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Groups should select a design problems and produce:

1. a specification for the product 2. a range of concepts (labelled sketches) which attempt to meet this specification 3. assess the concepts with respect to a datum (maybe an existing product) 4. make a choice as to the best concept or mix of ideas from concepts.

Design examples : Nut cracker Automated swimming pool cleaner Multispeed wheelchair Automated brush cleaner Exercise system Solar powered airconditioning Dirt-free bicycle drivetrain Automatic internal house sliding door Automated car window deicer/snow melting system Wind powered irrigation system Automatic dog/cat feeding system Environmentally friendly bicycle warning system Hygienic domestic kitchen bin New razor design Electronic guide dog for the blind Domestic snow clearing system Automated log splitter Solar operated window blind Slab lifting/laying device Fire alarm for the deaf or blind. Foot drive wheel chair Automated soil moisture content controller Automated car parking system Boiled egg cooker/timer device Bottle counting system Electric bicycle Water powered toothbrush Robotic lawn mower or vacuum cleaner


Traditional design approaches are no longer effective as products have become more sophisticated, consumer driven and government influenced and an increasing number of concepts are protected by patenting, precluding their economic usage. Products based on blank sheets of paper ideas are not that likely to be able to compete with todays global industries unless the originators have raised their comprehensive competence to such a level that they can undertake design from consideration of the system to detailed design, marketing and costing. "technical excellence is not enough without commercial competitiveness" (Hodgson 1986 from Pugh) Success requires systematic thoroughness and meticulous attention to detail from the beginning to the end of the design process defined as Total Design (Pugh) made up of the sum of partial design inputs. The successful product requires: 1.

Technical feasibility - Directive of engineers Will a concept work? Can you judge from sketch concept something will actually work? - may require brief calculations or experimental program. Use of engineering analysis/computer simulation to obtain a qualitative understanding of the problem.


Economic feasibility - Directive of sales Can the product be produced and marketed at a price which will yield good sales and company profit?

Final decision making The decision making needs to take account of all requirements from the customer and the company. To choose the best decision is to choose the one alternative from those available that best balances or optimises the total product value considering all factors and information. This can be undertaken systematically using a decision selection method (DSM). 2

Conceptual Design Much of a designers work is to propose solutions to problems and evaluate their suitability. The ability to be creative is an essential attribute for a good designer. It was this demand for creative effort that gave rise to our present day word engineer which is derived from the French ingenieur meaning ingenious or clever.

Solution focused - the nature of a designers activity. Design problems naturally decompose into the design of functionally independent subsystems. Two basic steps in decomposition: 1. All design problems have one or two most important functions. Find the overall function that needs to be accomplished. Generate a single statement of this overall function based on customer requirements. 2. Decompose the function into subfunctions. Redefine the overall function as much as possible. Concepts follow functions and products follow concepts. The division of subfunctions into finer detail leads to a better understanding. Product Design Specification (PDS) This document includes the parameters which the designer has to meet in order to satisfy the customer's requirements. Typical outline specifications of functionality may include: Performance

Function(s) Loadings Environment / noise Service life Size / critical dimensions Weight Ergonomics (human factors) Aesthetics (visual appeal) Safety Cost Maintenance and reliability Legal implications / restrictions / hazards


Processes Materials Packaging Quantity

Each of these outline functions may then broken down into subfunctions.

Some features of a specification are usually more important than others; called requirements or criteria. Allocation of weightings gives a greater discrimination to the matrix in choice of the "best" concept. Weighting are usually applied on a top down basis starting from 1 using the PDS as a guide. Weightings can also be applied using a 1-5 or 1-10 scale. Weightings are applied to each concept by multiplying the weighting factor by the score for each criteria and then totalized for each concept.

Creativity Methods Definition: to bring into being by force of imagination. Individual or group creativity:

Morphologically - consider all the different methods that can be used to meet the various functional requirements of a design problem by breaking down a complex problem into subproblems. Various concepts can then be derived by linking one method for one function to a method for a second function and so on.

