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14th Design for Manufacturing and the Life Cycle Conference

2009;():3-13. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86385.

Life Cycle Cost (LCC) is important information that is useful for decision making affecting complex engineering systems with extended life. Uncertainty in the estimation of LCC, especially in the early concept and definition stage, has great influence on the robustness of such decisions. Conventionally, Verification and Validation (V&V) of cost estimates is not performed, either due to economic or practical constraints. This paper presents a framework for considering uncertainties in quantitative life cycle cost estimation, focusing on the aspects that are important for understanding the discrepancies between the estimated and actual costs. Built on experience in verification and validation in engineering, the framework will be used to guide further research in this topic, where emphasis on suitable theories and models of different types of uncertainties in the estimation as well as strategies to deal with them effectively to improve decision making involving LCC will be discussed.

Topics: Cycles , Uncertainty
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():15-24. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86428.

Flexible assembly systems have emerged as a key manufacturing strategy in many industries, such as automotive, electronic components and computers, to respond to stronger market competition and greater product proliferation. As more companies install flexible assembly systems, design and planning decisions for such flexible systems have to be considered together with other factors besides market demand and competitive forces. This paper presents a cost analysis tool that estimates the cost of flexible assembly lines. Specifically, it provides the capability to study the production of a given set of products while evaluating the impact of different flexibility strategies on total assembly cost. A mathematical description of the model is given, followed by a case study demonstrating its application to strategic decisions during the early planning stages of assembly system design.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():25-34. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86596.

The objective of this paper is to develop a methodology for effective implementation of life cycle costing (LCC) in design and procurement of repairable and non-repairable products. For this purpose, a generalized model for LCC of repairable and non-repairable products has been proposed. The equations of cost components of the proposed generalized model have been formulated for repairable systems based on the reliability and maintainability aspects to enable the life-time cost conscious design of such systems. The repairable systems typically have a life span of 10 to 20 years and experience multiple failures over their life span. The life cycle cost of a repairable system is significantly influenced by its reliability and maintainability. The life time energy and/or maintenance cost often dominate LCC for most of the repairable systems. Under the condition of constant failure rate the repairable system reliability is characterized by mean time between failures (MTBF) and maintainability by mean time to repair (MTTR). A higher value of MTBF and lower value of MTTR results into lower life cycle cost and therefore a due consideration to these factors is essential while designing repairable systems. The generalized LCC model presented in this paper will assist the designers to compare the life cycle cost of their different design alternatives at product design phase wherein most of the life cycle costs are committed. The developed generalized LCC model is applied to a typical repairable system, a pump from industry and the results obtained are presented.

Topics: Pumps , Cycles
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():35-47. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87565.

Understanding the factors that affect life cycle costs in the earliest stages of product development bring valuable insights for vehicle architecture decision making. This study presents a life cycle costing model used to compare hybrid electric vehicle architectures with varying levels of electrification to a reference conventional car. The work presented highlights the importance of considering total costs of ownership (COO) and operation alongside manufacturing costs in making strategic business decisions. Results from the life cycle cost model scenarios set for 2015–2024 show that car architectures with increased electric range capability allow for significant customer fuel cost savings. These savings can offset increased manufacturing costs within the first three years of ownership based on US Energy Information Agency (EIA) current fuel and electricity pricing forecasts. If fuel prices or annual vehicle use remain low, electrification becomes less attractive as payback periods are extended beyond 10 years time. Regardless of future energy pricing scenarios, the fixed costs of vehicle ownership remain the largest costs to the end user. Manufacturers can use this information to their advantage in creating new business models and designing cars that deliver increased value to the end customer. Because electrification significantly reduces CO2 tailpipe emissions, government incentives and taxing schemes are expected to play a positive roll in offsetting a large part of the additional manufacturing costs. Finally, optimization methods are used to determine sensitivities of variables that affect total cost of ownership. Of these variables the user’s city/highway driving profiles and the price of fuel/Electricity have the greatest sensitivity to cost of ownership.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():49-58. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86110.

Manufacturers add numerous product variants to address different customer preferences for mass customization. One approach to implement the mass customization is to develop or produce products based on the platform architecture. A platform is a set of common components, modules or parts shared by product variants in one product family. One product variant makes use of the platform as the starting point and then add or remove components to change features of the product. The problem of determining the platform configuration is considered as maximizing the overall profit under the price-dependent demand market environment while satisfying the part assembly constraints. Platform configuration and sale prices are decision variables in the problem. A strategy based on Genetic Algorithm is proposed to solve the illustrating problem involving the product family of cordless drills. Results manifest that the sale price decision could have significant influence on the product family design, e.g. the platform configuration and the profitability of one product family.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():59-72. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87037.

Researchers have expanded the definition of product modularity from function-based modularity to life-cycle process-based modularity. In parallel, measures of product modularity have been developed as well as corresponding modular product design methods. However, a correct modularity measure and modular design method are not enough to realize modular product design. To apply the measure and design method correctly, product representation becomes an important aspect of modular design and imperative for realizing the promised cost savings of modularity. In this paper, a representation for retirement process-based modular design has been developed. Built upon previous representations for assembly and manufacturing-based product design, the representation includes a process similarity matrix and a process dependency matrix. The retirement process-based similarity is based on the similarity in components’ post-life intents (recycling, reuse, disposal), and either the degree of their material compatibility if the components will be recycled, or their disassembly direction or disassembly tools if they need to be disassembled from each other for retirement. Process similarity within a module leads to increased process efficiency (the elimination of non-value added tasks) from the sharing of tooling/equipment. Retirement process-based dependency is developed based on disassembly difficulty, one aspect of the physical interactions between components. Retiring components together as a module to eliminate disassembly and differential processing and reducing the disassembly difficulty between the modules can increase the efficiency of the retirement process. We have first presented which process elements we should consider for defining retirement process similarity and dependency, and then constructed the respective similarity and dependency factors tables. These tables include similarity and dependency factors, which, along with their quantifications, are used to determine a product’s modular architecture to facilitate the retirement process. Finally, a fishing reel is used to illustrate how to apply these factors tables to generate the similarity and dependency matrices that represent a product for retirement-process based modular design. Using these representations as input to the DSM-based modular design methods, we can achieve a design with a modular architecture that improves the retirement process efficiency and reduces retirement costs.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():73-82. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87491.

This paper presents work to create a preliminary set of design guidelines for use in Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). The experimentation uses build protocol for a Dimension SST Fused Deposition Modeler. Using simulation software known as Catalyst, build time and material volume characteristics of many components of varying size and complexity were calculated. A series of potential guidelines were independently applied to this same set of components. By comparing the new simulated data with the baseline, statistically significant improvements in these two metrics denoted those guidelines which passed a quantitative feasibility test. The results show that six design rules show universal advantage, with two more needing further examination. Future work will lie in examining the feasibility of implementing the changes proposed by the guidelines with respect to desired product functionality. Additionally, correlations related to the application of several guidelines simultaneously need to be determined.

Topics: Design , Modeling
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():83-100. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87507.

This paper presents a product analysis framework to improve universal design research and practice. Seventeen percent of the US population has some form of a disability. Nevertheless, many companies are unfamiliar with approaches to achieving universal design. A key element of the framework is the combination of activity diagrams and functional models. The framework is applied in the analysis of 20 pairs of products that satisfy a common high level need but differ with one product intended for fully able users and the other intended for persons with some disability or reduced functioning. Discoveries based on the analysis include the observation that differences in typical and universal products can be categorized functionally, morphologically, or parametrically different than typical products. Additionally, simple products appear to be made more accessible through parametric changes whereas more complex products require functional additions and changes.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():101-109. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86394.

Maintainability is an important product characteristic related to the product life-time operation and the operation cost. Maintainability increases product’s serviceability and decreases product’s maintenance cost. Product disassembability is one of the key factors of product maintainability. A disassembly is normally required for product repairing, product remanufacturing, components reusing, and materials recycling in the product life-cycle management. A better disassembly plan will improve efficiency of these processes for product maintainability. This paper introduces the product maintainability analysis based on the disassembly sequence evaluation. An AND/OR graph based disassembly analysis and the cost-based evaluation are introduced for the evaluation of product maintainability. The proposed data structure and methods are discussed. The system developed is demonstrated using a case study.

Topics: Maintainability
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():111-122. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86672.

The rationale of product families for mass customization has attracted much attention from both academia and industry alike. While the product family strategy facilitates product differentiation and customization, it inevitably leads to a high variety issue in the downstream fulfillment process. In particular, when assembly-to-order and outsourcing become common practices, the supply chain decisions are deemed to be very complicated in order to accommodate the diverse product and process variants associated with product families. With focus on variety management, this paper proposes a virtual supply chain (VSC) configuration concept. The general gist is to manage various supply chain variants under a generic umbrella. It emphasizes the conceptualization and modeling of VSC to enhance the power of variety handling, with respect to supply chains, as well as products and processes. A domain-based reference model is employed to identify and coordinate the decision factors of supply chains. These decision factors are used to model the VSC based on formal semantics and object-oriented modeling techniques. The management of supply chain variety is formulated as the VSC configuration problem, and is coped with variety handlers and their states. A case study of electrical motor global supply chains is reported. It is demonstrated that the generic characteristics of VSC excel in coordinating the decisions regarding product, process and supply chains towards mass customization.

Topics: Supply chains
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():123-134. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87681.

In this paper, we present our findings of a survey exploring the adoption of the new product development process improvement concepts in the automotive suppliers sector in Turkey. With this investigation, we aim to uncover differences in the way suppliers are adopting new product development (NPD) process improvement concepts. Our results indicate that indeed the adoption of the concepts varies across suppliers, and two important factors explaining, in part, this result are: (1) supplier involvement in design, and (2) the potential branding impact of the part/modules supplied.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():135-145. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86492.

Whereas team project-based learning of engineering design has attracted wide acceptance, it is still rare to see a curriculum that addresses high level societal needs involving diverse students with a wide range of practical experience. Such a curriculum should develop a shared understanding of the use of scenarios for amorphous products and a process to objectively evaluate the project progress while the design concepts mature. This paper describes two key tools that respond to these challenges: 1) scenario prototyping and 2) cross-team project scorecarding. These tools evolved through a collaborative curriculum development of Keio University, MIT, and Stanford in the development of the Active Learning Project Sequence (ALPS), a capstone experience for Keio’s new Graduate School of System Design and Management (SDM). ALPS selected a theme from the “Voice of Society,” according to which the project teams generated solution scenarios, identified requirements, and described the proposed system using appropriate prototypes of not only hardware but other amorphous means as well. The twelve ALPS teams in 2008 addressed the theme “Enhancing the Lives of Seniors in Japan,” which led to more specific scenarios. The paper gives an overview of the ALPS workshop sequence, and describes in detail two key learning modules that were essential in integrating the multi-disciplinary teams: a) scenario prototyping and b) cross-team project scorecarding. These methods are going through further trials in Stanford’s own Design for Manufacturability curriculum involving 10 project teams in the US and Japan.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():147-155. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86738.

This paper proposes a top-down approach for product concept selection. The proposed approach integrates an analytical approach to define an acceptable part specification range (part range), and an optimization approach to find optimum tolerances of part specifications. In the analytical part of the procedure, an inverse of design matrix is used to identify a part range. In the optimization part of the procedure, a product cost is defined as a function of part specification tolerances, and optimization algorithm is used to find optimum part specification tolerances that minimize the cost of the concept. The concept with the minimum cost is selected as the optimum concept. The usefulness of the proposed approach is demonstrated using an illustrative example.

Topics: Optimization
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():157-166. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86771.

This paper presents decision-analytic concept selection framework for a commercial system and an uncertainty modeling using objective data. The selection of a system concept for which a final system is designed and manufactured is a decision making process with incomplete information. Decision analysis is a prescriptive approach for decision making under uncertainty. While realizing that humans make decisions violating the expected utility axioms, decision analysis uses a set of tools to guide a decision maker toward an unbiased and rational decision making. The objective of this research is to propose a decision-analytic framework for commercial system concept selection, and an approach to utilize as much objective data as possible in the uncertainty modeling. Toward this objective, this paper construct cost distribution using case-based reasoning and market share distribution applying bootstrap to customers’ preference data obtained from conjoint analysis. The proposed approach is demonstrated in an illustrative example: a decision-analytic automobile concept selection.

Topics: Uncertainty
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():167-175. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87005.

