24 junio, 2024

What is the person product system?

He person-product system It consists of the combination of the functions of human beings with the product coming from some process, generally industrial. The joint activity between human and machine makes this action a system in which neither part can be separated.

Little by little, society transforms nature and, in turn, nature ends up transforming society. Throughout history, the relationship between humans and the materials necessary to meet their needs has evolved. This is due to modifications generated by man-made artifacts.

The system itself is in a closed cycle where the human being, who is in charge of making the decisions, is the key. To understand the interaction in person-product systems, the differences between both parties must be considered.

What role do the person and the machine play in the system?

Humans are slower and their energy is limited; Instead, the machines that make the products are much faster and have pressure. This changes when the product is completely man-made.

On the other hand, the human being is flexible and adapts relatively to changes. Instead, a machine is rigorous; it is created for a specific environment and function. In addition, the human being is no longer able to manufacture a product with the same speed and precision as a machine.

Likewise, productivity depends on the appropriate management and use of the qualities of the human being and its interaction with the machine, as well as the information that man manages and provides.

system interfaces

Interfaces refer to the points of contact between the person and the product. Specifically, they focus on a relationship between the human being and the machine that makes the product. Specifically, there are two points of contact:


They are responsible for displaying important data on the status and behavior of the machine. Those devices are digital displays, circular scale with a movable pointer, fixed markers on a movable scale, and scales in general.

In order to correctly read the devices, they must clearly reflect the data. It is necessary that the size of the font used can be visible even when the lighting is not adequate.

The information presented must be useful and easy to understand, as this allows speed for the operator.

In the case where scales are used, the pointer should be as close as possible to the scale so that it points to the correct number to avoid reading errors.


They are elements that human beings use to manage, direct and modify the processes of machines. An example of controls are buttons, knobs, pedals, levers, handlebars, and steering wheels.

It is important that the controls conform to the human anatomy. Fingers and hands must act with precise and fast movements. The arms and feet must apply force.

Controls should be close enough to be easily reached at elbow and shoulder height. Also, the controls should be in plain sight.

The distance between the buttons to be operated must also be considered according to the anatomy of the body. If it is a control to be used with both hands, ideally it should be small and the buttons should be on or near the edges.

On the other hand, rotary knobs should be easy to manipulate with little muscular effort. It must have high precision but with little displacement.

In order to manage these interfaces, the human being must be well informed about the composition of the machine’s materials, as well as the ability and techniques to correctly manipulate the machine and produce a certain product.

Importance of the human in the person-product system

The human being is an indispensable half to apply any person-product system. He still holds an important role when the product is made by machine.

Simple and common examples in which this system is fulfilled are the piloting of an airplane, monitoring of a nuclear power reactor center or the supervision of a food factory.

For example, the skill of a pilot will determine the reaction capacity and the time in which he does it before an accident, in order to be able to avoid it.

On the other hand, the right decision of the person in charge of radioactive material could avoid material losses that lead to a catastrophe.

Likewise, the human being is the one who can identify failures in terms of food preservation or equipment operation in a food factory, which ensures public health. The person will determine whether or not the manufactured product is suitable for consumption.


To facilitate the understanding of the human being-product system, and to make its scope of application broad, three categories have been determined:

Person-product system

In this system there is an intimate relationship between the person, the product and the changes suffered by the material due to their intervention.

In this sense, it is necessary for the human being to know the properties of the material or materials used, as well as the technical knowledge that is needed to obtain a product.

Examples of this system are manual binding, masonry and goldsmithing, as well as the sewing machine, the collator and the folder.

Human-machine system

This system refers to a reciprocal relationship between the person and the machine. The driving and direction of the machine depends on the person, but only they can generate the necessary position changes.

Driving a vehicle is one of the best examples of the human-machine system. In the same way, piloting an airplane, driving a train, sewing with a machine, operating a computer and operating a vending machine, among many others.

Machine-product system

In this system, the machine automatically controls the phases of the technical production process. In this case the person does not have direct control over the process.

In this category, industrial machines, microwaves, refrigerators, ovens and stoves stand out, as well as mass production mechanisms.

Human-machine fusion

Technological advances have allowed the invention of structures that act as the extension of the human body. The human being-product system already makes symbiosis and can be mixed, alternating machine and humanity.

In this sense, it has created the muscle machine, a hybrid machine between human and robot. The exoskeleton was designed by James Stelarc and has six robotic legs that are attached to the control of the pilot’s legs and hands.

When the gum muscles are inflated, they contract and extend when they are exhausted. Encoders on the hip joints allow the person to steer the machine.

You can vary the speed of this machine. In addition, it features connected accelerometer sensors that generate data that is converted into sounds, and augment the acoustic pneumatic operation and machine mechanism.

When the muscle machine is in motion and acting as indicated by the person who manages it, it seems that it is not possible to distinguish who is in control of who or what.

This technological advance is one more example of the change that human beings can make in their environment, and the level at which they can merge with the machine.

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