Simulations based on real product-usage information to support redesign for improved performance: exploration of practical application to domestic refrigerators

[+] Author and Article Information
Wilhelm Frederik van der Vegte

Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Landbergstraat 15, 2628 CE Delft, The Netherlands

Fatih Kurt

Arçelik A.Ş., Istanbul, Turkey

Oguz Kerem Sengöz

Arçelik A.Ş., Istanbul, Turkey

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4042537 History: Received September 14, 2018; Revised January 10, 2019


How users really use a product is often hard to foresee during product development. Now that products out on the market are increasingly equipped with capabilities to collect information that includes user actions, companies can investigate the actual use for the benefit of next-generation products. A promising application opportunity is to input the information to engineering simulations and increase their realism to (i) reveal how use-related phenomena influence performance and (ii) to evaluate design variations in this respect. In this article we explore time-stamped data from connected fridge-freezers by investigating energy losses caused by door openings and by evaluating design variations aimed at mitigating these effects. By using a fast-executing simulation setup we could simulate much faster than real time and investigate usage over a longer time. We showed that a simple, single-cycle load pattern based on aggregated input data can be simulated even faster but only produce rough estimates of the outcomes. Our model was devised to explore application potential rather than producing the most accurate predictions. Subject to this reservation, our outcomes indicate that door openings do not affect energy consumption as much as literature suggests. Through what-if studies we could evaluate three design variations and point out that particular solution elements resulted in more energy-efficient ways of dealing with door openings. Furthermore, we discuss possible impacts on product design practice for companies seeking to collect and exploit usage data from connected products in combination with simulations.

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