The acceleration of the product development cycle continues to be a significant challenge for manufacturing firms around the world. The misunderstanding of important relationships between product functions and components leads the delay of product development. The present paper describes an identification method of the relationships between product functions and components at the early stage of product development. The proposed product function-component modeling method using rough sets theory extracts the characteristic relationships between product functions and components from a small amount of the qualitative and linguistically-expressed knowledge data. The advantage of using the rough sets is that the combination of necessary and possible sets (lower and upper approximations) represents the vague knowledge. The present paper describes an example of a conventional cutting process with 6 manufacturing parameters that this method contributes to the identification of cutting mechanism from a small amount of sampling data (7% of whole event) compared to the conventional statistical modeling method.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():177-185. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87422.

Early in the design process, it is desirable to produce a large number of potential solutions. Completely exploring a problem’s solution space is an unreasonable expectation for an unaided designer or design team. Computational tools have emerged to help designers more fully explore possible solutions. These automated concept generators use knowledge from existing designs and the desired functionality of the new product to suggest solutions. Existing automated concept generation methods produce many candidate solutions, but often provide unmanageably large sets of solutions. Techniques are needed to organize the set of concepts into smaller groups, more easily parsed by the human designer. This work proceeds from the hypothesis that the utility of automated concept generators can be enhanced if their output is sorted based on design for manufacture and assembly heuristics. Data to sort concepts is collected and a sorting method is proposed. Finally a case study is presented to demonstrate the method.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():187-195. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87547.

This paper presents a part count tool that automates the consideration of manufacturing cost during the conceptual design phase by predicting part count for a particular product concept. With an approximate number of parts per product in the conceptual design phase, the designer can estimate the cost associated with the product. On the basis of the cost, the designer can make changes according to budget requirements. The part count tool will also aid in ranking the design concepts by number of components for a product. This tool utilizes existing automated concept generation algorithms to generate the design concepts. It extracts the available data from the Missouri S&T Design Repository to compute an average number of parts per component type in the repository and then calculates an average part count for new concepts. This data can subsequently be used by designers to estimate product cost. The part count tool also uses an algorithm to determine how to connect two non compatible components through the addition of mutually compatible components. While emphasis is placed on the average parts per product in evaluating designs, the overall functional requirement of the product is also considered.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():197-208. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86759.

There is no type of manufacturing process that is not afflicted by variation. Activities intended to ensure the quality of a company’s geometry processes are usually referred to as geometry assurance activities. One clear industrial problem is to understand the relations between the products concept and the manufacturing process. Dimensional data is a very important source of experience of how a product’s geometry has worked in the interaction with the actual manufacturing system. Users therefore need good analysis and presentation tools of geometry outcomes to support both the product developers and production engineers in the analysis of the production output and its consequences. Today the dimensional data can be difficult to obtain or access, and is not necessarily presented in such a way as to provide the user with all necessary information. This paper presents how presentation and analysis tools of geometrical inspection data can be taken a step further. New functionality for feature based 3D visualization of inspection data has been developed which integrates the variation simulation platform and the inspection data database. The goal has been to create better tools for analysis of geometrical variation and increase the understanding of the sources of variation.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():209-216. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86859.

Sheet metal forming process may yield unexpected defective products due to many uncontrollable factors such as irregular material properties, lubricants, and variations of other forming conditions. Traditional design methods based on deterministic optimization theory have limited capability of including such factors. In this paper, we propose a method in determining the optimal condition of a sheet metal forming process with conflicting failure modes. A robust design method is used with computer simulations and optimization techniques. A new SN ratio is proposed based on the operating window method, to improve the problems of traditional SN ratio. The robust design process is applied to a sheet metal forming process for an automobile component, and the effectiveness of the proposed method is verified.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():217-225. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87161.

For consumer products, early design stages are often concerned with the product’s industrial design, with primary focus on the consumer’s product experience. At this stage, aspects such as manufacturability and robustness are often not thoroughly taken into account. Industrial design concepts not properly suited for manufacture, assembly and process variability can result in final products in which the appearance intent is not satisfactorily realized. This can have a negative impact on the customer’s product quality perception. If such problems are discovered late in the product development process, late design changes and increased project costs may follow. The main difficulty in evaluating perceived quality aspects during industrial design is that the product is still under development. It is not mature enough to enable prediction of the prerequisites for achieving high manufacturing quality. In this paper, we suggest that concepts instead could be evaluated as far as the intrinsic tendency of the product appearance to support manufacturing variation and other noise factors. This is addressed through the concept of visual robustness: the ability of a product’s visual appearance to stimulate the same product experience despite variety in its visual design properties. Here, a method is suggested based on the Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA). The method follows a structured procedure for addressing appearance issues.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():227-234. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87724.

Due to their increasing responsibility for the total lifecycle costs associated with their products, manufacturers are investing increasingly more efforts in their reduction. One way in which this can be achieved is through the elimination at the design stage of possible in-service issues. This can be supported through the feedback of product in-use information obtained from testing, prototyping and in-service lifecycle stages towards the earlier stages of the development process. In order to facilitate the feedback of this information to design, the idea of complimentary product structures is introduced. The relationships between these structures provide a link between product information across the various lifecycle stages. The similarities between the product structure and the FMEA structure are also examined. As the FMEA organizes its information on a component basis, it is suggested that it provides an adequate basis for the organization of the product in-use information in order to facilitate its association with the product structure. Based on these ideas, a full framework for the feedback and reuse of product in-use information is described.

Topics: Failure , Feedback
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():235-243. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86202.

Environmentally conscious design or ecodesign plays one of the most important roles to create products with less environmental impact targeting the sustainable society. Manufactures often use checklists to support design improvements of products and to obtain eco-labels, such as Eco Mark in Japan. Current checklists are, however, insufficient to support designing products rationally because the relationship between the individual requirements of current checklists and environmental impact is undetermined. This paper proposes a method for supporting ecodesign assessment by developing a weighted checklist from a conventional checklist. This weighted checklist calculates ecodesign achievement based on the potential environmental improvement of each requirement, derived by the life cycle simulation. The result of a case study involving a digital duplicator showed the proposed method successfully clarified requirements that should be improved in the present product. When design improvements are applied, the assessment of the product’s CO2 emission is improved by 8%.

Topics: Green design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():245-256. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86591.

This paper describes an ongoing research project related to the development of an interdependent system of tools for performing systemic and sustainable evaluation of environmental performance by the car parts manufacturer Faurecia. The approaches developed in this research are based on (1) establishing a robust system for assessing environmental impacts through a set of dynamic indicators, (2) the exploitation of this set of indicators by the design team using appropriate means put at their disposition via a new organization. These two aspects are the bases of this article, which concludes by presenting a draft version of the system mock up with an evaluation result example.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():257-265. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86961.

Environmental consciousness has gained increasing interest in recent years, and product life cycle design that aims to maximize total value while minimizing environmental load and costs should be implemented. To achieve that, the processes of idea generation and decision-making for eco-business strategies, as well as the design of a target product and its life cycle options, should be systematically supported. This paper proposes a strategic decision-making method for eco-business planning so that a designer can easily find a set of eco-business ideas that effectively improve environmental and economic performance simultaneously. A decision-making procedure based on this method is also illustrated with a simplified example of a laptop computer business.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():267-274. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87047.

Sustainable societies require the use of sustainable products. Sustainability is generally expressed in terms of Triple Bottom Line (TBL) — people, planet, and profit. Products that are sustainable have positive effects and value for all the stakeholders. In this work, we propose different measures to assess sustainability of manufactured products with respect to TBL. The proposed measures should help designers to assess sustainability of design alternatives during the initial phase of design and point out ways to reduce the impact.

Topics: Sustainability
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():275-289. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87328.

Consumer demand and government regulation have led to increasing energy efficiency among consumer products to reduce environmental impacts. Continual improvement of the use-phase energy consumption results in points where it is environmentally beneficial for the product to be replaced with the newest model. Life cycle optimization is used to determine the product life spans that minimize energy consumption. Unfortunately, optimal life spans are found to be significantly shorter than current replacement periods and consumer behavior. This paper introduces the concept of using leasing as a tool for manufacturers to regulate product life spans as well as provide frequent maintenance and upgrades to improve product performance. Leasing offers flexibility that can be used to control product flow with varying replacement intervals necessary to make manufacturing optimal. Because ownership is maintained by manufacturers who are responsible for the product at its end-of-life, remanufacturing becomes an appealing alternative to landfilling, and offers additional energy savings by avoiding significant manufacturing processes. When remanufacturing is combined with optimal life cycles, significant long-term energy savings can be realized. In this paper we reveal some basic trends that could lead to a larger, more detailed study of product replacement and efficiency gains with respect to leasing. Refrigerators, dish washers, clothes washers, and vehicles are used as case studies.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():291-302. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87389.

Design for environment principles and guidelines help designers create greener products during the early stages of design when life cycle analysis is not feasible. However, the available guidelines are not exhaustive and a general methodology for discovering guidelines has yet to be proposed. In this paper, a method for identifying green design guidelines is presented, which aims to fulfill the need for more comprehensive guidelines. The method combines typical aspects of product design, such as customer needs analysis, with reverse engineering and life cycle analysis. Although reverse engineering is commonly applied to studies of disassembly and recyclability, the methodology and case study herein show how reverse engineering can be applied to areas of product utilization and energy consumption in particular. A general description of the methodology helps readers apply it to their own studies, and a case study of electric kettles shows how each step of the method was applied to reveal four new design guidelines.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():303-311. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87394.

Minimizing the environmental load and cost throughout the product lifecycle requires appropriate lifecycle design as well as product design. Product lifecycle can be designed easily by describing lifecycle scenario at an early stage and the product should be designed to realize the scenario. This paper proposes a modular design method that links lifecycle scenario to appropriate modular structure by unifying components applicable to the same lifecycle option, such as recycling, maintenance, reuse, and upgrading. Appropriate modular structures may differ with the lifecycle options, meaning that while the modular structure for recycling should be based on the type of material, the structure for upgrading should be based on the lifetime of components. The modules, therefore, can undergo lifecycle processes without disassembly into components. These may lead to easy management of components throughout the lifecycle and increase the efficiency of recovery processes and logistics in resource circulation. We also propose an evaluation method of modular product from the viewpoint of resource efficiency. For the evaluation, we formalize the probability that each module goes through preferable lifecycle paths designated by the scenario in order to represent the advantage of modularization. This paper also illustrates a case study in order to discuss effectiveness of the proposed method.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():313-321. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87405.

Environmental protection legislation, consumer interest in “green” products, a trend towards corporate responsibility and recognition of the potential profitability of salvaging operations have resulted in increased interest in product take-back. However, the cost-effectiveness of product take-back operations is hampered by many factors, including the high cost of disassembly and a widely varying feedstock of dissimilar products. Two types of decisions must be made; how to carry out the disassembly process in the most efficient manner to “mine” the value-added that is still embedded in the product, and then how to best utilize that value-added once it is recovered. This paper presents a method for making those decisions. The concept of a transition matrix is integrated with mixed integer linear programming to determine the extent to which products should be disassembled, and simultaneously determine the optimal end of life (EOL) strategy for each resultant component or subassembly. The main contribution of this paper is the simultaneous consideration of selective disassembly, multiple products, and the value added that remains in each component or subassembly. Shared disassembly operations and capacity limits are considered. An example using two cell phone products illustrates application of the model.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():323-335. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87625.

Product take back and reuse is sometimes at odds with the rapidly evolving desires of some customers. For other customers, the environmental benefits of reuse more than compensate for minor drawbacks. “Selling a service” (rather than a product) through leasing enables the manufacturer to control the timing and quality of product take-back, but current methods assume a fixed leasing period. What is needed is a method for fine-tuning the time span of the customer’s life cycle in order to provide each market segment the combination of features it most desires. This paper presents a new method for performing long range product planning so that the manufacturer can determine optimal take-back times, end-of-life design decisions, and number of lifecycles. The method first determines a Pareto optimal frontier over price, environmental impact and reliability using a genetic algorithm. Then, a multiattribute utility function is employed to maximize utility across different segments of the market, and also across different lifecycles within each segment. The proposed methodology is illustrated through an example involving personal computers.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():337-348. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87637.

