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Development methodology for manufacturing of

commercial robots
Rolando Cortes-Martinez, Eduardo Vazquez-Santacruz and Mariano Gamboa-Zun iga
Centro de Investigacion y de Estudios Avanzados del I.P.N.
Coordinacion General de Tecnologas de la Informacion y las Comunicaciones
Av. I.P.N. No. 2508, Col. San Pedro Zacatenco 07360, Mexico, D.F., Mexico.
Tel.: (52)-55-57473800 ext. 6819
Email: efvazquez,

AbstractIn this paper is presented a methodology and a case

of study in which a final commercial product is developed. It
is presented all the stages and timings throughout which the
product is defined and manufactured. Also, a description of
the interactions among multidisciplinary groups is explained in
some detail. The case of study is an assistive robot for hospital
environment usage. The main areas or participating groups
are: industrial design, manufacture and mechatronics. The main
contribution is the description of the whole project logistics and
coordination with a complete technician view.
Index terms :logistic; development process; robot;

The development process for manufacturing of final or
commercial product projects covering from the planning
until the manufacturing step implies various stages and the
interaction between multiple disciplines, administrative and
operative ones. For this paper we are focus on the operative
The case of study in this paper is a real case of development
of product. Some details and characteristics are mentioned
but because of confidential and commercial issues some other
data will not be addressed. For the purpose of the paper the
reader will assumes that prototype is a robot which aims to
help patient with a degree of handicap to do some daily live
tasks or to help in rehabilitation. Such a robot is thought to
work in hospital environment.

Multiple factors interact in the kind of methodology to
be employed for a company or development team to reach
the culmination of a final product. Although a general
methodology may not serves for all kind of projects,
companies or budgets it could serves suffering minor
modifications. Some of the factors which make difference
between development projects are for instance the complexity
of project, the infrastructure and human resources, the
deadlines, the budgets, among others [5]. As a starting point
we employed the scheme proposed in such reference modified
as seen in Fig. II-B.

A. Planning
This stage has to be carried out with a multidisciplinary
team, a central team integrated mainly by the leader and some
engineers suitable for the project. Depending on the nature of
the project it also could be made up of health care specialist,
psychologist, market expert, financial expert, someone
responsible of acquisitions, etc. During this stage also another
tasks take place like: defining positions and responsibilities,
doing interviews, hiring personal, defining organizational
structure, setting objectives and deadlines, calculating costs,
etc. If possible the first approaches to concept definition must
be made and finding possible component suppliers also is
A good planning is crucial for the whole projects success, it
must be studied seriously although many tasks and deadlines
will be modified by the dynamic of project during the
development. A period of 1 up to 2 weeks is recommended
for planning. A Gantt diagram is necessary with different
possible scenarios if possible.

B. Concept definition
The concept definition is a development in which the
project starts gaining form, here is done a revision of state of
the art and some field studies are carried out with surveys and
interviews with medics, patients, nurses, and patient relatives.
The objective is to obtain the final user requirements that
will constitute the goals to attain for the teamwork. Also is
recommended to do an intellectual search in patent databases
and to do a benchmarking with the leader companies in the
current market.

Fig. 1. Project stages

978-1-4673-7872-7/15/$31.00 2015 IEEE


C. Functional design
The functional design implies to have a full solution
integrated on computer at simulation level. Different areas
work concurrently here to find solutions, such as electronics,
mechanics, software development and control. A major
goal for every team is to obtain a list of components to be
employed by the final prototype in short time because time
for acquisitions may be constrains for further stage starts. In
some cases the components will be fully identified; however
in other cases there will be uncertainty in the proficiency
of them to solve the problem in question, thats why it is
recommended to have a list of different components that
likely could solve the same problem. Applies the popular said
Better to have too much than too little.
At the same time some interaction between functional
design and industrial design is carried out, this is an iterative
process in which we obtain a compromise on both areas.

to look for information in statistics obtained from official

reports, magazines and research groups related with the illness
to be treated [6].


Personal required


Initial Central group


Final Central

design and


and assemble

D. Manufacturing
Finally, once and only when design in paper and
computer is good enough to cover the requisites exposed the
manufacturing process takes place. As a result we have a
first prototype, which represents the first approach to a final
commercial product.




design team


Local company

The prototype then must be evaluated in the real workspace

under real conditions, for this task is required a formal
protocol developed by medics specialists in heath. From this
protocol we obtain feedback from final users and a second
stage of technical modifications must be done.


Although this paper only deals with the operative issues

is important to mention that some basic administrative rules
need to be acknowledge to coordinate the whole complexity
of project, some guides followed are [4] and [1].


In this section we give some details of the application of
methodology described above.

The Gantt diagram was programmed initially for a project

duration of 9 months, however for several reasons the
real durance was of about 12 months. This time is very
significant compared to the years, even decades of research
and development that actual leader market companies carry
out to obtain similar results to ours for same kind of product.
The initial Gantt diagram (Fig. III-A) had a total of 27 tasks
although many modifications were applied to it, resulting in a
growth in number of tasks up to 126 as well as modification
in nature of tasks. A total of 23 major updates were carried
out to the original plan. The final diagram is not presented
because of space reasons.

