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Evaluating and Comparing Functional and Geometric Complexity of Products

[+] Author Affiliations
Matthew Peterson, Gregory M. Mocko, Joshua D. Summers

Clemson University, Clemson, SC

Paper No. DETC2012-71408, pp. 551-558; 8 pages
  • ASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 7: 9th International Conference on Design Education; 24th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, August 12–15, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4506-6
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


This paper describes a design exercise that was conducted to investigate what, if any, correlation exists between the functional complexity of a given artifact and its associated physical complexity as defined by design for manufacturing principles. Nine electromechanical consumer products were chosen and evaluated based on function and form. The results of the experiment show that the products demonstrate a significant variability in physical complexity according to design for manufacturing principles for similar if not identical functional complexity. These results demonstrate that function alone is not an adequate way to evaluate the difficulty of realizing a given concept. Performance characteristics of the functional concept must also be considered. The paper concludes with suggestions for future work in order to better understand how performance influences the physical complexity of an artifact.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME



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