Despite decades of disaggregated initiatives aimed at improving the well-being and quality of life of its employees, their families, communities and stakeholders, many high-technology firms are still struggling to develop an integrated approach to address the triple bottom line aspects of sustainability. In particular how sustainability is being integrated into the product development process, and the challenges that result, is of interest to this work. A literature review into the role of internal factors of how a firm implements a sustainability strategy revealed that it was too normative to guide the implementation of a corporate sustainability strategy at the level of the product development value chain. Therefore, to better understand how senior and mid-level managers actually implement such a strategy, a case study was conducted at two business divisions of two different large, multinational firms that are relatively early in their development of an integrated sustainability strategy. The findings provide insight into the role of internal factors at the level of a business division as it attempts to incorporate sustainability into its product development value chain.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():349-357. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86034.

Manufacturing companies are required to develop and produce products that meet increased requirements from customers and investors on shortened time spans. One key factor in meeting these requirements is the efficiency of the product development and the production preparation process. Design automation is a powerful tool to increase efficiency in these two processes. The benefits of automating the production preparation process are shortened lead-time, improved product performance, and ultimately decreased cost. Further, automation is beneficial as it increases the ability to adapt products to new product specifications with production preparations done in few or in a single step. During the automation process, knowledge about the production preparation process is collected and stored in the corporation systems, thus allowing full control over the design of production equipments. The contribution of this work is a method for connecting knowledge pieces implemented in auxiliary software applications using an inference engine. The knowledge pieces can control CAD-models and automatically generate, execute, and interpret finite element analyses. The presented method allows the automation of corporation know-how developed by skilled engineers over time. Further, it is possible for the resulting systems to meet criteria for good design automation systems such as low effort of developing, low level of investment, user readable and understandable knowledge, scalability, and flexibility. The method is exemplified by an implementation for analyzing manufacturability of the rotary draw bending of extruded sections of aluminum where the sections are complex. The output from the example system is based on established design practice and heuristic knowledge developed over many years of practical experience, rules analytically derived from fundamental physical laws, and finite element calculations. The system applies knowledge to a given specification that a skilled engineer otherwise would do manually. The method is described along with the example system in this paper.

Topics: Aluminum
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():359-367. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86395.

Fixtures are important components in manufacturing systems. Fixturing changes because of manufacturing changing from mass production to production in smaller batches and higher variety of products. Computer-aided fixture design (CAFD) systems automate the process of fixture design and verification. Research work has mainly concentrated either on automating the CAFD process or on making it user-friendly and interactive. However a final fixturing scheme may not be optimal because different users may need fixtures to meet different requirements, this paper proposes a conceptual module for the fixture validation to compare, test and analyze various combinations of fixturing elements. A fixture validation model is developed using a virtual reality (VR) system to support the idea presented in this paper.

Topics: Fixturing
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():369-378. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86707.

Freeform Fabrication and additive fabrication technologies have been combined with subtractive processes to achieve a variety of fully integrated rapid manufacturing systems. The combination of separate fabrication techniques into one rapid manufacturing system results in unit manufacturing process integration, sometimes known as a hybrid system. However, the design methods or approaches required to construct these integrated systems are vaguely described or not mentioned at all. The final product from any integrated system is affected not only by the unit manufacturing processes themselves, but also by the extent the individual units are assimilated into an integrated process. A wide variety of integrated and hybrid manufacturing systems and current manufacturing design methodologies are described in this paper, along with their similarities and differences. Through our extensive review it was discovered that there are five key elements to a reliable integrated manufacturing system: process planning software, motion system, control system, unit manufacturing process, and finishing process. By studying the manner in which all other systems have been integrated, a table of successful integrated manufacturing system elements combinations has been created, documenting each of the key element choices, resulting in a variety of modular designs. A table of common obstacles encountered during manufacturing system integration has been compiled and presented in Section 4. This paper further discusses the importance of the five elements in manufacturing system integration, and how integrated systems is the way to move forward in the manufacturing domain. In the final Section, we describe our modular design experience to demonstrate how unit manufacturing process integration has increased productivity and the capabilities of a laser aided manufacturing process.

Topics: Manufacturing , Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():379-384. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87770.

This paper investigates the methodology for fast machining process planning that satisfies part tolerancing specifications through the example of a handle. The method first maps each feature of a part into feasible finishing processes that are capable to achieve the specified tolerances and surface requirements associated with the feature. All possible process plans are then developed by expanding preceding processes of each finishing process. A directed graph, with processes as nodes and process sequence as links, is employed to represent the expanded machining processes. Process clusters with same specifications can be further merged and pruned to reduce the computational complexity of the graph. Each possible plan of the merged results is further integrated based on machining sequences. As there are often many feasible plans for machining a part, the qualified plan that satisfies design specifications is achieved by traversal through the graph. The procedure for machining process plan of the handle by such graph-based inference techniques is demonstrated in the paper. The merit of this method is to employ a unified graph model for representing and to reduce the complexity of the process plan efficiently based on inference on the graph.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

6th Symposium on International Design and Design Education

2009;():387-397. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86309.

The goal of this paper is to demonstrate the advantages of implementing an alternative technical review technique in an engineering design course. Historically formal design reviews associated with the Cornerstone Design course have utilized a Power Point type of presentation for evaluation of a design project status. A case study will be presented involving the use of a project summary report for a comprehensive design project review based on a Toyota management communication tool known as the “A3 Report”. The objectives for utilizing the this report format as an alternative to the presentation format were to require project team members to integrate their individual sub-system designs into their final system proposal, identify the critical aspects of their design, and prepare for detailed questions regarding their design. Conclusions and recommendations from the perspective of both the instructors and the students will be presented, including points of concern with the implementation.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():399-407. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86996.

This paper demonstrates the implementation of a two-dimensional rubric system into capstone-level design courses as the preferred method for assigning and evaluating students’ design work. The rubric is based on the ICE (Ideas, Connections, and Extensions) learning and application levels, having been expanded from the basic one-dimensional rubric into two dimensions to further resolve each rank (level of application) into skill levels of learning of a given concept (i.e., a design project element), with qualitative descriptors summarizing the requirements for each skill level versus rank coordinate in the rubric that an element is applied to justify the assigned grade. These rubrics provide guidance to students in how to address the design requirements for maximum possible marks and also assist instructors with clearly defining the design requirements. The developed rubrics are applicable to other upper year undergraduate and graduate level courses featuring a major design project with minor modifications. Their usefulness was evident in the observed improvement of students’ grades over the last three years. For capstone courses, a multi-dimensional rubric is more versatile, providing instructors with a greater choice of assigning grade levels to evaluate student performance for a given element of the design project.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():409-421. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87032.

Hands-on product dissection and reverse engineering exercises have been shown to have a positive impact on engineering education, and many universities have incorporated such exercises in their curriculum. The CIBER-U project seeks to examine the potential to utilize cyberinfrastructure to enhance these active-learning exercises. We have formulated a framework for product dissection and reverse engineering activity creation to support a more rigorous approach to assessing other exercises for satisfaction of the CIBER-U project goals and adapting the best practices. This framework is driven by the fulfillment of learning outcomes and considers the maturity of students at different levels. Prototype exercises developed with the framework are presented. The approach is sufficiently general that it can be applied to the consideration and adaption of other types of exercises while ensuring satisfaction of the established goals.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():423-432. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87478.

Assessment of design process, design products, team process, and professional practice are natural fits in an engineering capstone design course. In order for instructors and students to fully experience the value of capstone course assessment activities, the activities must not only be carefully developed but must also be deployed in an appropriate manner. Course designers must choose an optimal set of assignments based on local needs, while balancing time intensive design project activities with professional growth experiences. Instructors must facilitate the complete cycle of usage of a single assignment in order to ensure that the value is understood before and after completion of the assessment. This paper introduces guidelines for achieving effectiveness in selecting, timing, and sequencing assessment activities, preparing for activity deployment, and implementing a facilitation plan. Additionally this paper reports on the feedback from students and faculty using the system that highlights the importance of naturalistically integrating assessment.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():433-438. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86036.

The “teamology” approach to psychologically constructing and organizing design teams is based on an original transformation of personality questionnaire responses on to the four cognitive mode pairs of C. G. Jung’s underlying personality theory. This article shows how to interpret the transformation as the combination of a pair of square graphs, one for the two information collection (perception) mode pair scores; the other, for the two decision-making (judgment) mode pair scores. Questionnaire data are plotted in each square’s rectangular coordinates. The mode scores in each square are the projections of the questionnaire points on to the two diagonals. To illustrate, example graphs are used to guide the organization of a student trio to identify and strengthen a potential weakness. This can be done whether or not the team was constructed according to teamological principles.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():439-450. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86295.

The growing complexity in (Dutch) building practice necessitates developments in other aspects, besides specialized and professional skills. Therefore a new integral approach in building design education has been developed in close cooperation with building design practice. In 2005, the building services chair of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning of the TU/e commenced a multidisciplinary master project ‘Integral Design’ focused on a sustainable climatic design. In this and the following Multidisciplinary Master projects students of architecture, building technology, structural engineering and building services participated. The students began with a two days learning-by-practice workshop which was implemented and tested in collaboration with experienced professionals from the Royal Institute of Dutch Architects (BNA) and the Dutch Association of Consulting Engineers (ONRI). This is one of the few projects in which the practical experience is transferred into the educational academic program; normally this process functions the other way around. The theoretical basis of the combined education of students and professionals is discussed and results presented. Quite remarkable is that these workshops by themselves have become part of the permanent professional educational program of the BNA.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():451-457. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86989.

In spite of its common perception as a static matter, the history of mechanical engineering is always a surprisingly rich source of ideas and constructive solutions. In fact, a historical perspective leads to a deeper understanding of the reasons why some technical solutions are commonly adopted, and that may not emerge from a technical and economical analysis of the present situation. Moreover, the power of invention of a “creative engineer” is limited to what can actually be done and is useful; therefore his/her creativity relies on a wide and deep technical knowledge. These two apparently simple and obvious considerations are the starting points to establish a relationship between history and creativity in the mechanical engineering field. The introduction of the historical heritage in purposely developed courses to stimulate the creativity of young engineers is one of the beneficial effects of this association. The breadth of the historical heritage is the more evident difficulty of this approach. The proposed way to overcome this difficulty, making it more easily accessible especially for younger engineers, consists in organizing the historical heritage in archives and data-bases. Two strategies (named abstraction and evaluation) to develop new solutions starting from the results of the search in these data-bases are also presented and discussed. This approach has been introduced in the syllabus of the courses “History of mechanical engineering” and “Design Methods” that are comprised in the Master of Science in the Mechanical Engineering Programme of the Politecnico di Milano.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():459-466. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87628.

Innovation is per se based not only on the individual problem solving, but the process from new ideas to commercialization of new products. However, in a time with rapid technology shifts and frequently altered customer requirements, creativity and more precisely the lack of useful new ideas surfacing is viewed as problematic by companies. Ways of involving creativity has been to apply idea generating (IG) methods for identification of creativity sources. This paper consists of a combined theoretical and empirical approach which aims at studying existing tests and proposing suitable creative methods to be used in higher engineering education. The authors work with an extensive capstone design course in Integrated Product Development that emphasizes systematic and parallel approaches to product development. In contrast to traditional modes and styles of teaching that make few attempts to encourage students to pursue a variety of IG methods the capstone design course in integrated product development puts a large part of the responsibility on the students. In all cases IG and use of creativity methods is a natural ingredient. Thus, students’ self-regulation and insights into how to work with methods and exercises is particularly interesting as this may have an affect on managing their creative skill. Overall possible improvements in students’ creative potential transcend interesting notions on capability to innovate. Thus, this paper’s purpose is to investigate whether creativity as an ingredient of a student’s innovation capability is influenced by using IG methods. And whether the selections made by project groups are aligned to best utilize students’ creative thinking.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():467-476. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86708.

Engineering education has been evolving over the last few decades to include more engineering design courses in the curriculum or offer a new degree altogether that allows one to design a unique degree suited to his or her own interests and goals. These new engineering curricula produce engineers with strong backgrounds in fundamental engineering and design knowledge, which make them strong candidates for solving complex and multidisciplinary engineering problems. Many universities have embraced the need for multidisciplinary engineers and have developed interdisciplinary engineering design courses for many experience levels. Such courses build a foundation in engineering design through a unique series of lectures, real-world examples and projects, which utilize validated design tools and methodologies. This paper assesses the value of using design tools, web-based and downloadable, in undergraduate interdisciplinary design engineering courses. Six design tools are tested for their ability to increase the student’s knowledge of six design concepts. Also, the tools are evaluated for ease of use and if the different digital formats affect their educational impact. It was found that most students valued all the design tools and that the tools reinforced all but one design concept well. Quotes from the open-ended portion of the survey demonstrate the acceptance of the design tools and a general understanding of the importance of engineering design. The design tools, design concepts course goals, survey questions and survey results are discussed.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():477-490. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87112.

