Date of Award

May 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Member

Laine Mears

Committee Member

Johnell O. Brooks

Committee Member

Gregory M. Mocko


The purely manual versions of manufacturing are becoming less common, and automation is increasing. With mass production moving towards mass customization this change is inevitable. However, a future of automation does not mean that operators are going to be replaced. In fact, it means that operators’ jobs are about to become more meaningful and value adding for themselves and the company. Soon majority of the jobs where operators do the repetitive mindless task of a robot will be gone. It is time for Human-Robot Collaboration (HRC) to advance the assembly process to the next level. Human-robot teams will be formed to combine their individual strengths and compensate for their individual weaknesses. The success of human-robot collaboration heavily depends on the operator’s acceptance of the robot. Unfortunately, operators are worried about robots taking their jobs, diminishing their self-worth, and putting them in danger. To mitigate these concerns the objective of this thesis is to model the design requirements of a human-robot collaborative assembly station that appeals to operator comfort and acceptance while still supporting the needs of production. A combination of fulfilling requirements, providing the operator with a better understanding of the robot’s capabilities, and providing the operator with limited control could lead to an improved interaction between operators and robots. Operator feedback was obtained from professionals in industry through surveys and structured interviews. Then the Quality Function Deployment (QFD) tool was used to translate the vague operator requirements captured in the survey responses and interviews into product-relevant parameters that designers and engineers can apply. The nine operator requirements derived for working with robots are safety, dependability, value-adding, controllability, helpfulness, easy to communicate with, teachable, easy to fix, and enjoyable to work with.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.