A Theory for the Development of Conceptual Functional Models for Automation of Manual Processes


Conceptual design is a vital stage in the development of any product, and its importance only increases with the complexity of a design. Functional modeling with the Functional Basis provides a framework for the conceptual design of electromechanical products. This framework is just as applicable to the conceptual design of automated solutions where an engineered product with components spanning multiple engineering domains is designed to replace or aid a human and his or her tools in a human-centric process. This paper presents research toward the simplification of the generation of conceptual functional models for automation solutions. The presented methodology involves the creation of functional and process models to fully explore existing human operated tasks for potential automation. Generated functional and process models are strategically combined to create a new conceptual functional model for an automation solution to potentially automate the human-centric task. The presented methodology is applied to the generation of a functional model for a conceptual automation solution. Then conceptual automation solutions generated through the presented methodology are compared to existing automation solutions to demonstrate the effectiveness of the presented methodology.

Meeting Name

ASME 2007 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC2007 (2007: Sep. 4-7, Las Vegas, NV)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Conceptual Process Modeling; Design Complexity

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2007 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

07 Sep 2007

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