With the proliferation of distributed and distance learning in higher education, there is a growing need for remote and portable laboratory design and deployment for the engineering, science, and technology education sectors. Amongst the current threads of research in this area, very little work has focused on solutions to the challenges, which are imposed by modern day information technology infrastructure, enterprise networks, and enterprise network security change management processes, that will be faced by large scale deployments of remote and portable labs. In this paper, the authors will discuss some of these challenges and will propose the use of the command and control communications architecture coupled with Web 2.0 as a solution to many of the deployment challenges.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():491-500. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87456.

The use of remotely operated laboratory experiments is gaining credibility to substitute traditional experimentation practices for distance learning students. Universities have been exploring this option to cater to the growing number of nontraditional students who are only able to participate in education remotely. In this paper the authors discuss how recent advances in robotic and network control have laid the foundation for which remote labs can be built and used as a novel educational tool. Models of how to implement remote laboratory experiments demonstrate the important considerations and best practices which would be addressed when developing an experiment. The consideration of network navigation is essential to foster the smooth connection between remote users and local equipment without inhibiting existing system functionality. Firewall communication through static and dynamic IP addresses must be delegated carefully while network and security administrators open channels for communication. Command and control interfaces can substantially reduce this complex orchestrate by serving as a dedicated web server. With the proper pedagogical and technical developments, remote laboratories will become a viable means to provide realistic experiences to anyone throughout the world.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():501-511. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87652.

Wikis, freely editable collections of web pages, are showing potential for a flexible documentation and communication tool for collaborative design tasks. They also provide a medium that can be further transformed by properly understanding both the need for flexibility as well as support for design thinking early in the design process. The purpose of this work is to analyze the different dimensions of the wiki from a communication perspective as applicable to design. With a focus on communication in design, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of using wikis in student engineering design teams. Our ultimate goal is to better support the design process while exploiting the potential for increasing the shared understanding among teams using a wiki. By introducing a wiki in a globally distributed product development course, students gain hands-on experience in using wikis as a design tool. Feedback from students will be collected through questionnaires and used to improve and transform the wiki as a support tool for communication during early design collaboration.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():513-522. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86067.

Design engineering is different from other more artistic forms of designing because on one hand it is more constrained by the engineering sciences, economics and other factors, but on the other hand it has more possibilities for abstract modeling in the conceptual phases. Creativity is essential, but in many cases not sufficient to explore the many possible candidate solutions. A more systematic and methodical approach can help to overcome many of the problems that arise during conceptualizing in design engineering. Use of appropriate methods to enhance the search for solutions can expand the solution field. A systematic approach based on engineering design science has been shown to enhance understanding, good record-keeping, and traceability for the design process. Several grounded theories are reviewed and brought into mutual context, they refer to memory and thinking operations, expertise, human action modes, and competencies. The discussion reveals a need for specific instructions for a methodical and systematic engineering design procedure, when the design problem is seen as non-routine, and expertise is lacking.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():523-530. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86069.

Students learning design engineering at times need a good example of procedure for novel design engineering. The systematic heuristic-strategic use of a theory to guide the design process — Engineering Design Science — and methodical design process followed in this case study is only necessary in limited situations. The full procedure should be learned, such that the student can select appropriate parts for other applications. Creativity is usually characterized by a wide search for solutions, especially those that are innovative. The search can be helped by this systematic and methodical approach. This case example is presented to show application of the recommended method, and the expected scope of the output, with emphasis on the stages of conceptualizing. The case follows a novel design problem of a smoke gas dust precipitation process and the necessary technical system, including a sub-problem of a rapper for dust removal.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():531-540. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86734.

Collecting and interpreting customer needs using traditional product development tools can be difficult or impossible when there is a large geographic, cultural, or social gap between the customer and product designer. As part of a project to design an electric powered wheelchair (EPW) for Indians with disabilities, we piloted a new approach to gather and interpret customer needs. First, we distributed cameras to manual wheelchair users at the Indian Spinal Injury Center in New Delhi, India, and asked subjects take photos and write descriptions of accessibility barriers in and around their homes. The film was then processed; photos were de-identified and integrated into an internet-based questionnaire. Individuals with expertise in wheelchair use and design, and home modifications were recruited to participate in the questionnaire where they identified and ranked the accessibility barriers in each of 50 images which were randomly selected from the full database. Thirty cameras were received, yielding approximately 500 photos which were integrated into the questionnaire. A total of 72 subjects from 8 countries participated in the questionnaire. Using cluster analysis, we developed unique groupings for accessibility barriers based on their severity and prevalence. These groupings provided valuable and relevant information to develop and prioritize the design specifications of the EPW.

Topics: Wheelchairs
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():541-552. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86745.

There is a growing interest in the development of new design methods that will allow companies to adapt to a world that is becoming more competitive due to globalization and a rapidly changing global economic landscape. Several new techniques are being developed as a result of this interest that addresses the unique characteristics of product evolution. For example, Otto and Wood presented a new reverse engineering and redesign methodology that focuses on the process steps needed to understand and represent a current product with the combination of various techniques to address the different stages of the design process [1]. In this paper, we present a case study involving the use of augmentation tools such as affinity diagrams and quality function deployment’s (QDF) house of quality to augment the systematic design approach originally developed by Pahl and Beitz (P&B) [3] and apply it to an existing process and design issue. While presenting their approach, we apply our augmented approach to a laboratory-scaled fabrication process for the creation of adaptive polymer particles. We demonstrate that this augmented design approach could create a large-scale fabrication method that is low in cost, high in quality, and provides greater efficiency than the original method. According to our results, the process time was reduced by as much as 35.4% which would save thousands of dollars each year. In addition, the quality of the fabricated polymeric samples was improved significantly due to the use of advanced tools and simulation techniques. This augmented P&B method will provide an additional option for businesses and engineering designers to consider when faced with the challenges of sustaining designs and design processes.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():553-563. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86699.

Improving the creativity and innovativeness of U.S. graduate students is a mandate for national competitiveness and social well-being. Despite this imperative, many are uncertain about how to best prepare students for tackling the complex design problems of the future, some that we know about and others yet to be uncovered. With this in mind, we convened a two-day workshop at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Arlington, VA to discuss the challenges, successes, and future directions for interdisciplinary graduate design programs that have recently emerged or are being established to address this critical need. Not including NSF personnel, 42 people from academia and industry gathered to learn about nine existing interdisciplinary design programs. Three panels were also held to discuss: (1) overcoming interdisciplinary differences in research and teaching, (2) industry perspectives on interdisciplinary design programs, and (3) future directions and program developments. A number of common themes emerged from the workshop, including the disciplinary characteristics of interdisciplinary design, the varying perspectives on the design process, pedagogical approaches toward teaching interdisciplinary design, structuring interdisciplinary design degrees, and sustainability of an interdisciplinary design discipline. Based on the dialogue at the workshop and our analysis of the common themes, we offer ten recommendations divided into three areas: (1) advance interdisciplinary design activities, (2) enhance interdisciplinary design programs, and (3) support interdisciplinary design research.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():565-573. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87425.

The objective of academic education for mechanical design engineers is to convey qualifications which are necessary for product development in an industrial environment. The goal of the work described here is to improve engineering design education and to provide a more active learning experience. Design students should be familiarized with modern methods and technologies which they will most likely encounter during their future career. Design cannot be taught sufficiently in lectures alone [1, 2] and requirements on graduates in product development are continuously increasing. Not only professional skills but also social skills as well as proficiency with new technologies and methodologies become increasingly important [3]. For meeting these requirements the Karlsruhe Education Model for Product Development (KaLeP) [4] was developed at the Institute of Product Development (IPEK) at the University of Karlsruhe in Germany. In this contribution we present KaLeP, the role of modern design tools like CAD/PDM and wikis in education, the course projects for Machine Design and Integrated Product Development including training concept as well as the technical and organizational environment in which these courses take place.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():575-583. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87527.

This paper presents the brand status of the Interdisciplinary Engineering (IDE) degree program at Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T), formerly the University of Missouri-Rolla (UMR). The IDE degree was founded in 2005 at UMR to meet the emerging need to provide considerable flexibility to students allowing them to construct programs of study in areas of interest while maintaining a solid and rigorous foundation in mechanics, thermal science, electrical networks and linear systems. Students are able to pursue studying the latest technological fields through a collection of “tracks” enabled by the flexibility of the curriculum. This modern degree program houses energetic motivated students interested in a variety of disciplines from product design and amusement park fundamentals to industrial automation and control. The first students graduated the IDE program in December 2007. This facilitated the evaluation of IDE’s current brand status, preparation of its future marketing plans, and sharing these findings with other universities interested in increasing student retention and broadening their demographic of engineering students. This paper presents the brand status of the IDE BS degree among prospective and current students, academic faculty, and industry and weighs it against the original implementation plan proposed in 2005 at the inception of the program at Missouri S&T. This brand management study provides the current perception of the new degree program and suggestions improving the perception IDE has as a field of engineering.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():585-591. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87706.

For both student and professional design teams, the design and development process requires that collaborators build and retain knowledge through discussions, creating documents and sharing artifacts. Key to supporting these knowledge building activities is the development of an infrastructure that supports effective knowledge management. This paper presents the framework for an information management technology called DesignWebs, which assimilates the product structures from the evolving set of documents and discussions about an engineering artifact. A DesignWeb enables users to see evolving connections between concepts by using a navigable web-based interface that synthesizes the design knowledge from multiple sources of information.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():593-598. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86396.

The Product Innovation Engineering Program, PIEp, is a large, national research and development program aimed at performing a system change of innovation capabilities within Swedish industry and higher education. PIEp is a network of students, researchers and product developers and relies heavily on collaboration with international renowned networks, advisors and universities. This paper aims at introducing PIEp and the fields of PIEp active in engineering education on an international arena. The ambition is to strengthen existing networks and find new partners. One of the ambitions of this paper is further to promote the program with the purpose of finding future collaborative projects, within the context of product innovation engineering education. Also, current activities and results from the first years of operation are presented.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():599-609. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87284.

Most people are more perceptive to the geometric rather than the symbolic representation of information. In engineering disciplines, visualization combined with game characteristics can provide an essential mode to facilitate students’ understanding of important and abstract concepts, and improve students’ willingness to learn. In this project, game characteristics are introduced into course module design, but different from commercially available games in that the level of the contents and assessment tools in this project are meaningful to teachers, students, and parents. This paper focuses on the design of the Gaming and Interactive Visualization for Education system. Specifically, some initial design results from the three universities for three different courses plus the development of evaluation system will be presented. The system is expected to (1) offer interactions with gaming scenarios that can excite emotions, (2) provide an engaging learning experience of understanding engineering concepts by allowing students to visualize and interact with 3-D objects in a game scenario, (3) employ situated learning by exposing students to the type of challenges they will face in industry, and (4) fit better with the learning styles of the majority of engineering students.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():611-621. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87696.

Product development is important more than ever for manufacturing firms. A well-designed performance measurement system can assess the impact of product development on the whole company. Such a system can also be utilized for motivating employees, especially product development staff. Naturally, a set of suitable product development measures can provide valuable information for managing the activities and continuous improvement of the product development process. In this paper, via our literature review, we first establish that “a suitable set of performance measures” to assess product development performance is not readily available. Then, we identified performance criteria for assessing product development process effectiveness based on competitive priorities (cost, quality, flexibility, delivery and innovation) followed by ANP analysis. Finally, using a two tier survey setting, the validity and reliability of the criteria set were ascertained, and field data for its (performance measure set) usage as an assessment tool for product development is demonstrated. The field study was conducted by participation of a sample of manufacturing companies in Turkey.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():623-629. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87755.

The objective of this paper is to provide ideas on how to better manage a team transition in a design project. Team transitions can be planned or can occur unexpectedly, in either case, disruption can be diminished by taking the appropriate measures. We present an approach on team transitioning and relate it to our experience with undergraduate senior design teams working on a collaborative project that lasts 1 year while the course is limited to 1 semester. Our observations and recommendations include where to start, damage containment measures, how to retrieve the project’s knowledge, what to look for in a replacement team, and how to improve the odds in the event of an unexpected transition.

Topics: Design , Teams
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():631-639. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87091.

