CNC machine design for wheelchair users: a case study of fadal vertical machining center 15
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Current survey has showed that people with disability need equal work opportunity. Meanwhile, labor shortage is becoming more and more serious in existing manufacturing industry and there is less physical work involved in CNC machine operation. Thus it is a good opportunity for people with disability to work in manufacturing industry as CNC operators. In the preliminary research, observation, interview and domain research were conducted to understand activates of FVMC (Fadal Vertical Machining Center is a type of CNC machine) operators. Researchers found the existing FVMC are very inconvenient to use, because most of them were designed for the general public. Operator's performance was restricted by the poor design of the machines and the work area. As a result, many people, especially wheel chair users have found limited employment opportunities in the manufacturing industry. To address this problem, on one hand, we presented a study on the current FVMC. A Full size FVMC was mocked up and 9 wheelchair users and 6 able-body users participated in this study. They were asked to mimic to finish the tasks relate to FVMC operation. This study also aims at collecting data for universal FVMC design. On the other hand, based on the preliminary research two concept of FVMC design scenarios are also developed and evaluated by two groups of subjects. This study addressed limitations of wheelchair users with respect to CNC operation, especially reaching issues, and collected data about the preferred FVMC settings and design from wheelchair users and able-bodied people. At the end, design guidelines were developed for machine engineers or designers in two aspects: 1) improve currently available FVMC; 2) redesign FVMC that is safer and easier to use. These guidelines will increase the potential of employing wheelchair users alongside able-bodied people in the manufacturing industry.