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Int J Interact Des Manuf DOI 10.

1007/s12008-007-0034-0

ORIGINAL PAPER

Robust design of car packaging in virtual environment
Antonio Lanzotti

Received: 14 September 2006 / Revised: 10 October 2007 / Accepted: 15 October 2007 © Springer-Verlag France 2007

Abstract This paper presents a statistical methodology to improve the car packaging setup in the first phase of a new mini-car design. An original procedure for comfort assessment using virtual manikins is formulated. The Robust Design approach enables to identify the optimal level for the main design factors of the new car packaging. The optimal solution is the most insensitive to anthropometric variability. The case study of a new mini-car packaging setup is exploited. The experimental results in virtual environment are obtained using the virtual manikin Jack by UGS. On the base of adequate comfort indexes, the proposed methodology allows defining a car packaging which is, on average, more comfortable than that obtainable as initial setting by applying the Enhanced SAE Packaging Guidelines and the Posture Prediction algorithms proposed by the UMTRI (UMI-USA). Keywords Virtual ergonomics · Robust design · Human variability modelling

1 Introduction The evaluation of the car comfort is a complex and structured task, directly influencing safety [1]. Modern cars offer to occupants ergonomic seats and handy controls. In order to improve good performances in the long run, ergonomic requirements and constraints have to be taken into account since the briefing of a new car [2]. The rational ergonomic design requires the management of a large number of design parameters and variables [3]. In the last 10 years, the use
A. Lanzotti (B) Dipartimento di Ingegneria Aerospaziale, University of Naples Federico II, P.le Tecchio 80, 80125 Naples, Italy e-mail: antonio.lanzotti@unina.it

of the Digital Mock Up (DMU) of cars and virtual manikins, that allow to simulate drivers and passengers tasks is extended at the beginning of the life cycle [4–13]. In this way, it is possible to reduce the activities based on physical prototypes, being virtual design validation more and more advanced. Furthermore, the SAE Packaging Guidelines [14–18] make useful reference to the choice of packaging parameters for the main market segments. The validation of the packaging design requires methods based on anthropometric database and 3D virtual manikins. The virtual manikin is a quite realistic human model, indeed it consists of a fully jointed skeleton. The dimensions of body segments can be simulated in order to reproduce the anthropometric variability for selected populations [1,19–21]. This paper presents a statistical methodology to improve the car packaging setup in the first phase of a new mini-car design. The case study of a new mini-car packaging setup is exploited. The experimental results in virtual environment are obtained using the virtual manikin Jack. On the base of some adequate comfort indexes, the ergonomic robust design approach enables, in the first phase, to identify the optimal level for the main design factors of the new car packaging and, in the second phase, to define a design setting of car packaging which is, in average, more comfortable than that obtainable as initial setting by applying the Enhanced SAE Packaging Guidelines and the Posture Prediction algorithms proposed by the UMTRI (UMI-USA). The optimal solution is the most insensitive to anthropometric variability and improves robustness minimizing adjustment requirements.

2 Ergonomic robust design Figure 1 shows the p-diagram of the robust design approach to comfort improvement. The main aim is to define a car

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Lanzotti Fig.7 −0 . In this way. safer position of legs. The car accessibility. lifting and rotation of legs are required to reach and 123 . is improved. The quality evaluation of each design setting is obtained on the base of both a loss function and some comfort indexes.9 35. an elderly person can minimise the efforts to get into and out of a car. reported in Table 2 are chosen on the base of designer remark. Seat Cushion Angle (L27) D. 1 Ergonomic robust design approach of car packaging packaging that improves the postural comfort of the target population. The design parameters. the high H-point follows from the requirements of improving accessibility and comfort. are taken into account in the experimental pre-design phase (see Fig.5]. In particular. 2 Design factors used in the pre-design experimental phase Table 2 Initial settings of design factors Design factor A. The response is a set of quantitative measures of static postural comfort.3 40.1 Mini-car packaging definition The definition of mini-car packaging starts from the SAE packaging guidelines. driver space reduction (about 30–40 mm). being the most insensitive to anthropometric variability and minimizing adjustment requirements. Vertical SgRP to Hell Point (H30) C. since in Europe. Seat Track Angle (STA) Starting level 1. In this way. virtual experiments can be realized using virtual manikins. the anthropometric variability can be considered a noise factor. are the most important ones and. that are implemented in the Enhanced SAE Packaging. reported in Table 1. flattening car platform in the feet area. In this approach (see Fig. Following a cross array design. the trend is to make the car body higher.0 13. a trunk rotation of 45 degrees. Lumbar Prominence (LB) B. Steering Wheel to Bof (SWB) E. In order to Fig. the 53% of user are elderly persons. The mini-car packaging starting levels. 2). 1). the designer can make the H-point higher without loosing space between the driver/passenger heads and the car ceiling.A. for this reason. 9 Dimensions cm cm degrees cm degrees Table 1 Definition of car packaging design factor used in the pre-design experimental phase Lumbar Prominence Vertical SgRP to Hell Point Seat Cushion Angle Steering Wheel to Bof Seat Track Angle (LB) (H30) (L27) (SWB) (STA) improve cabin accessibility and seat comfort. with the previous mentioned design choices. [4. 2. Briefly. Design factors of car packaging are suggested by the SAE guidelines and the level of each design factor can be defined together with designers. the evaluation of the best in class and initial trials in virtual environment realized in order to avoid unrealistic posture. the H-point growth realizes the following advantages: good steering wheel grasp.

