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ICED 11
Theses repository

MECHATRONICS DESIGN IN JAPAN

A study of Japanese design methods and working practice in Japanese companies

MECHATRONICS DESIGN IN JAPAN

Year: 1989

Author: Buur, Jacob

Supervisor: Andreasen, Mogens Myrup

Institution: Institute for Engineering Design, Technical University of Denmark (DTH)

Pages: 101

Abstract

The subject of this report is methods and working practice in Japanese product development of mechatronics. The success of Japanese industry in products combining mechanics with electronics and software is well-known, and the objective of this work was to study, if Japanese product developers apply methods, which may be adapted in Europe.
Japanese engineers and industrial designers do in fact apply methods for design work, but not -as may be expected -for the design of basic product functions (product synthesis). They work very systematically with user research, market segmentation ('lifestyle design'), product planning, testing of new product concepts in the market etc. The report describes a number of Japanese methods, which have hardly been published outside Japan before.
A part of the explanation of the success of Japanese product development is the product strategies that the companies follow, and the favorable circumstances that the companies create for their design teams in terms of motivation, employee education, physical surroundings etc. The main strategy is to study the competitors' actions and to shorten development times in order to react fast and efficiently to changes in the competition situation. At the same time the Japanese pay much attention to the opportunities given by new technologies and the present trend towards user-focused designs.
In Japan only fragments of methodology exist for solving the central problem in mechatronics design: determining the optimal combination of mechanics, electronics and software. This report however discloses other methods and a set of strategies highly relevant to the development of mechatronic products. The knowledge of these methods and strategies can help European companies understand, how the Japanese competitors react.

Resume
Emnet for denne rapport er metoder og arbejdsmønstre indenfor japansk produktudvikling af mekatronik (apparatteknik). Den japanske industris succes med produkter, der kombinerer mekanik med elektronik og software, er velkendt, og det var malsretningen for dette arbejde at undersøge, om der i japansk produktudvikling findes konstruktionsmetoder og arbejdsmønstre, der kan overføres til europćiske forhold.
Japanske konstruktører og industrielle designere anvender faktisk kontruktionsmetoder i deres arbejde, men ikke - som vi måske ville forvente - til konstruktion af produktets grundlćggende funktioner (produkt-syntese). De arbejder derimod meget systematisk med brugerundersøgelse, markeds-segmentering ('lifestyle design'), produktplanlćgning, markedstest af nye produktideer osv. Rapporten beskriver en rćkke japanske metoder, som nćppe tidligere har vćret offentliggjort udenfor Japan.
En del af forklaringen på japansk industris succes i produktudvikling ligger i de produktstrategier, som virksomhederne følger, og i de gunstige forhold, virksomhederne skaber for sine konstruktionsteams mht. motivation, medarbejderuddannelse, fysiske rammer osv. Strategierne består hovedsagelig i at studere konkurrenterne nøje og at nedsćtte udviklingstiden for at kunne reagere hurtigt og effektivt på ćndringer i konkurrencesituationen. Samtidig er japanerne meget opmćrksomme på de muligheder, der ligger i nye teknologier og i tidens tendens mod brugerfokuserede produkter.
Der findes i Japan kun få fragmenter af metoder, der kan hjćlpe med at løse det centrale problem i mekatronikkonstruktion: at fastlćgge den optimale kombination af mekanik, elektronik og software. Men denne rapport afdćkker andre metoder og et sćt strategier, som har vćsentlig betydning for udvikling af mekatronikprodukter. Et kendskab til disse metoder og strategier kan hjćlpe europćiske virksomheder til at forstå de japanske konkurrenters handlinger.

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Design 2010