A. Planning based on deadline, 12 months

For this project was taken 1 week for the planning process,
and the team was made up of: the leader, 1 health care
specialist, 1 industrial designer and 1 mechatronics engineer.
During this period were defined the number of participants as
well as the way of recruitment. The latter was carried out in
the next 2 weeks. The human resources were distributed as
shown in table 1 and organized as in Fig. 1. In the table is
not mentioned but there is another group strongly important
for the whole project, the hospital personal: more than 100
medicals, 100 nurses and 40 stretcher-bearers participated in
the project by means of interviews, surveys and proofs of
concept (PoC). Besides the medical group it is also important

1 leader
1 health specialist
1 industrial
1 mechatronic
Same as above plus:
2 mechanic
1 electronic
2 mechatronic
1 logistic
2 software engineers
1 coordinator
2 industrial
2 industrial
designer students
1 graphic designer
1 coordinator
1 mechanic engineer
4 workers
4 companies.

Fig. 2. Organization


As seen in Fig. III-A the tasks are simultaneous in some

points, that means it is not necessary to finish one task to
start the next one. That is valid for many tasks and helps to
accelerate the processes.

design didnt include an exhaustive manufacturing revision.

B. Concept definition of our robot.

The concept definition was carried out by the final central
group in 2 weeks. During this period the more important goal
is to obtain the general requirements of our robot. This is
done by elaborating surveys and interviews with the personal
of the hospital. Also is needed to observe how they use the
traditional equipment intended to be replaced by the robot.
More than 200 surveys were employed.
After we obtained the information it is processed and
translated into technological problems to be solved. This
gives us a list of general and specific requirements that serves
as design objectives. A list of 52 user needs was obtained.
They were classified by hierarchy depending on the number
of times it was mentioned by the hospital personal or the
importance for them.
The first scratches are carried out by the engineers to
attend the most important demands on the previous list.

C. Functional designg.
For this project the following areas were required to
obtain a functional design: Electronics, Mechanics, Software
development. The duration of this stage was of about 3
months, at the end of this period the 3 teams finished a
first design to be evaluated and improved by manufacturing
engineers feedback.
1) Electronics.: The first step was to set the objectives
in terms of this area, then the team started a search of
components, sensor and actuators which could fit the
requirements. A first list of components was ready after the
first month, among others the list contained the processor, a
data acquisition board (DAQ) and some sensors with unknown
behavior. Then, a general diagram using the top-down design
philosophy was taking form. By the second month most of
the components were defined and the simulations and Printed
Circuit Board (PCB) designs took place. A handbook of
robotics [3] is useful for this stage as a first approach at
looking for sensors and actuators.
2) Mehanics design: A similar process took place for
the mechanics design, here an extensive use of Computer
Aided Design (CAD) were done and an strong basis of
fundamentals is needed [2]. At the end of the 3 months a
complete design included a kinematic analysis, bears analysis
by finite element, selection of mechanical elements, location
of actuators, collision analysis and limits of movement
analysis. The first approach in the complete mechanical

Fig. 3. Gantt diagram initial

3) Software development.: One of the major contributions

of the prototype is the artificial intelligent module, this offers
an outstanding advantage over other similar products. The
team in charge interacted strongly with electronics team
because the electronics team was in charge of the logic
control of the robot whereas the software development team
worked specifically in the intelligent part. Another reason
for this strong interaction is the fact that the software reads
information of a matrix array of sensors read by the electronic
module. The design was complete after 3 months since this
part required more research than the others. (Fig. III-C2)
After 3 months a firs approach to the final functional
design was completed, however during the depuration was
necessary to start interactions with the external teams such as
industrial design and the manufacturing company. Thus the
design never ends and is constantly getting improvements but
every change in one area have to be informed in advance to
the other areas for a whole synchronization to be attained.

The company of manufacturing offered a service of
corrective manufacturing, it means, that the company is
responsible for providing solutions to technical problems
encountered during manufacturing that implies changes in the
original design. The central team is responsible for taking the
final decisions over the proposed solution and for updating
the original CAD. This job, took over 1 month of negotiation
and then over 7 months of manufacture and adjustments.

A. Industrial design
The industrial design team initiate its job 1 month before
the functional design was completed, at this time were
carried out logistics and form of interaction with the central
team. The major job started when the functional design was


culminated in its first approach. With this information the

team works in two main objectives: study the usability of the
robot and the cosmetic view of it.
The team finished its design 3 months after receiving the
functional design in computer. Then they work iteratively
together with the central team in order to do the updates to
their design as result of the modifications by the manufacture
intervention. There is also a stage of manufacturing for the
industrial team because they were in charge of their own
pieces, the pieces that covers the whole prototype a gives a
cosmetic image. The time of manufacturing of these pieces
was about 1 month and was culminated at the same time the
mechanical structure.