Group creativity:

Bouncing ideas off colleagues and friends Brainstorming in which a group comes up with a series of ideas to solve a problem which are recorded however ridiculous they may appear at first sight. Ideas should trigger other ideas. Criticism following the presentation of an idea should be avoided since it inhibits the production of other ideas.

Generating ideas comes from stimulation of the imagination which results from an association between the problem and some past experience. This is fine for a standard solution yielding a standard solution. More innovative ideas do not necessarily require experience but still require stimulation which usually comes by the techniques above. 6


Conceptual design should be documented as sketches with a brief indication of the important features. Some examples are presented from Hurst 1999:

DESIGN SELECTION CHART ( DSC) A DSC is a method which allows the choice of a design from a range of concepts that best meets the specification of the customer. Concepts are often best generated by individuals Concept selection is best performed in groups.

Experience gained over many projects has lead to the conclusion that matrices are the best way to present the process of evaluating concepts in order to identify those that best satisfy the criteria that have been identified as being significant for a design. Matrices here are not mathematical simply a format for expressing and recording ideas and choices. The completed matrix provides a useful document which records the outcome of the decisions reached by a design team and can be filed as part of the quality control of a project or used as a means of assessment in your group design. Each concept "sketch" should be considered in turn. Concepts are rated in turn against the criteria which have been identified as constraints and objectives for a design to meet the needs of the customer. The requirements or criteria are laid out in a product design specification (PDS) whic h is usually agreed by the customer. A vital part of a concept involves the element of technical risk in implementing a particular design feature either from the company point of view or the technology involved. Risk must be considered with a negative weighting factor. Another factor to be considered is the cost of development and the time involved. Criteria should include factors that the customer may not specify but would be expected of a design which are going to appeal to the market in general if the product is to succeed. Factors such as safety (regulations and standards), aesthetics ( appearance), ergonomics ( human interaction) and reliability. When an existing product is used as a basis for comparison, for say redesign, concepts should be rated against this "datum" design. In the case of a new product the datum concept is that which the group considers, from first thought, to be one of the better ideas. Ratings are the applied relative to the datum for each criteria using S for same, + for better and - for worse than datum. Choice is then made by summing the Ss, -s and +s where the scale can be -1>0>1 or if more discrimination is required -2>-1>0>1>2 ( 5 point scale). The best choices being those with (1) highest +s (2) lowest -s (3) highest Ss. Weightings are applied to each concept by multiplying the weighting factor by the score for each criteria and then totalizing these for each concept. The highest scoring concepts are those that appear to satisfy the criteria best; arrived at by group consensus . If there is no clear winner in the first phase of concept selection then the strongest concepts should be developed in a second phase where the criteria are expanded and weightings adjusted to allow even more discrimination and hopefully a clear "best" solution.

A B11 B12 B2 B3 C1 C2 C31 C32

Torque capacity Axial location Small number of components Use of bought out components Simple machining Stress raising effect Tolerance to overload Ease of gear replacement Use of prehardened component s Criteria selection for gear fixing

The data in the criteria table above are derived from the criteria requirement tree which is shown on page 5. The tree is produced on a top down basis using the prime requirement and the next level down is the result of asking the question what does this mean until a stage is reached where there is no further breakdown in this process and a base requirement is produced. The number of steps will depend on the number of levels required down the tree and each stage should be numbered. Each concept is now assessed as to how well it meets these criteria either with resepect to an existing product or relative to one of the concepts which is chosen as a datum ( usually one which is considered to be a good candidate in that it does meet the criteria in most areas. The process of awarding points has already been outlined under DSC.