The creation of an appropriate, meaningful design experience for a first-year engineering design course is challenging as the instructor must balance resource constraints with broad learning objectives and a diverse, and often very large, enrollment. In this paper, the authors present the task of developing a design project for a first-year engineering course as a problem of design. Following a structured design process, the authors articulate the requirements for a successful first-year design project including: learning objectives that are appropriate for a multi-disciplinary group of first-year students and common budgetary and time constraints. Several project alternatives are generated and evaluated in a conceptual design phase. In their description of the embodiment and detail design phases, the authors present the implementation of the selected project concept: ROXIE (“Real Outreach eXperiences In Engineering”). The ROXIE project, a service-learning themed project, tasks first-year students with serving as design consultants to not-for-profit community partners. Through this partnership, students are able to practice principles and tools of design methodology and project management. Preliminary survey data and excerpts of student reflection essays are provided as a means of supporting the instructors’ project selection.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():641-647. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87475.

In order to evaluate a wheelchair design it is necessary to look at the capabilities of the user and the chair’s intended purpose. Whilst some chairs are only required to provide infrequent mobility indoors, others need to enable the user to travel great distances out doors over rough terrain. In this respect the chair should be considered in the same manner as any other ‘inclusive’ product (or be useable by all). There is a need to better understand the capabilities of different users and how this affects their ability to use a wheelchair for the express purpose required. A detailed experimental investigation was carried out into the wheelchair propulsion characteristics of people with paraplegia and tetraplegia. In this investigation, subjects’ posture, applied forces, and their strategies in applying forces to the wheel rims were studied. Three distinct postures and corresponding techniques were observed and subsequently modelled in a constraint-modelling environment. Here rules were developed that allowed these differing postures to be applied to a manikin representation and their effect upon the wheelchair mobility evaluated. From this study the needs for these classes of individuals were identified in order to allow the wheelchairs to be evaluated. Where conflicts existed between the chair and the user, different modifications in both chair and posture were proposed and assessed. Where no simple modifications exist such a study can provide the basis for a more radical and improved design.

Topics: Design , Wheelchairs
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():649-656. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87538.

Upper-extremity (UE) prostheses are increasingly more functional and proportionately more costly, rendering them largely unattainable for impoverished amputees in the United States (US) and abroad. Recognizing the increasing need for appropriate devices, PhysioNetics, LLC is developing a heavy-duty, transradial body-powered (BP) UE prosthesis which can be prescribed with minimal instruction. The design of the key components, the split-hook terminal device [TD] and universal adjustable interface is presented in this paper. The TD is primarily fabricated from plastics to eliminate galvanic corrosion in saltwater environments, weighs 5.4 oz (153 g) and uses inexpensive rubber bands to generate pinch force. Unique gripping contours provide versatile grasp and replicate five (5) prehension patterns while six (6) discrete force settings provide 2 – 17 lbf (8.9 – 76 N) of pinch. Three (3) universal interface sizes (small, medium, and large) accommodate most amputees and comfortably support axial loads up to 40 lbf (178 N). Estimated manufacturing cost for a complete unit is less than US$250. Field testers report lower but comparable comfort to their individually custom-fabricated interfaces, and are highly satisfied with fit and function of the prosthesis overall. Ongoing development includes reduction of manufacturing costs, increasing interface comfort and implementing task-specific variant designs.

Topics: Prostheses
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():657-663. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87609.

Mobility aids that are currently available in developing countries do not fully meet users’ needs. People require a device that is maneuverable within the home and that can travel long distances on rough roads. To address this problem, we have designed the Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC), a wheelchair-based mobility aid capable of navigating virtually any terrain by optimally utilizing upper body power for propulsion through a variable-speed lever drivetrain. The lever system achieves a 4:1 change in mechanical advantage, equating to leverage that ranges from 0.42X to 1.65X a standard wheelchair hand rim. In comparative trials, the LFC demonstrated capabilities that far exceed those of any mobility aid currently available in the developing world; it was able to cruise on smooth surfaces at 2m/s (5mph), climb muddy, grassy hills with a 1:3 slope, and navigate terrain with a coefficient of rolling resistance as high as 0.48. This operational flexibility should make the LFC usable on any terrain, from rural walking paths to tight indoor confines, and greatly increase the mobility of people with disabilities in developing countries. The LFC may also be attractive to wheelchair users in developed countries, as its performance breadth exceeds that of currently available products.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():665-674. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86177.

The difficult lives of workers in a manufacturing industry can be improved by the use of a simple ‘Hovercraft’. This vehicle runs on air from the pressure lines in any industry. Since there is zero resistance between the smooth surface and the craft, the effort to move very heavy bodies is reduced significantly. The craft with a specially designed skirting shape will allow it to lift the load placed on it with ease. There would be eddy formation and stability would need to be taken into account. Hovercraft has been designed before but its application in industries is of the level of innovation (atleast in India for the moment). Many shapes of the hovercraft can be used and experimented with, but we have mainly stuck to the rectangular one. This technology will be very cheap and will sort out a lot of problems in industries. It will save a chunk of the transportation money. Braking is a big problem in the design, but can be overcome by new types of brakes. As the load taken by the hovercraft is proportional to the size, space limitations also imply. So in all it will, as stated earlier, save time, money and energy of the workers.

Topics: Manufacturing , Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():675-682. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86484.

The paper describes the design specifications for a hand built wind turbine that is optimally used in regions such as North East China. The authors have developed a design for a home sized wind turbine. A region with some of the highest wind speeds in the world, North East Jilin is an ideal site for vertical axis wind power. Because of its ability to generate power best in high winds, a Darrieus-type turbine is the modified and tested design. Since it is low to the ground, it can be raised and lowered for maintenance and repair without need of expensive equipment or cranes. The design employs a direct drive shaft that can attach to a water pump, an air compressor, or a car alternator. In this way the owner of the turbine can pump water, compress air, or generate electricity depending on personal need. The turbine was designed considering probable implementation locations, and therefore all materials and fabrication techniques are easily accessible by the rural Chinese. The turbine was constructed and raised, and testing was begun.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():683-690. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86963.

Today, the interdisciplinary design approach has been quickly adopted as a new trend in the modern product design process. Whereas, it is believed that manufacturers try to make shortcuts in order to reduce the time-to-market. Therefore, many inherent or uncertain safety parameters and factors are normally ignored in the early stage of the process until problems occur during the life cycles of products. This is very harmful to users. Enterprises may face liability claims and recalls of those products. In addition to the claims, additional time and cost are required to investigate the root cause of problems and to redesign the products and. Those problems mostly happen in some developing countries in which their product design and manufacturing process is still in a labor-intensive mode. Systematic and knowledge-based design approaches have not yet been popularly adopted. In order to have a better consideration, in terms of safety at the early stage of design process, the integration of practical experience of safety assessment concept and analysis methods into the traditional electronic product design process is the key proposed idea in this paper. A new design workflow with safety assessment concept at the early stage is generated, with a result of saving redesign cost and time.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():691-697. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87029.

The University of Delaware Department of Mechanical Engineering curriculum includes a senior design project, where teams address real design challenges facing local firms. The SURVICE Engineering Company tasked a team to design an improved metrology vector bar for use with an indoor global positioning system (iGPS) computer system. This vector bar needed to be ergonomic, easy to use, and easy to manufacture. To fulfill these requirements, metrics for a smaller, lighter, and more ergonomically designed Multi-Function Vector Bar were established. To encompass these metrics, four different subsystems were identified and integrated into a final design. Of these systems, emphasis was placed on a new ergonomic handle designed through an iterative process. New features were added to the handle to facilitate a decrease in human error and an increase in functionality. Multiple handle models were designed and tested to accomplish this. The final handle design resulted in a balanced, lighter, and more comfortable prototype that had two control buttons and indicator lights.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():699-707. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87418.

Senior capstone design classes allow for both a theoretical and physical basis for learning the principles of the product realization process. By providing an example of the design process for a senior capstone project studied at Carnegie Mellon University, this work highlights insights gained about both the mechanical design process and the product itself. The product studied in this work is an umbrella check system that utilizes Radio Frequency Identification to create a tracking system for a communal resource. The product itself represents a departure from umbrellas as a personal item into use as common good within a community, which has important economic and environmental effects. This work will highlight the various product realization processes that took place in order to translate the product from a user need to a final design, including a traffic analysis based on Markov Models and the construction of several prototypes.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():709-718. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87570.

A new protective curtain system for agricultural disc mowers has been designed and validated through a combination of novel testing methods. In order to understand performance requirements and choose the best solution to the problem, computer modeling, as well as small and full scale prototype testing was conducted. The new curtain system improves upon the current production design by adding a flexible joint between the top of the shroud and the curtain. This results in a reduction of force exerted on the crops by the curtain, the key performance metric for this project. A full scale prototype (P1) was constructed in order to confirm concept functionality, which led to a second generation prototype (P2) made of a heavier weight curtain fabric, in order to meet safety metrics. This new mounting method will improve cutting quality by reducing the force exerted on the crop by the curtain, while still meeting the safety requirements, in addition to providing a superior, more marketable product for Case-New Holland and higher crop yield for the customer.

Topics: Design , Disks
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

21st International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology

2009;():721-728. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86063.

The high competitive pressure in the aero-engine market demands higher quality products in shorter time at lower costs. In order to achieve this, a close integration of the product lifecycle with early design stages is necessary. Decisions made in design have an impact on later lifecycle areas like manufacturing and aftermarket, which a design may not foresee without the relevant information. This leads to avoidable iterations in the product development process. This paper illustrates a concept for a design decision support system on feature level. Key knowledge of different design domains is provided within the available design systems during the product development phases.

Topics: Engines , Design , Cycles
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():729-738. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86410.

A very large majority of the current product development process models put forward in textbooks present a homogenous structure, what Ulrich & Eppinger [1] call the market-pull model, presented as a generic one, while other possible product development process models are merely seen as variants. This paper focuses on the task clarification and derived activities (mainly the systematic search for customer needs through market study and the supplementary development costs it entails) and investigates two alternative strategies that are not derived from the generic process model. The first alternative is the market-pull model without an extensive task clarification. The second is the application of the so-called expeditionary marketing strategy. With the help of simplified analytic modeling, the conditions for which these alternatives are as efficient as the generic process model are discussed. This advocates the development of more flexible process models.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():739-751. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87261.

Understanding customers-in-context for actual product realization processes (PRPs) has become a pressing need since a large and rapidly increasing share of complaints in the field cannot be attributed to violation of products’ technical specifications. While addressing this problem requires a multidisciplinary approach, more studies in the engineering design domain have of late been proposed on engineering contextual and emotional values in product design. However, it is not yet clear how these findings can be utilized within large-scale operational PRPs. Accordingly, in this paper, we propose an operational method empowering the stakeholders in collaborative PRPs with core decision templates, which provide (i) relevant information on customers-in-context, and (ii) corresponding guidelines to improve underlying processes. The content of these templates builds on the results of user feedback analysis with the subjective-feedback ontology from Soft Reliability, and their structure is based on the compromise Decision-Support Problem templates. Partial application of our method is demonstrated through two industrial cases. We envision that our method can help to evaluate and foresee the impact of new technology as it gets incorporated into the specific ecology of values and activities of its users.

Topics: Reliability
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():753-762. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87421.

Although recent work in Decision-Based Design (DBD) recognizes the need for an enterprise perspective in which the expected net revenue is the primary driver of utility, for the overwhelming majority of contributions in the DBD literature, the emphasis in the problem formulation is exclusively on the design artifact. This formulation of DBD problems is too narrow in scope, in that the use of resources during the design and development phase is overlooked. This omission makes it impossible to consider tradeoffs between the design artifact and the design process. In this paper, we reformulate the DBD problem in terms of the design process rather than the artifact. This new formulation more accurately represents the tradeoffs under consideration in an enterprise context and simplifies to the traditional DBD formulation if design phase resource use is assumed to be negligible. As a first step towards establishing this new formulation, a simple example problem is introduced and solved. The example involves a choice between two concepts, with an option to perform an analysis to reduce the uncertainty. Although several simplifying assumptions are made in this work that are not likely to apply in practical design problems, the intent of this work is to qualitatively explore the impact of relaxing some of the assumptions made implicitly in previous work in DBD. These assumptions include ignoring the costs of the design phase as well as the assumption that the value of a particular information source is independent of the ability to gain additional information from subsequent analyses. Solving the design process decision problem in this manner confirms the intuition that an analysis is worth performing only when the cost is low, the quality is high, and there is significant overlap in the predicted utility of the two concepts. In addition, this new DBD formulation is compared to related work in information economics, and we show that the new DBD formulation provides a more comprehensive model of the problem when a sequence of information sources is available.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():763-773. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86680.

