Research Papers: Design Theory and Methodology

Evaluation of System Evolvability Based on Usable Excess

[+] Author and Article Information
Jeffrey D. Allen

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Brigham Young University,
Provo, UT 84602
e-mail: jeffallen@byu.edu

Christopher A. Mattson

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Brigham Young University,
Provo, UT 84602
e-mail: mattson@byu.edu

Scott M. Ferguson

Department of Mechanical and
Aerospace Engineering,
North Carolina State University,
Raleigh, NC 27695
e-mail: scott_ferguson@ncsu.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received December 4, 2015; final manuscript received June 10, 2016; published online July 18, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Carolyn Seepersad.

J. Mech. Des 138(9), 091101 (Jul 18, 2016) (9 pages) Paper No: MD-15-1798; doi: 10.1115/1.4033989 History: Received December 04, 2015; Revised June 10, 2016

Complex, large-scale engineered systems are an integral part of modern society. The cost of these systems is often high, while their ability to react to emergent requirements can be low. This paper proposes evolvability, based on usable excess, as a possible metric to promote system longevity. An equation for the usability of excess, previously defined only in terms of quantity, is improved to include the attributes of type, location, and form as well as quantity. A methodology for evaluating a system's evolvability is also presented. Using an automated assembly line as an example, we show that system evolvability can be modeled as a function of usable excess.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME
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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Automated assembly station layouts. A = Tray conveyor, B = tray (incoming), C = end effector, D = vertical actuator, E = tray (empty), F = main conveyor, G = pallet.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Station timing layout




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