The engineering design process requires input from different professionals. This situation comes from the growing degree of specialization within the field of engineering. The design of a bed-to-wheel-chair transfer device requires input from different engineering professionals. The engineering disciplines necessary for the design of the device includes Biomedical Engineering, Human Factors Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. The overall coordination for such a project falls under the purview of an Engineering Manager. An Engineering Manager comes from one of the engineering disciplines but in addition, he possesses training and experience in team leadership and management.
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The Roles and Goals of Individual Team Members
The team member from Biomedical Engineering will bring crucial expertise that will provide an interface between engineering principles and the practices of medicine. His role in the design process of the bed-to-wheelchair transfer device will be the identification and application of engineering concepts used in the medical field that are relevant to the project. He will help in identifying the medical issues that the team needs to put into account during the design process and help in developing alternative designs based on Biomedical Engineering approaches. His specific role in the design process will be identification of medical aspects relevant to the design process for consideration. In addition, he will participate in the development of alternative designs. These roles will ensure that the final product meets the performance standards set for medical equipment.
The team member from Human Factors Engineering will bring to the team knowledge and skills that govern how people interact with equipment. In this sense, the member will identify ergonomic concepts required in the design of the transfer device. In addition, he will determine how other people, apart from the patient, will respond to the device. Among patients who use wheel chairs, some have little or no control over their limbs. These patients will need assistance when using the device. The role of Human Factors Engineering in this context is to determine how the helpers will interact with the transfer device. A good design will ensure that the product convenient to use.
The third team member with Mechanical Engineering training will bring to the team skills and concepts derived from that particular engineering tradition. In essence, the transfer device will be a Mechanical Engineering product that will make it possible for needy persons to transfer themselves to and from a bed. This will increase their independence and mobility. The main role of the team member from the Mechanical Engineering field will relate to the assessment of alternatives generated for the product. He will check if they conform to the threshold required for them to function based on Mechanical Engineering principles.
Combined Team Product Design Approach and Goals
The design process will have five key stages. These are the clarification of the problem statement, identification of design requirements, development of alternative solutions, development of a preliminary design, and development of a detailed design. The development of the problem statement will involve all the team members because it is the basis of the team’s effort. Each team member must have a clear understanding of the problem at hand in order to participate effectively in the project. During the second stage, the Biomedical Engineer will lead the process of developing alternatives. The rationale is that the product is under the purview of the Biomedical Engineering discipline hence a Biomedical Engineer has the best contextual understanding to move the team forward. The development of the preliminary designs will call for the expertise of the Mechanical Engineer whose chief role will be the determination of the soundness of the design based on Mechanical Engineering analysis. The Human Factors Engineer will look at how the design fits into the human-machine interaction parameters and propose any necessary adjustments. These two engineers (Mechanical and Human factors) will work together to refine the design. After the refinement of the preliminary designs, all the team members will jointly select the final design in order to produce a prototype. At this stage, each team member will focus on their area of expertise to ensure that the team puts into account all the factors necessary for optimal performance.
My role as a manager in the process will include coordination of team activities, supervising individual development processes, and ensuring that the team remains focused on the objectives of the project. I will also ensure the availability of all the resources needed for successful completion of the project.
|1||Identification and clarification of design problem||Engineering manager, Biomedical engineer, Mechanical engineer and Human factors engineer||Problem statement|
|2||Identification of design requirements (criteria and constraints)||Engineering manager, Biomedical engineer, Mechanical engineer and Human factors engineer||List of criteria and design constraints|
|3||Development of alternative solutions||Engineering manager, Biomedical engineer, Mechanical engineer and Human factors engineer||Alternative designs meeting the design criteria|
|4||Development of a preliminary design||Mechanical engineer and Human factors engineer||One design that best meets the criteria|
|5||Development of detailed design||Engineering manager, Biomedical engineer, Mechanical engineer and Human factors engineer||Product prototype|