While biology is well recognized as a good source of analogies for engineering design, the steps of 1) retrieving relevant analogies and 2) applying these analogies are not trivial. Our recent work translated the functional terms of the Functional Basis into biologically meaningful keywords that can help engineers search for and retrieve relevant biological phenomena for design, addressing step 1 above. This paper reports progress towards step 2: identifying and overcoming obstacles to effective analogical transfer and application of biological descriptions retrieved with functional and biologically meaningful keywords. This work revealed that the presence of, and ease of recognizing, causal relations (relationships between two actions where one causes another) in biological descriptions plays a key role in the quality of analogical transfers. We observed that novice designers found it difficult to correctly transfer analogies when they could not easily recognize the causal relations present in biological descriptions. Two major factors that rendered this recognition difficult were: 1) a large number of action words appearing in the descriptions, and 2) key action words being used in the passive voice. To overcome these factors, we propose a template that guides designers to 1) recognize the relevant causal relations in biological descriptions and 2) focus on the functional elements of the causal relations.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():775-784. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86681.

Biology is a good source of analogies for engineering design. One approach of retrieving biological analogies is to perform keyword searches on natural-language sources such as books, journals, etc. A challenge of retrieving information from natural-language sources is the potential requirement to process a large number of search results. This paper describes a categorization method that organizes a large group of diverse biological information into meaningful categories. The benefits of the categorization functionality are demonstrated through a case study on the redesign of a fuel cell bipolar plate. In this case study, our categorization method reduced the effort to systematically identify biological phenomena by up to ∼80%.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():785-797. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86811.

Product recovery has become a field of rapidly growing interest for product manufacturers as a promising solution for product stewardship as well as economic viability. As product recovery is a process highly dependent upon the way a product is designed, it should be considered early at the design stage so that the product may be designed to facilitate efficient and effective recovery at its end-of-life stage. To make a product easy to recover, manufacturing companies first need to understand the links between product design and recovery profit. They should be able to evaluate which design is better than others and why that is so. To accommodate such companies that seek for a design-for-recovery method, in this paper, a comparative study is conducted to analyze how design differences affect product recovery and what architecture characteristics are desirable from the end-of-life perspective. Three cell phone handset designs sharing the same design concept but entailing different architecture are created, for which the individual designs and the recovery potential of each design are evaluated under three different scenarios. The results highlight preferred design alternatives with their design implications for sustainable product design.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():799-808. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87272.

Efficient identification of relevant biological strategies to use in Conceptual Design is key to harnessing biological technologies in engineering. However, identification of these strategies is not straight forward. There are several approaches developed to aid in identifying these strategies, including searchable databases and functional keyword searches. Although these approaches offer access to these biological solutions, the generic keyword-based retrieval mechanisms utilized by these approaches often suffer from providing either too many and/or irrelevant results. In this paper, we present a design repository for storing and retrieving biological (and engineering) design strategies. The backbone of this repository is an ontology structuring information from the biological and engineering domains. This ontology is encoded using Description Logics, a subset of first-order logic that have been used for information modeling in several application areas, including engineering information management. Subsumption, an inference mechanism afforded in Description Logics, is used to retrieve relevant biological strategies from the repository. In this paper, we demonstrate that subsumption allows precise retrieval of relevant biological strategies from the repository.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():809-816. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87749.

Engineers today have access to a myriad of tools for developing sustainable products that have minimal environmental impact. Although consumer interest in sustainability is increasing, it is still not foremost on the minds of many consumers. Engineers are thus faced with the dilemma of developing sustainable solutions for consumers who may not yet want or be able to articulate sustainability needs. We explore this issue by examining user research conducted by students in a graduate-level product design course. We present findings on how users define and describe sustainability, how sustainability needs interact with other user needs, and what tradeoffs people make and feelings people have when faced with sustainability trade-offs. We present a case study of one design team’s findings about sustainability, and how those findings affected the formulation of the team’s mission statement and product strategy. Based on these results, we propose recommendations for how to facilitate the design of innovative and sustainable consumer products.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():817-827. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86709.

In the widespread endeavour to standardize a vocabulary for design, the semantics for the terms, especially at the detailed levels, are often defined based on the exigencies of the implementation. In human usage, each symbol has a wide range of associations, and any attempt at definition will miss many of these, resulting in brittleness. Human flexibility in symbol usage is possible because our symbols are learned from a vast experience of the world. Here we propose the very first steps towards a process by which CAD systems may acquire symbols is by learning usage patterns or image schemas grounded on experience. Subsequently, more abstract symbols may be derived based on these grounded symbols, which thereby retain the flexibility inherent in a learning system. In many design tasks, the “good designs” lie along regions that can be mapped to lower dimensional surfaces or manifolds , owing to latent interdependencies between the variables. These low-dimensional structures (sometimes called chunks ) may constitute the intermediate step between the raw experience and the eventual symbol that arises after these patterns become stabilized through communication. In a multi-functional design scenario, we use a locally linear embedding (LLE) to discover these manifolds, which are compact descriptions for the space of “good designs”. We illustrate the approach with a simple 2-parameter latch-and-bolt design, and with a 8-parameter universal motor.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():829-840. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86804.

This paper presents a new search method that has been developed specifically for search trees defined by a generative grammar. Generative grammars are useful in design as a way to encapsulate the design decisions that lead to candidate solutions. Since the candidate solutions are not confined to a single configuration or topology and thus useful in conceptual design, they may be difficult to computationally analyze. Analysis is achieved in this method by querying the user. The user interaction is kept to a maximum of thirty pair-wise comparisons of candidates. From the data gathered from the comparisons, a stochastic decision making process infers what candidate solutions best meet the user’s preference. The method is implemented and applied to a grammar for tying neckties. It is shown through 21 user experiments and 4000 automated experiments that the method consistently finds solutions within the 99.8 percentile. The implications of this method for conceptual design are expounded on in the conclusions.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():841-851. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86851.

Computational design synthesis supports the knowledge-intensive process of developing new products. However, most approaches to date are often limited to a narrow domain and viewpoint of a synthesis task. The framework introduced in this paper aims to respond to the need for a method that integrates a richer product representation for computational synthesis within a framework that includes simulation, performance evaluation, and search. A computational and parameterized product model is presented that combines the Function-Behavior-Structure levels of abstraction. Graph-grammars are then used to create a formal definition of vocabulary and valid graph transformation rules. This approach offers the possibility to harness the large knowledge source of design catalogues in order to formulate vocabulary in a viewpoint-independent and thus, flexible way. In addition to manually entered and problem-specific rules, a class of generic rules is introduced that is instantiated computationally based on the defined vocabulary and has the advantage of being problem independent and re-usable. Finally, validation of the method is given through the synthesis of electric power-trains. This research goes beyond prior work in the field as it allows for synthesis and reasoning on different layers of abstraction, including function, behavior and structure, and introduces methods to alleviate the encapsulation of engineering knowledge for synthesis methods.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():853-862. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87702.

Computational synthesis tools that automatically generate solutions to design problems are not widely used in industry despite many years of research. This deficiency can be attributed to the lack of value that these tools provide for the user in terms of time saved in design or quality improvements in the design. In order to provide sufficient quality of solution, it is proposed that more human-like evaluation of solution quality is needed including qualitative concepts, the ability to allow for anecdotal input, and general inclusion of ambiguous information. A hierarchical temporal memory system (HTM) is proposed as a viable approach for capturing design quality from exemplars and subsequently recognizing the presence of that quality in other designs. This paper includes a first experiment in using HTMs for learning and recognizing quality in the form of the visual style characteristics of Hepplewhite, Stickley, and Greene & Greene chair backs. Results show that HTMs develop a similar storage of quality to humans and are therefore a promising option for capturing and recognizing multi-modal quality information in future design automation projects.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():863-872. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86524.

The Affordance Structure Matrix (ASM) is a concept exploration and attention directing tool to enable designers to take advantage of the special properties of affordances, such as form dependence and polarity of positive and negative affordances. However, in an ASM, as in other popular matrix based tools, the entities being mapped (in the case of an ASM, affordances and components, respectively) are typically assumed to be of equal importance. In this paper we present a comparative study of various quantitative scales used to populate ASMs. By using these scales, we can capture the relative importance of different affordances, for example that cutting the user is more important to avoid than annoying the user with noise. Also, by using scales of increased granularity for populating the interior of an ASM, the relative strength of relationships between product components and individual components can be captured. For example, larger, heavier components have a stronger relationship with transportability than smaller, lighter components. The results of the comparison studies on the case study of a shaving razor show that a scale of negative ten through positive ten for populating the interior of the matrix is necessary to produce results which clearly rank all of the components in terms of helpful and harmful relationships. The results also show that the scale used for populating the interior of the matrix has a much stronger effect on the results than does the scale used for weighting the individual affordances. An electro-mechanical razor is used as the consumer product in the comparative study. Based on the results of the study, practical suggestions for redesigning the razor are also suggested.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():873-883. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86562.

The trend toward lighter-weight vehicles in the private sector has been pushed by demands to improve fuel economy, improve dynamic performance, and reduce material and transportation costs. The same demands exist and are even more acute for military vehicles. The reduction of weight across a military vehicle platform can affect hundreds of thousands of vehicles with dramatic ramifications for military budgets, logistic support, deployment time and cost, and other factors critical to national defense. In this paper we report on methods developed for requirements analysis and function integration based on a modeling framework (developed in previous work) which captures requirements, functions, working principles, components, component parameters, test measures, and tests. We also show that the problem of assigning the mass of individual components to requirements is not solvable in practice. The methods are demonstrated using a case study of the United States Department of Defense Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV).

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():885-894. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86939.

The requirements engineering of hybrid products is an important field that still has a paucity of investigation to date. This paper analyzes the suitability of product development methods for the requirements engineering (RE) of hybrid products. The strengths and shortcomings of these methods regarding hybrid products are stated and fields of improvement are derived. To successfully differentiate from competitors, classic products are no longer sufficient. Therefore, many companies offer holistic solutions to customers’ problems. These solutions consist of bundles of classic products, software and services called hybrid products or product service systems (PSS). Hybrid products are characterized by a high number of components that are developed by different disciplines, by a high degree of technological integration and by a high degree of customer-integration. Due to their unique characteristics, hybrid products need holistic handling. Especially interesting is the specification and handling of the requirements for hybrid products called requirements engineering. This phase of the development process is very important for the later success of the product. The characteristics of hybrid products were thoroughly analyzed, and requirements of the RE for hybrid products were derived. A structured literature review was carried out to find the state-of-the-art of RE in product development including common textbooks and publications on respected conferences and journals in product engineering. In total, 15 textbooks, 79 journal articles and 137 articles of conference proceedings were analyzed. This provided the state-of-the-art of RE indicating the approaches used. An important aspect of the research was the matching of these approaches to the requirements defined earlier. This resulted in a list of 13 fields of RE presenting the strengths and shortcomings of the approaches in detail from which two major fields of improvement could be derived, those which need to be addressed in practice. The results show that RE for hybrid products has special needs, particularly in interdisciplinary cooperation and customer integration. The methods for RE in product development are well elaborated upon, but need to be adapted to hybrid products. There is a need for further analysis and integration of RE into the overall development process of hybrid products, as well as further development of hybrid products in practice.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():895-904. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87042.

In the teleological sense, people design new products in order to meet market demands and societal needs and by fulfilling these, they push the boundaries of technical evolution. These demands and needs are met by means of a technical process (TP) inside which the operands are transformed to achieve desired state. If the problem of search for suitable optimal technologies required for the operand transformation within the TP can be tackled computationally, then the transformation alternatives can be obtained in an expedient fashion with the probability of the generation of novel alternatives. The approach considered within this paper proposes a grammatical evolution (GE) based method for the search and optimization of technical processes. The breakdown of the TP as a black-box concept into a system of interrelated sub-processes and operations is done according to the formalized knowledge inside the set of production rules of the Backus-Naur form (BNF). Once the breakdown procedure has produced a state composed solely of terminals, the specification of the needed effects required for establishing the product function structure is complete. This paper presents the breakdown of the TP of tea-brewing as an example.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():905-914. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87382.