Assemble of the main mechanical structure was made
during the manufacturing process, so at the end of month 11
were done. Also, during that period the electronic team as well
as the industrial designers did partial proofs of assembling in
order to correct any mistake in design. Once the company
of manufacturing presents the structure the electronics team
proceeds to do the general wiring and components allocation.
This task takes 2 days in a full time basis and the priority
is to proof that all systems works properly. Once verified
the correct functionality of electronics systems 2 weeks are
required to formally allocate components and wirings. A total
of 200 wirings and allocation of over 45 components were
assembled for this project.
When the electronics team did the first functional proofs
in the assembled mechanical structure, the industrial design
engineers assembles their pieces in the robot. Minor
modifications took place.
Finally, when all prototype was assembled a series of
functional proofs were done in order to ensure the correct
functioning of all parts. This job is carried out by the central
team and takes about 2 weeks.


Using this methodology development, we have built a robot
that is useful for assisting older persons in full or motor problems (Fig. VI). This device has required a multidisciplinary
team involving medical staff experience, mechatronics experts,
skilled mechanics, electronics experts, artificial intelligence,
industrial design, graphic design and ergonomics. Besides the
fundamental support of a team of administration, documentation, procurement, suppliers of various products and services
are required.


Fig. 4. An assistive robotic device for elderly people: a robotic bed

As stated in the description above for a complex project like
this one results a big challenge to integrate multidisciplinary
teams and ensure a correct compliment of deadlines. The
main clue to bring that to a reality is to maintain a continuous
communication among all teams and to follow strongly close
the advancements of every team. The methodology presented
has proved to be success since the robot was successfully
integrated and assembled; it has received good comments
from expert people in many areas and will soon be launched.

[1] W. R. Duncan, A guide to the project management body of knowledge,
[2] R. L. Norton, Diseno de Maquina. Prentice Hall, 4th Edition.
[3] B. Siciliano and O. Khatib, Spinger Handbook of Robotics, 2008.
[4] J. Sutherland, Scrum handbook. SCRUM training institute press, 2010.
[5] Ulrich-Epinger, Diseno y desarrollo de productos, in Mechatronics and
Automation (ICMA), 2014 IEEE International Conference on, 3th edition


[6] H. B. S. Workgroup, A Guide for Modifying Bed Systems and Using

Accessories to Reduce the Risk of Entrampment,FDA, 2006.


Rolando CORTES
born in Tlaxcala, Mexico on October
27, 1979. He obtained a Master Dergree
from Electrical Engineering Department
of Cinvestav and the bachelors from
University of Puebla (BUAP). He has
worked as professor for undergraduate
programmes and he has worked for some
companies developing mechantronics
projects. He participated in the camabot Project as a designer
engineer. Currently is studying his PhD at Cinvestav. His
main interests include attitude control of rigid bodies.
was born in Tlaxcala, Mexico. Doctor
in Electrical Engineering and Computer
Science from the CINVESTAV-IPN
in Mexico. From 2001 to date, he has
worked for Banamex, Softtek Sweepstakes
UDLAP Rassini Brakes, Netica Research
& Technology, Cinvestav IPN, among
others. He has given several lectures in engineering and
graduate in some universities as UACM, Universidad del
Pedregal and Panamerican University in Mexico City and
the Autonomous University of Guadalajara in Oaxaca. He
participated as a founding member of Netica Research &
Technology, the first technology development company driven
Cinvestav IPN. In the business context, he has worked as
a project leader of technology and applied research to SEP
Jalisco, Mixbaal SA de CV, Cinvestav IPN, among others.
In cooperation with IPN Cinvestav and Juarez Hospital of
Mexico, he coordinated the project of the first Mexican
assistive robot: a welfare robotics bed for Latin American
His areas of expertise involve pattern recognition, image
processing, artificial intelligence, intelligent systems,
development of multidisciplinary projects and social impact of
projects inherent in the knowledge economy. It has cooperated
in various projects with UNAM, IPN CINVESTAV, IPN,
among other academic institutions to develop solutions to
social impact.

born in Zumpango, Mexico state. Doctor
in Communications and Electronics
Engineer from the LAAS-CNRS in
Toulouse, France. His employment
experience included banker, researcher,
teacher and consultant, Capital Investment
Funds, Business Development for MSMEs and Information
Technology and Communications, marketing. His special
fields of interest included high-frequency bipolar transistors.
His main achievements are the technology platform for
online education Open and Distance University of Mexico

(UnADM) to the Secretary of Higher Education of the SEP.,

1500 Design and manufacture of electronic ballots for the
Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), which were used in carrying
out a survey in the presidential election on July 1, 2012,
Implementation and operation of the largest and fastest
Cluster Xiuhcoatl of Mexico (3,480 cores, 9,200 gigabytes of
RAM and 47 Teraflops), Design and manufacture of highfrequency bipolar transistors, Creating pilot diodes and power
transistors, Discovery of the effect of Quasi-Saturation
and design configuration of the gate Power -MOS transistor
to increase the value of the current. Discovery Effect of
second breakdown and circuit design protection MOS power