June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.291.1 - 15.291.11
Communication Needs in Collaborative Automated System Design
Design of automated manufacturing systems is a highly collaborative endeavor, requiring constant communication between a customer (typically a manufacturer), a team of system integration engineers, and suppliers. There are three layers of activities involved in designing an automated manufacturing system. First, the engineers need to capture what the customer wants. Second, the engineers need to know about the various mechanical and electrical devices that make up the system and the control programs needed to orchestrate and synchronize the process being automated. Third, the engineers need to identify vendors and equipment for the system.
Web-based instructional materials and problem-solving environments are being built to help engineering students and new engineers to acquire the subject knowledge and skills needed to contribute to these activities. However, the focus of these tools thus far has been on educating individual learners. Needed are instructional tools that can allow engineering students to collaborate with other students and industry engineers to solve realistic problems in a realistic way, and thereby better prepare them for industry jobs. The recent surge in use of Web 2.0 tools (such as social networking, blogs, wikis, web conferencing, and shared applications) suggests that these technologies are now mature and well-established enough to become a regular part of engineering education.
This paper describes developments in an ongoing NSF project that aims to combine instructional materials for system integration problem-solving with Web 2.0 tools to create collaborative learning environments that allow teams to work and learn together in solving system integration problems. The first stage in this project involves the following steps: 1) identify what modes of communication are currently being used to facilitate collaboration within the system integration industry; 2) determine how this communication culture be translated into a virtual collaborative problem-solving environment; and 3) summarize constraints, needs, goals, and factors affecting the success of system deployment. Results from this stage will be used in identifying and designing the tools that should be made available in a collaborative environment for learning automated system design.
System integration refers to all the tasks related to designing, building, testing and fielding an automated manufacturing system. An automated manufacturing system generally consists of processing equipment, material handling devices, and material transfer equipment. The processing equipment can be a computer numerical control (CNC) milling, lathe, turning machine or any other type of equipment that changes or alters a property of the work piece. Material handling devices include industrial robots, actuators, and others devices that handle the work-in-process work-piece at the workstations. Material transfer equipment, such as conveyors, is often used to move raw materials from bins to a destination where they can be picked up by material handling devices. A system controller, such as a programmable logic controller (PLC), works behind the scenes to orchestrate and synchronize the operations performed by the
Hsieh, S., & Sun, A. (2010, June), Communication Needs In Collaborative Automated System Design Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15963
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