six percentiles. f (h f ) + pM . is given by the measures of the joint angles reported in Table 3 and proposed in [24]. σF = 6. w j ( pF ). with parameters: µF = 162. based on objective elements. e.1 Joint angle measure using Jack For the virtual experimentation. the virtual manikin Jack by UGS. µM = 175. 3. and denote with y j (5. (i.425. 5-th. Assume that from the population of potential users we select one manikin which represents a specified body height percentile for a given sex. proposed in [22] for a Normal distribution.F 4 1 + PM 1 6 Z 5. 4 can be calculated by satisfactorily approximating the results obtained using Eq. that is defined as a mixture of the Normal random variable (r.F = j =1 L Q (Y j (5. A good interpretation of driver comfort. F ) ) is evaluated using the (4) for the 5-th percentile female. being: pF + pM = 100% In this paper. the 5-th percentile female.M ) + w4 ( pF )(CL95. while it is accommodated in the driver seat. The weights can be fixed. the weighted comfort loss (WCL) can be defined: WCL( pF ) = w1 ( pF )(CL5 + w2 ( pF )(CL50. j = 1. depending on the population mix is fully developed in [23].v. σM = 6. as a result.083 where L Q (Y j (5.F + 6 Z 50.Robust design of car packaging in virtual environment leave the seat.389. safety.F + w2 ( pF ) Z 50.F + 6 Z 95. This variability is a noise factor and has to be taken into account in the experimental design.69. Hpop . in an original way. that constitutes the potential user population.M + w4 ( pF ) Z 95. starting from (3).g.(h M ) (1) 2 3 4 5 6 2.5.F +w3 ( pF ) Z 50.3 Postural comfort evaluation The evaluation of seat driver comfort is a complex task. In this way. a generic response as weighted average depending on the mix: Z w ( pF ) = pF 1 4 1 6 Z 5. 50-th and 95-th for females and 5-th. Starting from [25]. 4. 2. HM ): f (h pop ) = pF . it is possible to parametrically define. the experimental runs are reduced by one third without loosing the quality of results. The weight evaluation. Furthermore. the loss at ymin j and ymax j (reported in Table 3). by generalizing the results in [22] for the noise factor design.F) the observed value of the joint angle Y j for the 5-th percentile female. the total joint angle loss for the 50-th percentile female. The results could be parametrically expressed as a function of the population mix. For example. w3 = 0. developed in the late 1980s at the Center for Human (6) 123 .v.F ) +w3 ( pF )(CL50. In this way. 2. Starting from the outer array definition and level choice. the following generalized weighted average is proposed: ∗ ( p ) = (w ( p ) Z Zw F 1 F 5.F + 6 Z 95.78.2 Noise factor: anthropometric variability Table 3 Experimental results about comfortable joint angles values [24] J 1 Joint angle Head flexion Arm flexion Elbow Trunk-thigh Knee included Head flexion Observed minimum −10 19 86 90 99 80 Male mode 7 50 128 101 121 93 Female mode 4 40 113 99 117 92 Observed maximum 26 75 164 115 138 113 The driver seat comfort must be the most robust to anthropometric variability of the target population. Assume that we measure the joint angles of the manikin. for a 50% mix. 50-th and 95-th for males) can approximatively be chosen. So. w4 = 0. w2 = 0.F) ) (5) (3) where the new weights w j ( pF ).F + 6 Z 50. j = 1. the higher H-point can improve visibility and. 50-th percentile male and 95-th percentile male can be evaluated.103.M ) 2. in fact it depends on both subjective and objective point of views.) of female and male heights ( HF . setting equal to the conventional value one.e. 3. In the same way. The population mix can be defined as the percentage of females ( pF ) and males ( pM ). the noise random variable is the height of target population.3.F (2) where k1 j and k2 j are obtained. the asymmetrical quadratic comfort loss is defined: L Q ( Y j ) = k 1 j ( Y j − y T j )2 (4) where f (h f ) and f (h M ) are the pdf of Normal r. 2.7. as k1 j = (Ymin j − yT j )−2 and k2 j = (Ymax j − yT j )−2 . 2. the weights are: w1 = 0.M ) CL5. Then the total joint angle comfort loss is: m In order to reduce the experiments.

