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MEC734 Crossover Assignment

This project is run jointly with the students in MEC734 (Design for Manufacture). In it, you will reverse engineer a small product, propose design improvements, work collaboratively with MEC734 students, and also critique their work. (And they will critique yours.)

The project is laid out in a series of phases and gates, described below, where a phase is a major task, and a gate is a checkpoint at which point a deliverable is presented.

Deadlines: see the weekly schedule.
Rubric: see this Google Spreadsheet.

The phase-gate project management process (sometimes called a “waterfall” model) has been in use since the 1940s. For large and complex projects, it isn't very effective or efficient. However, since it is light-weight and generally easy to implement, it does still work for smaller projects, such as this one.

Gate 1: Kickoff

Each team in both courses will receive a product to analyze. You will “reverse engineer” the product and analyze it from a general design point of view.

This “gate” is for kick-off activities:

  • Make sure you understand and agree in your teams to the deliverables.
  • Develop a general work structure - who will do what over the project's duration.
  • Begin reverse engineering the product. Make sure you document this process extensively.

Phase 1: Analysis

Analyze the product and the information you gathered as you reverse engineered it. Complete these tasks by Gate 2 (described below).

  • Document your reverse engineering of the product.
    • To help you do the reverse engineering consistently, use the following two documents (from MEC734):
      1. Product Disassembly Worksheet - to document all the assembly steps taken in reverse (i.e., disassembly) to take the product apart, as well as any “non value added” steps needed - e.g., reorientation - to assemble the product as well as any assembly operations that may be needed - e.g., gluing, soldering - which may also need tools.
      2. Product Decomposition Worksheet - to document all the parts, their manufacturing processes, and materials used.
  • Develop a suitable systems architecture of the product.
  • Reverse engineer as many of the original requirements as you can determine via analysis of the product itself.
  • Think through as many problem areas, shortcomings, etc. with the design from the point of view of usage in real-world settings (including storage, maintenance, etc.) as well as sustainability / life-cycle concerns.
  • Identify as many tentative / possible improvements to the design as you can. Document them carefully and thoroughly.

Gate 2: Joint Course Team Meetings

Teams from MEC723 and MEC734 will be paired by the instructors. Gate 2 involves meeting with your partner team to:

  • discuss your findings,
  • learn from each other about the product's shortcomings, and
  • brainstorm ideas for possible improvements.

The goal is NOT to develop a single set of proposed design improvements or do any “deep” design work, but rather to inform your own team's decisions by considering your partner team as DfM experts/consultants.

Phase 2: Develop design proposal

Using all info gathered to that point, each team will develop a design proposal for an improved product.

Write a report that includes:

  • a review of the reverse engineering proposal and what you learned from it;
    • (cover all 5 points listed in Phase 1)
  • a review of all the proposed design improvements;
    • (distinguish those arising from Phase 1 from those arising from the Joint Meeting)
  • a summary of how they were distilled into a single (set of) proposal(s); and
  • an overall justification for why your proposals will improve the product.

Gate 3: Report submission & exchange

All teams hand in reports for grading.

The instructors will send ungraded, anonymous copies of each team's report to a team in the “other” course for review. The team that receives your report will not be the same team you met with at Gate 2.

Phase 3: Partner report analysis

Each team will analyze their partner team's report, and write a new critique report:

  1. Consider the broader design issues of the MEC734 team's report from a systems point of view, such as functionality, usability, sustainability (including manufacturing, operation, and end-of-life phases), and ergonomic aspects.
  2. Given the improvements proposed by the MEC734 teams, what does your team think of their proposals from the broader systems point of view?
  3. Suggest further improvements, or changes to the improvements proposed by the MEC734 teams, to improve the product design from a systems point of view.

Critique reports should be approximately 2 pages long. Point form is strongly encouraged.

Gate 4: Submit critique

Each team submits a critique of their partner team’s report for grading.

Critiques will be distributed (ungraded) to the original teams, for their information.

mec723/crossover_assignment.txt · Last modified: 2020.10.27 13:45 by Fil Salustri