Until now, design engineers using Pro/ENGINEER have had two choices when evaluating and optimizing human interaction with their design—build physical prototypes or purchase third-party software that is not an integrated component of their product development system.
Neither of these choices is ideal. Investigating human factors issues via physical prototypes or mockups is time-consuming and expensive, and there are typically limits to the number of design iterations that can be investigated. Results often only become available late in the design process when it is expensive to implement changes.
Software for digitally simulating human interaction with products has traditionally been very expensive, designed for experts, difficult to use, and not well integrated with CAD software.
Human modeling software for product designers. The rules of the game have changed with the introduction of Pro/ENGINEER Manikin. This human modeling software, which is based on an ISO Standard for the definition of digital human models, is attractively priced—thereby removing the financial barrier to adoption, easy-to-use and fully integrated with Pro/ENGINEER. It is designed for use by product designers with a broad set of design skills and allows the evaluation of a wide range of human-centric issues at a time when changes and alternatives can easily, and inexpensively, be implemented.
Let’s look at how this new software can be used to design the cab of an agricultural vehicle to ensure safe, comfortable and productive operation. Pro/ENGINEER Manikin simplifies digital human modeling to the point where human factors can be incorporated into the proposed design as soon as the initial concepts for the cab have been drawn up.
With Pro/ENGINEER Manikin you can simply insert an accurate digital human model—selected from an extensive manikin directory—into the Pro/ENGINEER environment and have it co-exist directly with the cab geometry. Pro/ENGINEER Manikin offers a wide selection of manikin nationalities and sizes, making it easy to validate the design for a wide range of potential customers from around the world.
Going through the motions. You might require a manikin to interact with the cab controls to analyze issues such as whether the steering interferes with the driver’s legs, or whether the driver can turn the steering wheel fully.
Pro/ENGINEER Manikin includes a comprehensive directory of predefined postures that can be applied to the human model simply by selecting a thumbnail view of the required posture. Once an initial posture has been selected, a dedicated suite of tools is provided to intuitively manipulate the manikin into the desired position—either by manipulating groups of manikin segments (Inverse Kinematics) or individual manikin segments (direct kinematics). Using snapshot constraints, you can “attach” the manikin’s segments to an object in the cab, such as the steering wheel, so that if the manikin moves the object follows accordingly, or vice-versa.
In addition, you can utilize standard Pro/ENGINEER tools such as clash, collision, distance and clearance to further evaluate these interactions. Once the manikin motion and postures have been defined, you can easily swap it with a larger or smaller manikin of a different gender, size or nationality.
A clearer vision. As part of your design process, you might want to posture the human model into the correct driving position and check for visual performance. Simply toggling on and off a dedicated button displays visual characteristics such as line of sight and accurate, optimal, peripheral and binocular vision cones. You can easily move the head, eyes and body of the human model to analyze vision from different driving positions.
Pro/ENGINEER Manikin also allows you to “see what the manikin can see” by orienting the model so that you can see the design from the point of view of the potential user. This makes it easy to determine, for example, that a front loader design meets a requirement that the driver be able to see the entire shovel from the cab, or that no controls could potentially obscure the driver’s view of key displays.
Product designers may also want to quickly and intuitively check if the driver can operate all of the different controls within the cab. A graphical representation of the reach zone of each of the driver’s arms can be toggled on and off, allowing for or discounting trunk motion.
To more accurately verify reach-based tasks that appear to reside on the edge of the reach envelopes, the human model’s limbs can be moved through the actual motions required to perform the desired task. For example, you can easily determine whether the driver can reach the air conditioning button while keeping one hand on the steering wheel. Again, once the task has been defined, models of different gender, sizes and nationalities can easily be substituted to determine how the entire user population would interact with the design.
In the event that a product design requires more detailed investigation into human performance issues, Pro/ENGINEER Manikin Analysis Extension contains a more advanced suite of analysis tools geared towards human factors experts and product designers alike. Standards-based tools to evaluate workplace and product usage scenarios such as manual handling (RULA), pushing/pulling (Snook), lifting and lowering (Snook and NIOSH), and carrying (Snook) can be used to comprehensively evaluate all elements of a worker’s interaction with products and processes.
Designing more user-friendly products. Using Pro/ENGINEER Manikin and Pro/ENGINEER Manikin Analysis to integrate a digital human model into the product development process makes it possible to evaluate design alternatives from a customer’s standpoint early in the design process. The ability to evaluate many different design options from a user’s perspective makes it possible to deliver, in an affordable fashion, a product with substantially greater usability than products designed using traditional methods.
The global marketplace requires designers and manufactures to consider the characteristics of a global customer base. The cost and time involved in identifying and addressing customer-centric issues early in the design process can be significantly reduced using Pro/ENGINEER Manikin. Pro/ENGINEER Manikin, when deployed as an integral component of your product development system, allows you to adopt a customer-centric design strategy.
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