Criteria 1 2 s s s s + + 3 + + + + +

Concepts 4 + + + + + s + 5 + s + + + + 6 + + + + + + +

A B11 B12 B2 B3 C1 C2 C31 C32

Torque capacity Axial location Small number of components Use of bought out components Simple machining Stress raising effect Tolerance to overload Ease of gear replacement Use of prehardened components

d a t u m

Datum method of concept evaluation - 1st run. Replacing these with a numerical range of -1>0>+1 the matrix becomes: No. Criteria 1 A B11 B12 B2 B3 C1 C2 C31 C32 Torque capacity Axial location Small number of components Use of bought out components Simple machining Stress raising effect Tolerance to overload Ease of gear replacement Use of prehardened components Sum 10 d a t u m 2 0 -1 0 -1 -1 0 0 1 1 -1 3 -1 1 -1 -1 1 1 -1 1 1 3 Concept 4 -1 1 1 1 1 1 -1 0 1 4 5 -1 1 0 -1 1 1 -1 1 1 4 6 1 -1 1 1 -1 1 1 1 1 7

Adding the previously assigned weightings for each specification and concept the matrix now becomes: No. Criteria Weighting 1 1W 2 2W A B11 B12 B2 B3 C1 C2 C31 C32 Torque capacity Axial location Small number of components Use of bought out components Simple machining Stress raising effect Tolerance to overload Ease of gear replacement Use of prehardened components 0.4 0.063 0.027 0.06 0.15 0.12 0.09 0.036 0.054 sum +ives sum -ives sum sames sum weighted 0 d 0 a 0 t 0 0 0 -1 -0.1 0 0 -1 -0.1 -1 -0.2 0 0 0 0 Concept 3 3W 4 4W 5 5W -1 -0.4 6 6W 1 0.4

-1 -0.4 -1 -0.4

1 0.06 1 0.06 1 0.06 -1 -0.1 -1 -0 1 0.03 0 0 1 0.03 1 0.06

u 0 m 0 0 0 0 0

-1 -0.1 1 0.06 -1 -0.1

1 0.15 1 0.15 1 0.15 -1 -0.2 1 0.12 1 0.12 1 0.12 1 0.12 -1 -0.1 -1 -0.1 -1 -0.1 1 0.09

1 0.04 1 0.04 0 0

1 0.04 1 0.04

1 0.05 1 0.05 1 0.05 1 0.05 1 0.05 2 3 4 -0.2 -0.2 5 4 6 2 1 0 5 3 1 -0.1 0.57 7 2

Selection of the best concept or concepts is made firstly by (1) assessing the highest positive score(s), (2) lowest negative score(s),(3) highest sames score(s) and most significantly the highest weighted score(s) If there is no outstanding concept then it is necessary to revisit the previous matrix and asign a larger spread of scores (-2>0>+2) or to increase the number of subfunctions of the specification criteria. References. Stuart Pugh, Total Design, Addison-Wesley, 1991 620.0042 Clifford Matthews, Case Studies in Engineering Design, Arnold, 1998 620.0042MAT David Ullman, The Mechanical Design Process, McGrawHill, 1992 621.815ULL Ian Wright, Design Methods in Engineering and Product Design, McGrawHill, 1998 620.0042 Ken Hurst, Engineering Design Principles, Arnold, 1999



Groups should submit a report containing individually named concepts from group members together with the 4 other sections and the final design choice as a result of weighted marking.

TASK Specifications Criteria Weightings Concepts Concept marking Final design choice

GROUP/INDIVIDUAL Group Group Group Individual Group Group

MARK 2 2 1 2 2.5 0.5

Specifications (pds) - Document showing the parameters which define customer requirements. Criteria the pds needs to be broken down into a list of design constraints and objectives that need to be addressed.

Weightings define the importance to the design of each of the criteria. Concepts simple sketched solutions produced by individuals in the group representing and explaining possible solutions to the criteria. Not all of the criteria need to be satisfied by each concept. Concept marking a spreadsheet matrix showing the relative strength of one concept relative to a datum device or concept.