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Machine Design Process
Mason & Hanger (M&H) initiated a structured design procedure to improve engineering productivity by shortening the cycle time required to design new machines or resolve other manufacturing equipment problems. This initiative was implemented through M&H's Methods Engineering (ME) group which was tasked with the design and development of any new machines or equipment required for the production of explosive devices.
The ME group was previously tasked with many intermediate-size projects that came with a pre-conceived idea of what exactly was required, as well as the final form of the design. An essentially intuitive design methodology was being used by the requesting organization, without allowing sufficient insight to system requirements by ME.
In February 1994, the ME group instituted a structured design methodology procedure to focus on three main areas: Identify the problem This first step involves clarifying the task, specifically, what the problem is really about, what are the implicit and explicit wishes and expectations of the solution, and what properties must the solution not have.
Determine the available solution requirements or boundaries The second step involves developing a solution-neutral problem statement that will allow for broader range of solution options, instead of focusing the design on an intuitive solution to the problem. For example, instead of "Install a dust collection system," a solution-neutral problem statement would state "Eliminate the dust hazard."
Solve the problem within the solution boundaries Step three centers on developing a listing of both mandatory and desired properties of the design solution.
After completing these steps, the more traditional project planning and design processes can begin. All preliminary review tasks are identified on a task verification check-list that must be completed prior to receiving approval to proceed with the design effort.
By thoroughly evaluating the requirements of design tasks, unnecessary/repeat design activities will be eliminated. In one example cited, M&H avoided three months of design time and $10K in costs by fully analyzing the problems associated with air flow in a paint booth.
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