Thus the value 35 (i. reproducible because the posture prediction tool ensures that only one posture satisfies the imposed constraints. is used. 3. Thus the value −0. the upper bound to realistic posture) is assigned to level 1. The Seat Cushion Angle (L27) levels are fixed so as to reduce the over-pression of thigh against seat. the datum-point) is assigned to level 0. gives interactively the possibility to choice the car packaging for the market segment of potential users. 3 First experimental phase On the base of five design factors.3 (i. and posture of the virtual manikin are fixed. The Seat Track Angle levels are fixed so as to improve comfort with reference to leg position. at two levels the inner array is a full factorial and.9 is assigned to level 1. whereas the value 60 (i.e. 4. So.e. percentile. on the base of (3).e. 5. 3.26]. the minimum value obtained from the trials) is assigned to level 0.1 Experimental results Figure 3 shows the Pareto diagram as a synthesis of experimental results. After sex. the levels have been chosen on the base of the following designer remarks: 1. It is not possible to realize these steps automatically. Lumbar Prominence (LB) Vertical SgRP to Heel Point (H30) Seat Cushion Angle (L27) Steering Wheel to Bof (SWB) Seat Track Angle (STA) 1.e.e. A tool of the software Jack. the minimum value obtained from the trials) is assigned to level 0.3 40 0 35 −0 . defined in Table 1. each experiment in virtual environment (VE) requires time and needs interaction with a computer operator. the maximum in order to improve comfort) is assigned to level 1. whereas the value 50 (i. Thus the value zero is assigned to level 0. the Enhanced SAE Packaging Guidelines. Table 4 shows the level chosen for each of the five design factors. the joint angles are measured through the Comfort Assessment tool. The Vertical SgRP to Heel Point (H30) levels are fixed following some preliminary trial results.e. is assigned to level 1. 3 Main factors and interactions affecting the global weighted comfort loss Table 4 Design factors and levels defined for the first experimental phase Design factor Levels 0 1.27–30. The Lumbar Prominence (LB) levels are fixed following the guidelines and taking into account the actual range of variation of the car seat. now. The Steering Wheel to Bof (SWB) levels are fixed following results of preliminary trials on visibility. Lanzotti Modeling of the University of Pennsylvania.A.9 (i. the minimum value suggested by the guidelines) is assigned to level 0 whereas the value 10 (i. 3. 9 1 10 50 13. whereas the value13. The experiment in VE is. The packaging setting enables to generate reproducible posture of the manikin through the Posture Prediction tool. 2. based on the Porter and Gyi results too [24]. the maximum value calculated by taking into account the actual range of variation of the car seat).e. Thus the value 40 (i. This analysis highlights that the main factors Fig. Thus the value 1. based on research of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) [11. the maximum value obtained from the trials) is assigned to level 1. The cross array requires 128 experimental runs. the outer array defines only four runs. 5. whereas the value 6 (i.9 60 6 cm cm deg cm deg Fig. 4 Plot and mean effects of interaction BD Dimensions 123 . 2. 4.e.

