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Generating Product Concepts for Level Crossing Systems in Australia Report

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Updated: Mar 7th, 2022

Introduction

The task of generating product concepts for level crossing systems in Australia must be considered. The budget for this project is $250 AUD. The following will consider the elements of a product concept generation process, and integrate these elements into the specifics of a level crossing systems project. The following is a description of our prototype. Without the methods used in formal concept generation, we would not have been able to have such a complex and well-planned prototype description.

Main body

Generating a product concept is the process of giving a rough description of the working components and processes of a product in the designing stage. This process begins with a set of clientele desires and goal objectives, combined with a list of potential concepts which may or may not be implemented. The designing team should have a sense confidence of in the concepts and feel assured that all options were considered while the best were chosen before this phase is completed. The level crossing systems for rural areas project is to increase the safety of the people and the property while crossing the tracks in rural areas. Essentially, the idea is that level crossings are dangerous places. Countless lives are lost on the tracks. The government is spending thousands of dollars in making the level crossing safe, still, many level crossings need our attention and a huge amount of money is spent on upgrading them from passive level crossings with signs to an active level crossing with boom gates and the lights.

The process of generating a product concept can be broken down into many steps, including clarifying the problem or demand, problem or demand composition, an external search, leading users, utilizing experts, creating benchmarks, considering patents and copyrighting literature, contacting various professional societies, standards, internal searching, implementing individual methodologies, implementing group methodologies, systematic exploration, creating a classification tree, creating a combination table, and reflecting on the process with regards to more consideration or amendments (Ulrich and Eppinger 2004 p.102).

Continuous improvement is critical in generating product concepts. Full comprehension of the problem is critical. Any problems should be divided into smaller sub-problems, and then these should be the first focus. ‘Functional decomposition’ is an essential element of this process, while the essentials of the product should be the reference for functional diagrams depicting how the product operates from one step to another. Sub-functions should be considered, especially those that are most essential to product success or have the highest probability of making some gain from innovative solutions (Ulrich and Eppinger 2004 p. 102). The system we are designing is a unique system with safeguards and backups built into it.

The system consists of the following: twelve sensors that would sense the train, a circuit board that contains the microcontroller and another supporting circuit that would analyze the data, a program that is loaded in the microcontroller that controls the boom gates, a traffic signal, train signals, and barricades. Technically, the system would work as follows: the sensors could either be a ground vibration sensing sensor or the infrared sensors that would detect the train coming at a distance of three kilometers away and it trips the system. The boom gate circuit is triggered and the barricade closes on to the trains allowing the traffic to pass. We would be using the barricade gates instead of the boom gates to make the level crossings more secure. The boom gates have a high probability of being misused by the people. Six sensors would be placed at a distance of one kilometer each, three on each side. The sensors could be placed on a pole of about three to four feet of the ground, or they could be embedded on the tracks.

Creating a concept combination table is a common and helpful practice in systematic exploration for concept generation. In this solution fragments and sub-problems can be explored in an organized and systematic way. Fragments are commonly combined for immediate and potential solutions. In this, some solutions can even be ‘forced’ whereas they never would have been associated without this table. We used this method to design some specifics of our project. The first two sensors are placed at least one kilometer from each other and the third a little further away. Once the first sensor is activated by the train, the second sensor has to be activated within a certain time. When the second system is activated the barricade closes the road allowing the train to pass through. However, if the train misses the allocated time and still passes through the last sensor the barricade will drop automatically. Once the train has passed through the barricade, it needs to pass the exiting sensors before the barricade is raised.

Every system needs a failsafe. The fail-safes that we are including for this system are designed on account of taking the following considerations: if the circuit is destroyed, if vandals have damaged it, ‘idiot proofing’ (high levels of fool-proof ‘user-friendliness,) and fault detection and reporting. The signaling system is a unique system that we have come up with for this project. The signaling system consists of two sets of lights working in unison with the barricade system. The lights turn red on the traffic side of the crossing signifying that the train is passing so stop. When the light is orange it cautions the driver saying that the train is approaching take caution. When the lights are green the train has crossed and it is safe to cross.

Using this basic idea we have come up with a signaling system for the trains on the level crossing. There would be three sets of signals at the crossing for the train operators. These signals would be placed at an interval of more than a kilometer each from the crossing. It takes a minimum of 1km for a train to stop. If the barricade is open and the traffic is moving about the crossing, all three sets of signals would turn red. (Once the traffic has crossed the crossing) the lights would turn green. If there are faults with the system the orange lights would flash consistently warning drivers that the circuit is broken and they would have to take care while crossing. We have also taken into account that if the circuit is broken or destroyed, there would be a button that would allow drivers of the vehicles to manually operate the crossing. If the circuit is broken and the manual systems are being used there is a number to call and report that the crossing is broken. There would be an emergency calling system that would be placed at the crossing so that drivers could press the button on the system to report that there is a problem with the system.

Conclusion

Concept generation processes have helped us to come up with these ideas and more. Taking into account that this is an isolated area, the signaling system can communicate to the server reporting the fault in the crossing system. Fault identification is also taken care of by the signaling system itself, the series of flashing orange lights would signify which system is not working so it is easy for the maintenance teams to isolate and fix the faults.

Thus, the concept generation process has helped us to design the project as mentioned and more. As it is an ongoing process, we will use the methods for continual improvement and problem solving when necessary. Without following the concept generation guidelines we would not have been able to describe our prototype as mentioned.

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IvyPanda. (2022, March 7). Generating Product Concepts for Level Crossing Systems in Australia. https://ivypanda.com/essays/generating-product-concepts-for-level-crossing-systems-in-australia/

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IvyPanda. (2022, March 7). Generating Product Concepts for Level Crossing Systems in Australia. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/generating-product-concepts-for-level-crossing-systems-in-australia/

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"Generating Product Concepts for Level Crossing Systems in Australia." IvyPanda, 7 Mar. 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/generating-product-concepts-for-level-crossing-systems-in-australia/.

1. IvyPanda. "Generating Product Concepts for Level Crossing Systems in Australia." March 7, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/generating-product-concepts-for-level-crossing-systems-in-australia/.


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IvyPanda. "Generating Product Concepts for Level Crossing Systems in Australia." March 7, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/generating-product-concepts-for-level-crossing-systems-in-australia/.

References

IvyPanda. 2022. "Generating Product Concepts for Level Crossing Systems in Australia." March 7, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/generating-product-concepts-for-level-crossing-systems-in-australia/.

References

IvyPanda. (2022) 'Generating Product Concepts for Level Crossing Systems in Australia'. 7 March.

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