Research Papers

Considering Secular and Demographic Trends in Designing Long Lifetime Products for Target User Populations

[+] Author and Article Information
Charlott de Vries, Christopher J. Garneau, Gopal Nadadur

Matthew B. Parkinson

Engineering Design, Mechanical Engineering, and Industrial Engineering  The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802parkinson@psu.edu

J. Mech. Des 133(8), 081008 (Aug 22, 2011) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4004703 History: Received November 16, 2010; Revised July 20, 2011; Published August 22, 2011; Online August 22, 2011

The objective of this study is to investigate the effects of design decisions on the accommodation afforded by long lifetime products over extended periods of time, and to then make recommendations to improve accommodation. Phenomena such as rising obesity rates, aging, and changes in user demography can affect the spatial and the physical requirements of the user population. As a result, products with long lifetimes must be robust to these secular and demographic trends. For example, heavy (e.g., Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Class B) trucks are often used for decades. Changes in the size and the shape of truck drivers and in the percentage of female truck drivers have placed unanticipated demands on older trucks and forced designers to predict future needs. This work concludes that for changes related to secular trends (e.g., increasing obesity and stature), products that work well for current populations are the most likely to be robust to the needs of future ones. However, changes in user demographics (i.e., different proportions of race, ethnicity, and gender) are more likely to be problematic.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Topics: Design , Trucks , Dimensions
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Figure 1

The mean stature and BMI values for male and female U.S. civilian populations, based on NHANES data [35]

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Figure 2

The H-point represents the approximate location of the seat where the driver’s hips would be located. The box represents the range of permissible H-points for a given truck.

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Figure 3

The distribution of the stature in each virtual population

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Figure 4

The distribution of the BMI in each virtual population

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Figure 5

The accommodation level of the virtual populations in Trucks A and B. Measurements represent the distance in millimeter from the AHP. Truck A is the original legacy vehicle. Truck B has the same accommodation area as Truck A, but this area is centered around the 1977 population.

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Figure 6

The accommodation level of the virtual populations in Trucks C and D. Measurements represent the distance in millimeter from the AHP. Trucks C and D are optimized to have the minimum adjustability for 81% and 95% accommodation, respectively.

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Figure 7

The accommodation levels of the trucks with respect to the area of adjustability. The solid line represents the Pareto frontier of truck cabs optimized around the 1977 population. The performance of the analyzed trucks are shown with each virtual population represented by a separate shape.




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