since the more is the comfort the less is the level.40 44.21 11. the cross array requires 108 virtual experiments. S ) 5th.32 95th.35 7. The significance of mean effects is evaluated applying the methods of Lenth [31].Robust design of car packaging in virtual environment Table 5 Results of the first experimental phase (limit cases) Run CL( p. 5 Plots of mean effects of design factors 123 .7 cm degrees cm Initial setting Dimensions Fig. F Initial setting Worst case (run16) Best case (run19) 10. C and B. the absolute contribution is negative. the outer array defines only four runs. it is not possible to extend the range so the new level is defined in the mean point in order to discover if the optimal value can be inside the interval.89 CL(50) first phase. In Fig. following on the base of the experimental results and designer remarks: – The factor B (H30). M 11.9 35.16 24.07 7. Table 6 shows the levels chosen for each of the five design factor. instead. reduces the comfort loss at the maximum level due to the interaction with D-.29 7.25 50th. the new levels are chosen in order to discover if this trend is hold outside the previous experimental interval. 9 40 −2 30 0 45 2 40 Dimensions cm degrees 1 50 6 50 40 13. M 11. F 11. 4 the interaction plot and the mean effects of the interaction BD are shown (Table 5).89 6. the inner array is a three level full factorial (33 ) and.25 29.25 50th. So. The levels are chosen following the classical DOE approach.3 −0 . In this case. in this case.25 19. are the interaction BD and the simple factors D. like in the Table 6 Design factors and their levels for packaging settings at the second experimental phase Design factor Levels −1 B C D Vertical SgRP to Heel Point (H30) Seat Cushion Angle (L27) Steering Wheel to Bof (SWB) Fixed design factor A E Lumbar prominence (LB) Seat Track Angle (STA) 1. in this case. 4 Second experimental phase On the base of the results of the first experimental phase. – The factor D improves the comfort at the minimum level.68 6.27 19.

43 11.14 50th.11 6.97 6. This combination is better than B at the middle level and D at the higher level for the main effect of B and D. Figure 6 shows that the interaction BD increases robustness when the factor B is at the higher level and D is at the middle level. M 95th. Factor C (L27) is not influent on the response and can be fixed at the more economical level. F Initial setting Best case (run20) 10.71 11. – The factors A (LP) and E (STA) are both fixed at the optimum level from the first experimental results. 9 Initial setting Fig. it is possible to evaluate qualitatively differences and goodness of results. 6 Mean effects of interaction BD Fig. 7 Discomfort variation for the four standing height for the design factor H30 Fig.27 14. Table 7 shows the experimental results in terms of CL and WCL(50). Fig. The best run improves the good results based on previous experimental phase (about 10%).17 5 Concluding remarks Figures 9 and 10 show the change in the driving posture from the starting settings to the optimal ones for the mini-car. highlighting that the main factors are D (SWB) and B (H30) in decreasing order of importance.87 5. M 11. 4. Further.22 WCL(50) Worst case (run7) 12. Fig.37 6.A. Lanzotti – The factor C (L27) improves the comfort at the minimum level and the new levels are fixed taking into account design constraints. 10 Best run of second phase 123 . F 50th. Figures 7 and 8 show the sensibility of Comfort Loss to level choice of B and D.46 11. the worst run points out the goodness of the initial setting. S ) 5th.25 12.40 7.16 13. 8 Discomfort variation for the four standing height for the design factor SWB Table 7 Results of the second experimental phase (limit cases) Run CL( p.25 13.1 Experimental results Figure 5 shows the mean effects of the three factors on the comfort loss.

This result is good and can be generalised to all population mix.14 50th.Robust design of car packaging in virtual environment Table 8 Comfort improvement obtained through two experimental phases CL( p. M 11. F Initial setting I exp. phase: Best Run 10. S ) 5th.43 95th.25 7.40 7.32 6.22 Run WCL(50) Table 8 and Fig. 11 show global improvement of postural comfort from the initial setting to the best setting suggested after the two experimental phases.89 6.27 7. F 11.25 6. is greater than 40%.71 50th. 11 Comfort improvement obtained through two experimental phases Fig.21 6. measured by means of WCL(50).25 5. The average improvement. Figure 12 shows how the proposed packaging is robust against the variation of the population mix ( pF ) of potential users.46 11.25 7. phase: Best Run II exp. The proposed procedure can enable to find more robust and more comfortable packaging settings for the mini-car Fig. 12 Comfort robustness in function of the population mix for the initial settings and the two experimental phases 123 . M 11.16 6.

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