A framework for the documentation of laboratory development efforts
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Documentation is essential to the success of any project or system and has three major functions. Those functions are: to help the user become familiar with the system, to help the user increase the system's productivity, effectiveness and efficiency, and to guide the user in an unexpected or emergency condition.
The flexible manufacturing and assembly system (FMAS) in 161 Whittemore Hall was an example of an undocumented system. Manufacturer documentation about the system's components was available, but little formal documentation on the system as a whole existed. Additionally, the documents that were available for the system did not follow any common format. That is, each document had its own style.
There were two primary objectives of this research. The first was to develop a standard format and style guide for use when creating documentation for laboratory development projects within the Manufacturing Automation Laboratories (MAL). The second objective was to apply the developed format and style guide to the writing of a user's manual for the FMAS in 161 Whittemore Hall. A secondary goal was to establish a document numbering system. This numbering system is to be used to identify, by type and chronology, all documents submitted to the MAL library.
This project report is very short, simply because the products of the research are separate, stand-alone documents. The first of the two, the Manufacturing Automation Laboratories Documentation Style Guide, satisfies the first primary objective, and the document numbering system format is included as an appendix. The style guide presents general information about MAL document preparation, establishes guidelines for documentation of computer code, and addresses the required content of MAL drawings and graphics. Also presented in this guide is an introduction to the PAPYRUS reference database system, which is to be used when creating any documentation for the MAL library.
The Flexible Manufacturing and Assembly System User's Manual satisfies the second objective, introducing the reader to the components of the FMAS and providing descriptions of the components' tasks in the system. Two chapters of the manual are devoted to safety and maintenance with respect to the FMAS, and another details the procedures for activating and shutting down the system.
- Masters Theses