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Engineering Design Methods , Strategies for Product Design

Engineering Applications and Design
Design for Manufacturing and Assembly

Engineering Design Methods, Strategies for Product Design

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Engineering Design Methods, Strategies for Product Design


This book offers a strategic approach and a number of tactics as aids for designing successful products. It is intended primarily for use by students and teachers of engineering design and industrial design. Its main emphasis is on the design of products that have an engineering content, although most of the principles and approaches that it teaches are relevant to the design of all kinds of products. It is essentially concerned with problem formulation and the conceptual and embodiment stages of design, rather than the detail design which is the concern of most engineering texts. The book can most effectively be used in conjunction with projects and exercises that require the exploration and clarification of design problems and the generation and evaluation of design solutions.

This third edition of the book has been fully revised and updated. The book has been structured more explicitly into its three parts, and two new chapters have been added: Chapter 2 on Design Ability, and Chapter 13 on Product Development. Chapter 2 develops and extends some brief content in the previous editions, drawing upon research into the nature of design ability by the author and others. Chapter 13 puts product design into the broader context of the business process of planning and developing new products. In the Design Methods chapters (Chapters 5-11), several new examples of the application of design methods in practice have been introduced.

The contents of the book are divided into three parts. Part One, Understanding Design, provides an overview of the nature of design activity, designers' natural skills and abilities, and models of the design process. Chapter 1 introduces the kinds of activities that designers normally undertake, and discusses the particular nature and structure of design problems. Chapter 2 considers and discusses the cognitive abilities that designers call upon in tackling design problems, and outlines some of the issues involved in learning and developing these 'designerly' skills and abilities. Chapter 3 reviews several of the models of the design process which have been developed in order to help designers structure their approach to designing, and suggests a new hybrid integrative model that combines both the procedural and the structural aspects of the nature of design.

Part Two, Doing Design, explains the details of how to do design, at various stages of the design process. Chapter 4 reviews the new field of design methods, describes a number of methods that help to stimulate creative design thinking, and introduces the rational methods which are presented in the following chapters. Chapters 5 to 11 constitute a manual of design methods (the tactics of design), presented in an independent-learning format, i.e. students can be expected to learn the principle features of the methods directly from the book. These seven chapters follow a typical procedural sequence for the design process, providing instruction in the use of appropriate methods within this procedure. Each chapter presents a separate method, in a standard format of a step-by-step procedure, a summary of the steps and a set of practical examples concluding with a fully worked example. The seven methods included are:

  • objectives tree
  • function analysis
  • performance specification
  • quality function deployment
  • morphological chart
  • weighted objectives
  • value engineering

Part Three, Managing Design, is concerned with managing the design process, from the viewpoint of both the product designer and the business manager. Chapter 12 outlines a strategic approach to the design process, utilizing the most appropriate combination of creative and rational methods to suit the designer and the design project. Reflecting the approach that is implicit throughout the book, the emphasis is on a flexible design response to problems and on ensuring a successful outcome in terms of good product design. Chapter 13 puts the role of design into a broader perspective of new product development, showing that successful product design is framed on the one side by business strategy and on the other side by consumer choice.

The book embodies a concept of 'product design' that combines the two more traditional fields of engineering design and industrial design: the new concept of 'industrial design engineering'.

Although intended primarily for students of product design — no matter whether their courses are biased more towards engineering or industrial design - the book is also useful as an introduction to design for the many teachers and practitioners in engineering who found this subject sadly lacking in their own education.