Computer workspace modelling

Computer aided design (CAD) methods are becoming very popular with engineers as they provide considerably more flexibility than conventional techniques. Although they are now commonplace in manufacturing industries the great majority of CAD systems completely ignore the most important component of the human-machine system being designed-humans themselves. The importance of an ergonomics input to a design is now recognized by many industries as being essential. The increasing complexity of modern systems and the social, economic and legislative pressures for good design have led to the demand for the ergonomics input to be made available as early as possible in the design programme, starting preferably at the concept stage. Traditionally, ergonomists have had to wait until the mock-up stage before being able to perform a detailed evaluation of a prototype design. This delay has several consequences, which will be discussed later in this chapter, all of which are detrimental to the design process.