Self-repairing design process applied to a 4-bar linkage mechanism

Despite significant advances in modelling and design, mechanical systems almost inevitably fail at some point during their operative life. This can be due to a pre-existing design flaw, which is usually overcome in a revision, or more commonly due to some unexpected damage during operation. To overcome a failure during operation, a new method of designing machines or systems is proposed that creates a result that is resilient to both expected and unexpected failure. By shifting the focus from a detailed assessment of the underlying cause of failure to how that failure will manifest, a system becomes inherently resilient against a wide range of failure modes. The proposed process involves five steps: Cause, Detection, Diagnosis, Confirmation, and Correction. This is demonstrated with an application to a generic four-bar linkage mechanism. Through this process the system is able to return to a near perfect state even after a permanent deformation occurs in the mechanism. These results show the potential that this self-repairing design process has for applications including robotics, manufacturing and other systems.