It is not easy to design an innovative product that delights customers. Current engineering design methods provide help in designing a good product, but the designer lacks tools that help him or her create a truly innovative, successful product. In this study, we analyzed 95 innovative, award-winning products against their competition to identify what made those products stand out from the competition. We focused on finding engineering-level characteristics that made the products successful. We developed a set of conditionally repeatable innovation categories that are used in the analysis. We found that the most innovative products were innovative in multiple categories. Overall, a vast majority (greater than 70%) of the award-winning products exhibited enhanced user interactions, with a similar percentage displaying enhanced environmental interactions, compared with approximately one-third of products offering an additional function and approximately half displaying innovative architectures. We conclude that breakthrough or innovative products are becoming increasingly centered on user interactions and that engineers need better methods to design these products.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():915-925. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86832.

It is said, though not yet assessed, that a large amount of potentially valuable information may reside in engineering email correspondence. If this is the case, then due consideration must be given to the role of email for record keeping, Product Lifecycle Management and knowledge management. In order to examine this hypothesis, a methodology for assessing the information content of emails, and in particular those associated with engineering projects, has been created. The method is based on a textual analysis approach that is derived from cognitive design research and social psychology and further developed through iterative applications to industrial datasets. The paper describes the development of the approach and its classifications of what the subject of the email is, why the email has been sent, and how its content is expressed. The approach is validated using an email corpus from a software design project. The method is then applied to characterize the content of 800 emails from a large systems engineering project. The key findings from this major study are then presented and discussed with respect to the character of the content, including evidence of engineering work, the project lifecycle, and implications for information and knowledge management.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():927-936. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86985.

When developing procedures such as tools, methods and frameworks to support the development of new products, one of the challenges is ensuring their successful implementation. This paper describes a study of the development and use of such design-procedures with primary focus on the new product development process-model, its supporting methods and handling of knowledge. Semi-structured interviews with 20 participants have been carried out to understand the use of procedures. All the interviews were conducted in a company, which develops large complex equipment for oil rigs. The findings suggest that a complex understanding of procedures and reasons for divergence needs to be adopted, where implicit as well as explicit procedures are recognised and managed. Three distinct types of implicit procedures were uncovered through the study: 1) historical implicit procedures; 2) social interpretations of explicit procedures and; 3) implicit procedures supporting needs that are not catered for by the explicit procedures. In this understanding, a procedure can be any kind of method, tool or framework used to support design engineers. Furthermore, the study discusses a variety of recommended actions, depending on the type of procedure and the reason for non-conformance. Recommendations for corrective actions are proposed and feedback from managers directly involved in developing and applying the procedures are collected, to evaluate them.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():937-943. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87214.

Product development increasingly involves designers with different cultural backgrounds. This paper describes an investigation into the effects of these different backgrounds on the design process. An empirical study is carried out under participation of designers drawn from industrial practice in Germany, India and China. They are observed while solving a given design problem in a laboratory setting. The recorded design processes are analyzed with a focus on cultural characteristics, which were derived from literature. The paper focuses on the following design activities: analyzing problem and requirements, working on sub-functions, deriving selection criteria, and improving solutions. The results indicate that the design processes are different and that these differences can be linked to the characteristics of culture.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():945-953. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87602.

This study investigated processes in novice–expert consultation meetings in an organizational context to identify ‘what’ is done ‘how’ by novices and expert in consultation discourses. A conceptual model was developed for studying novice–expert design discourses at a fine-resolution level. An empirical study was performed at Rolls-Royce Aerospace Engineering. In total 7 audio-records were captured of meetings between trainees (novices) and expert designers, which occurred over the course of 3 trainee teams’ design projects. Relations were investigated between two coding schemes, namely the activity coding scheme and the conversational flow coding scheme. It was found that certain activities in the meeting were more often performed by either novices or experts, whereas other activities were more often performed collaboratively. Based on the results, implications for design engineering practitioners were derived and suggestions for further research are provided.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():955-964. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87626.

Collaborative design team members use feeling language in their communications with one another, dubbed feeling communications, as they negotiate their interpersonal relationships and task, process and relationship conflict to achieve successful outcomes. In this paper, we examine the use of feeling communications by design teams in a new product development class at UC Berkeley, how their use of feeling communications relates to the levels of conflict experienced by the teams throughout the semester, and how both relate to team performance. From this study, it appears that high-performing and low-conflict teams tend to use high levels of feeling communications. High-conflict teams also use high levels of feeling communications, but often suppress its use when given feedback on their process. Medium-conflict teams appear to initially produce less feeling communication, but build up to a normal level over the course of the project. These results are based on our study of 1,926 messages sent by 13 teams in the Fall 2008 class, and present promising avenues for further exploration.

Topics: Design , Teams
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():965-983. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86403.

Many methods for design have been explored as the engineering community seeks to increase the efficiency, quality, and novelty of innovation. Some design methodologies are well equipped for use with any problem; others are best suited for specific domains or applications. Recent studies have developed two new independent methods for design. The first, WordTree Design-by-Analogy, uses a graphical structure of related words to help identify far-field analogies that have relevance to a given problem. The second method, Transformation Design, describes the mechanics and characteristics that drive the transformation of a reconfigurable mechanical system from one state to another. This paper presents a study of the effectiveness of these two methods in generating concepts for a specific problem statement requiring multiple sets of capabilities, i.e., tagging and tracking vehicles for military or civilian law enforcement purposes. Forty-one mechanical engineering students were assembled into groups and given specific guidelines to follow in generating concepts. A typical full-factorial experiment and ANOVA analysis was used to compare the effect of using the two design methods, as well as the interaction between them. Results from the design teams were evaluated quantitatively by the number concepts generated. Analysis of these results revealed that using the Transformation Design method increased the number of concepts developed by 25–30%. Use of the WordTree method was not judged to increase the number of concepts generated; however, the novelty and diversity of solutions were distinct for this method compared to Transformation Design or the control group.

Topics: Design , Innovation
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():985-994. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86668.

The research shown in this paper is to check whether a framework for designing: GEMS of SAPPhIRE as req-sol, developed earlier, can support in the designing of novel concepts. This is done by asking the questions: (a) Is there a relationship between the constructs of the framework and novelty? (b) If there is a relationship, what is the degree of this relationship? A hypothesis — an increase in the size and variety of ideas used while designing should enhance the variety of concepts produced, leading to an increase in the novelty of the concept space — is developed to explain the relationship between novelty and the constructs. Eight existing observational studies of designing sessions, each involving an individual designer solving a conceptual design problem by following a think aloud protocol are used for the analysis. The hypothesis is verified empirically using the observational studies. Results also show a strong correlation between novelty and the constructs of the framework; correlation value decreases as the abstraction level of the constructs reduces, signifying the importance of using constructs at higher abstraction levels especially for novelty.

Topics: Sapphire
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():995-1002. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86826.

During design problem-solving designers frequently come across a variety of rich visual displays. While browsing for different external sources of information, pictorial representations of existing concepts take a relevant prominence. However, once designers start devising new solution ideas to design problems, they often become particularly influenced by the exemplars they come across. Inadequate and excessive reuse of existing (parts of) available solutions has been described as design fixation. Such behaviour has been discussed having an impact on creativity and innovation. The study presented here investigates the influence that two different types of pictorial representations (simple and rich stimuli) of a particular solution had upon industrial design students during an ideation phase. The findings clearly demonstrate high levels of design fixation on the pictorial examples utilised. The results also show the presence of both detrimental and beneficial aspects on the quality of the ideas generated. Lastly, the outcome of this study reports on how the originality of the solutions created by the groups primed with existing solutions was significantly hindered. Reasons for the occurrence of design fixation are discussed in light of its implications to design quality and originality; and ultimately, to the use of pictorial information in design practice.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1003-1011. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87193.

In order to support creative design, we propose an approach composed of two methods for generating creative design ideas. The first method involves generating a candidate for a highly creative design idea by focusing on the notion of “polysemy.” The second involves evaluating the generated candidate by using a virtual network. In this study, we focus on concept generation, specifically, the process of synthesizing two concepts. Furthermore, we use design idea features for representations of the design idea. We attempt to create a set of design idea features that allows the realization of highly creative ideas. For verifying the validity of the first method, we confirmed that the estimated scores of originality of all the generated candidates extrapolated the score of the base design idea.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1013-1022. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87219.

This study examines how engineering design teams converge to a common understanding of a design problem and its solution, how that is influenced by the information given to them before problem solving and how it is correlated with quality of produced solutions. To understand convergence, a model of the team members’ representations was sought through a cognitive engineering design study, specifically examining the effect of the introduction of a poor example solution and a good example solution prior to problem solving. Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) was used to track the teams’ convergence. Introducing a poor example solution was shown to have a slowing effect on teams’ convergence over time and quality of design, while the good example solution was not significantly different than the control (no example solution) in its effects on convergence, but did cause higher quality solutions. This may have implications for design team performance in practice.

Topics: Design , Teams
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1023-1032. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86943.

Conceptual design is a process wherein new functions are created through engineering design. In conceptual design, we use natural language since it plays an important role in the expression and operation of a function. Moreover, natural language is used in our day-to-day thinking processes and is expected to keep a fine interface with the designer. However, it is at a disadvantage with regard to the expression of a function, since physical phenomena, which are the essence of a function, are better expressed in the form of mathematical equations than natural languages. In this study, we attempt to develop a method for using natural language for operating a function by harnessing its advantages and overcoming its disadvantage. We focus on the vital process in conceptual design, that is, the function dividing process wherein the required function is decomposed into sub functions that satisfy the required function. We construct a thesaurus by semiautomatic extraction of the hierarchical structures of words from a document by using natural language processing. We show that the constructed thesaurus can be useful in supporting the function dividing process.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1033-1043. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87064.

For safety critical complex systems, reliability and risk analysis are important design steps. Implementing these analyses early in the design stage can reduce costs associated with redesign and provide important information on design viability. In the past several years, various research methods have been presented in the design community to move reliability analysis into the early conceptual design stages. These methods all use a functional representation as the basis for reliability analysis. This paper asserts that, in non-nominal system states, the functional representation limits the scope of failure analysis. Specifically, when failures are modeled to propagate along energy, material, and signal (EMS) flows, a nominal-state functional model is insufficient for modeling all types of failures. To capture possible failure propagation paths, a function-based reliability method must consider all potential flows, and not be limited to the function structure of the nominal state. In this light, this paper introduces the Flow State Logic (FSL) method as a means for reasoning on the state of EMS flows that allows the assessment of failure propagation over potential flows that were not considered in a functional representation of a “nominally functioning” design. A liquid fueled rocket engine serves as a case study to illustrate the benefits of the methodology.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1045-1054. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87168.

Function is an important aspect of artifacts in engineering design. Although many definitions of function have been proposed in the extensive research mainly in engineering design and philosophy, the relationship among them remains unclear. Aiming at a contribution to this problem, this paper investigates some ontological issues based on the role concept in ontological engineering. We discuss some ontological distinctions of function such as essentiality and actuality and then propose some fundamental kinds of function such as essential function and capacity function. Based on them, we categorize some existing definitions in the literature and clarify the relationship among them. Then, a model of function in a product life-cycle is proposed. It represents the changes of existence of the individuals of each kind of function, which are caused by designing, manufacturing and use. That model enables us to give answers to some ontological questions such as when and where a function exists and what a function depends on. The consideration on these issues provides engineers with some differentiated viewpoints for capturing functions and thus contributes to consistent functional modeling from a specific viewpoint. The clarified relationships among the kinds of function including the existing definitions in the literature will contribute to interoperability among functional models based on the different kinds and/or definitions.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1055-1068. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87381.

Function models are used during the conceptual design phase of the design process to model the intended use or objective of a product, independent of the products physical form. Function models also aid in guiding design activities such as generating concepts and allocating design team resources. Recent research effort have focused on the formalization of function models through a controlled vocabulary and archival of functional representations in computer-based repositories. However, the usefulness and interpretability of these function models has not fully been explored. This paper presents the results of a user study to ascertain the interpretability of functional representations at three levels of abstraction. In this interpretability is defined as the ability to identify the product based on a functional representation. These function models vary in abstraction in two dimensions: (1) the number of function within the model and (2) the specificity of the terms used within the functional models. Sixteen mechanical engineering graduate students are asked to identify the products from the functional models in these three abstraction levels. In addition to identifying the product, students are asked to record time and list any keywords in the functional model that help them to choose a product. Analysis of the results indicates that interpretability of a functional model increases substantially by using free language terms over a limited functional vocabulary and environmental context of the product. Additionally, the number of functions within the functional model correlates with the identification of similar products.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1069-1077. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87085.

