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International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS2006)

A Case Study Documenting Specific Configurations and Information Exchanges in Designer-Artifact-User Complex Systems

Jonathan R. A. Maier
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson University

Timothy Troy
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson University

Jud Johnston
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson University

Vedik Bobba
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson University

Joshua D. Summers
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson University

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     Last modified: May 29, 2006

Previous work has identified a high level model of engineering design known as the Designer-Artifact-User (DAU) system, which has been shown to be a Complex Adaptive System. Within a DAU system, information is exchanged between designer-artifact, designer-user, and user-artifact. However, recognizing that these exchanges are not uniform, nor necessarily bi-directional, this paper presents a case study that has been done to identify specific configurations of the DAU system. The case study was conducted a posteriori through a study of a completed undergraduate mechanical engineering student design project. The original design goal, sponsored by a major automotive OEM, was to develop a new fixture for an assembly-line operation. The case study, following standard protocols, is used to identify and illustrate different DAU configurations, such as the Designer-Artifact-Manufacturer (DAM) sub-configuration that results from the interaction necessary to build functional prototypes of the artifact. This paper also uses the findings of the case study to suggest which exchanges of information should be strengthened to enhance overall DAU system performance.

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