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A Concept Selection Framework for Early Sorting of Reconfigurable System Designs

[+] Author Affiliations
Jason Denhart, Thomas Gemmer, Scott Ferguson, Andre Mazzoleni

North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

Paper No. DETC2013-13222, pp. V03BT03A038; 15 pages
  • ASME 2013 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 3B: 39th Design Automation Conference
  • Portland, Oregon, USA, August 4–7, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5589-8
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


A seven-step framework for sorting proposed concepts of system changes / reconfigurations is presented that seeks to characterize the overall ramifications on system architecture. This framework is intended for use immediately following a concept generation phase. The framework uses three simple questions: “What level of the system design does this concept apply to?” “What levels of the system design does the concept impact?” and “What is the severity of this impact?” A flowchart leads the designer through these questions and assigns each concept a classification from one to five based on the answers. Class one concepts have little to no impact on the rest of the system architecture. They can be included with little fear of massive change propagation and system redesign. Class five concepts carry large changes to system architecture and therefore should be included only if they can be shown to be highly beneficial, or if there remains enough design freedom such that the cost of changing the system architecture is minimal. Meanwhile, class five concepts are likely to have much higher potential to create revolutionary design. A case study is used to demonstrate the application of the sorting framework in the context of a Mars rover mission. Several example concepts are provided to illustrate key insights from the case study. Convergence of the framework is explored by comparing the authors’ results to a second test done by a new design team.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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