To benefit from the value of a brand, a product family must have a coherent product family look. It is however not clear, what in the design contributes toward the coherence or similarity between the products. In this work, a product family identity is broken down into its basic design elements. The contribution of each of these basic design elements toward similarity is investigated. We present a framework of design elements in four dimensions. Examples of these design elements include color, texture, shape, and form. The contribution of these design elements toward the perceived product similarity is investigated. A two phased factorial analysis was performed. The first phase involved simplified shapes consisting of five design elements in the first two dimensions. In the second phase, a similar survey was repeated using images of real products. A survey of product pairs was given to a total of 52 participants. The results show that using the same shape, texture, color, and pattern has a significant effect on making a product pair seem similar to one another. The results will help a designer to design product families that have a coherent product family look but yet look clearly different from the competing brands.

Topics: Dimensions , Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1079-1087. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87099.

Decreasing time and costs is a major objective in many businesses today. Including modularity in the early design phases can effectively decrease time spent on and costs associated with a project. The task of identifying modules within a product early in the design process (when decisions are less expensive) is made less daunting by using the techniques of functional modeling and module heuristics. This paper discusses the results of the initial efforts to verify the module heuristics on large products (products with functional models consisting of more than 30 sub-functions) since the module heuristics were originally developed on small products. Observations on needed modifications to the functional modeling technique and original module heuristics are reported along with an investigation of using potential risk statements to formulate modules. This work finds the original module heuristics do apply to large products with modifications and combining of heuristics.

Topics: Design , Modeling , Functions
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1089-1100. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87439.

Commonality amongst a family of products provides both technical and economic advantages. However, with an increase in commonality, a loss of product differentiation can occur, resulting in product cannibalization. Furthermore, there is generally a required tradeoff between performance and cost when incorporating commonality into a family of products. This paper synthesizes recent research in system flexibility, system reconfigurability, and product families to develop a formal design method, which may allow a design firm to decrease family cost, increase commonality, and maintain or improve system performance. The system configurations can be set before they reach the consumer or be capable of being set by the consumer. (Re)configurability is used to denote that the solution may be permanent once configured (i.e., a configurable system) or the changes can be repeatable and reversible (i.e., a reconfigurable system). Added benefits to incorporating principles of product flexibility and (re)configurability are the possibility for the systems to age gracefully, adapt to meet future demands and operating environments, and incorporate newly developed technologies.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1101-1109. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87493.

In the modern competitive environment, firms have to offer a variety of products to their customers in a cost effective manner. One way of achieving this goal is through the use of product platforms and product families. The choice of product materials and manufacturing processes has a significant effect on the ability to derive variants from these product platforms and families. Unfortunately, most economic analyses of materials selection rarely include the effect on the product family, and if they do they are viewed as static and passive investments. In reality, the decision to produce an additional variant is a “right, but not an obligation” — it can be viewed as a real option. A methodology to value the option of producing a follow-on variant product for an a posteriori (or bottom up) product family is proposed. This method uses inputs that are readily available for most product development teams. An automotive instrument panel beam case study is used to illustrate the method. Results from the case study show that while the follow-on variant option did not affect the relative economic preference of the materials, the value of the options associated follow-on variants accounted for a significant portion of total development project value. Valuations performed using both the binomial and Black-Scholes methods did not show significant differences between the methods. Material and manufacturing process characteristics are shown to have an effect on follow-on variant option value. The product lifetime and annual production volume of the follow-on variant are shown to have significant effects on option value. Initial variant product lifetime and underlying asset risk are shown to have less of an effect on option value.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1111-1120. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86749.

This paper presents the application of advanced optimization techniques to Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Mission Path Planning System (MPPS) using Multi-Objective Evolutionary Algorithms (MOEAs). Two types of multi-objective optimizers are compared; the MOEA Non-dominated Sorting Genetic Algorithms II (NSGA-II) and a Hybrid Game strategy are implemented to produce a set of optimal collision-free trajectories in three-dimensional environment. The resulting trajectories on a three-dimension terrain are collision-free and are represented by using Bézier spline curves from start position to target and then target to start position or different position with altitude constraints. The efficiency of the two optimization methods is compared in terms of computational cost and design quality. Numerical results show the benefits of adding a Hybrid-Game strategy to a MOEA and for a MPPS.

Topics: Path planning
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1121-1130. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87095.

Methods from psychology and engineering are used to quantify subjective, or perceptual, design attributes of artifacts. A modeling framework of perceptual attributes suitable for inclusion in design optimization is presented. The framework includes stimuli development based on design of experiments, survey design, and statistical analysis of data. The proposed modeling method is demonstrated on a subjective attribute we call ‘perceived environmental friendliness’ using vehicle silhouettes as a case study.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1131-1138. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87108.

This study demonstrates a robust design method for diverse conditions that are diverse design object, user features, and the environments that the object will be used in. In diverse conditions, two design problems are conceivable. One of the two problems occurs when an objective characteristic is in a non-normal distribution due to strong non-linear, discontinuous or stochastically fluctuant objective functions. We focus on the probability density function of the objective characteristic and propose an index to estimate the feasibility of an objective characteristic within a tolerance. The other problem is when a control factor has an adjustable range that enables users to adjust to meet their needs. To derive the optimum adjustable range of the control factor, we propose an index to estimate the ratio of the sum of sets of the probability of the objective characteristic within the tolerance. The proposed method using these indices is applied to an example where the appropriate cushion angle of a public vehicle seat is determined. As a result, the solutions using the indices are more robust than the conventional one.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1139-1145. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87548.

Suppose we designed an innovative structure, such as a deployable tensegrity structure, and suppose that while doing so, we are faced with a problem for which no available method could solve. The problem is such that if left without solution could hamper the further development of this structure. Infused Design (ID) is a method for transferring knowledge including solutions and methods between diverse disciplines. If an appropriate method is missing from a particular discipline, ID could be used to invent a new method by transforming methods from other disciplines. This paper reports on inventing a new method that allows finding relations between forces in a tensegrity structure thus determining which element would be a strut and which a cable. The invention process is described in detail. As an approach that has proved useful in inventing several design methods, ID constitutes a fertile source for extending our engineering and scientific knowledge.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1147-1153. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86460.

Product development projects are difficult to plan due to complexity, dynamics, lack of transparency and polytely. Risk Management is often used to cope with this situation. Linkography (originally proposed by Goldschmidt) is adapted with the aim to ease the effort of the Risk Management process. The elements of the original method are transferred to the area of Project Risk Management, complemented by a real time scale, and cost information of elements. Linkography is used to focus all Risk Management activities on those work packages, which might affect the project the most in the case of failing the expected outcome. The number of links to other work packages, its duration and its costs defines the criticality of a work package. By applying Linkography as a Risk Management method, a prioritized list of work packages can be generated which pass consecutively through the usual Risk Management process. Unlike other methods, Linkography supports the user in a visual manner. Hence, Linkography can easily be used for communication with unskilled stakeholders.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1155-1162. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86630.

The pressure to innovate has been particularly strong in industry traditional sectors if they are to survive to competitors with lower labour costs. Furniture has become a commodity product in some international markets. In most countries the furniture industry is highly fragmented and family owned. In this context the decision to introduce and launch new products rests solely on the owner, without considering the costumer needs. At the same time, the companies do not have an organizational structure and a formal process for managing new product development (NPD). In recent years “lean thinking” has gained increased popularity as a new paradigm of product design and manufacturing. This is due to the success which Toyota attained worldwide. The present research, still in progress, aims to answer the following research question: “Can lean thinking principles, methods and tools be applied in product development in a traditional sector such as the furniture industry?” To answer this question a research programme has been designed based on a cross-case analysis in two distinct cultural settings: the Portuguese and Brazilian furniture industries. Two in-depth case studies are in progress in two firms (one in Portugal and another in Brazil). The research programme is focused on the following principles: organize to balance functional expertise, to establish customer defined value, front load the product development process and to use tools for standardisation. The application of these principles has as its main goal to eliminate waste during the process chain and attain excellence. The first phase of the work looked into the subsystem People, with particular emphasis on the organizational structure. The preliminary results, obtained up to now, show that there is no formal product development system currently in place in the studied companies. This results in an inefficient flow of information in all phases of the product development, leading to numerous sources of waste.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1163-1176. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87063.

This work presents a method to incorporate the principles of verification and change management in order to address the quality control of engineering artifacts in early stage design. A refined definition of quality is presented and relates design quality to design iteration. A new model, the Decision Pathway Chart (DPC), is introduced to model decisions and iteration. A method and tool for incorporating this DPC model into a process for verifying and managing change through baselining is described and validated based on criteria for evaluating decision-based design methods. The contribution of this work is to introduce a practical technique for implementing quality control principles during design activities that typically lack such rigor toward quality assurance.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1177-1186. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87689.

A well-designed performance measurement system can assess the impact of product development on the whole company. To this end, a set of suitable product development measures can provide valuable information for managing the activities and continuous improvement of the product development process. In this paper, via our literature review, we first establish the gaps with regards to the product development performance measurement. Then, we identify performance criteria for assessing product development process effectiveness based on competitive priorities (cost, quality, flexibility, delivery and innovation) followed by an ANP analysis to develop a model for Product Development Performance Monitoring (PDPM). Finally, using a two tier survey setting, the validity and reliability of the PDPM model are ascertained, and field data for its usage as an assessment tool for product development is demonstrated. The field study was conducted by participation of a sample of manufacturing companies in Turkey.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1187-1195. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87721.

NASA, the US Government and many companies attempt to manage the development and launch of new technology using Technology Readiness Levels, TRLs. Unfortunately, TRLs as generally defined are outdated and flawed, based on the extent of prototype or hardware use in the field. Urgency in improving TRL levels drives early release of hardware before it is ready, and initiates cyclic rounds of debugging and fixing failures in the field or laboratory. Such a build-test-fix approach to product development is now well documented to be inefficient and wasteful. We present updated definitions of technology readiness levels (TRLs) based on the lean and design-for-six-sigma product design methodology, a radical departure from the “build-test-fix” methodology of conventional TRLs. We argue that the iterative build-test-fix approach of cyclic rework is costly to product development, as well as, downstream manufacturing and services. We call our updated TRL the L-TRL, for Lean TRL. Consistent with our L-TRL, we also present updated definitions for Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRLs) to address lean and six-sigma manufacturing principles. Hence we call them L-MRL. We address a void in the literature and unveil definitions for service readiness levels (SRLs).

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1197-1205. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87782.

Design Synthesis is most commonly supported by creativity methods based on functional product representations. As the design of a new product is in most cases following a predecessor, designers do not start from scratch. The mentioned circumstances enable the support of design synthesis by application of design rules or grammars. The use of rules by automated algorithms allows for the systematical derivation of variations of a product. Algorithms are meant to enable innovative solutions by recommending a great variety of variants to give the designers new impulses for product design. As a downside, the rules for the algorithms have to be described in advance, and thus are inheriting known components and functional structures. The identification of potentials and constraints for improvement of a product’s architecture requires detailed analysis. New solutions are often depending on novelties on different levels of abstraction (for example system, subsystem or component level). Algorithmic procedures usually are not able to allow for this comprehensive task. Thus, automatized mechanisms can only deliver limited innovative solutions. Common methods for the definition of innovative solutions, such as functional modeling methods, the TRIZ methodology, or the Morphological Matrix require accompanying analysis and the fixation onto one level of detail as well. To solve this dilemma, we propose an approach combining powerful analysis methods, required for the identification of potentials and constraints within product architectures on the one hand and the systematic definition of new solutions by systematic and partially automatized methods on the other hand. Exhaustive literature research has pointed out several methods, whose application can benefit a comprehensive approach. Amongst them is the definition of functional models, design synthesis by automatized system definition as well as the analysis of product architectures by the use of Design Structure Matrix and Multiple-Domain Matrix Approaches. The proposed approach should allow for the support of radical innovations by considering the overall product structure. Goal of the approach is the consideration of different levels of detail and the analysis of a comprehensive solution space compared to the definition of discrete solutions delivered by common methods. As a result, the approach is applied to different products on different levels of detail and the publication points out the potential and outcome: the systematic definition of a comprehensive solution space, new solutions as a result of comparison and evaluation of the solution space, the widening of the solution space, and a comprehensive evaluation of results.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1207-1220. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86781.

Reverse engineering, defined as extracting information about a product from the product itself, is a common industry practice for gaining insight into innovative products. Both the original designer and those reverse engineering the original design can benefit from estimating the time and barrier to reverse engineer a product. This paper presents a set of metrics and parameters that can be used to calculate the barrier to reverse engineer any product as well as the time required to do so. To the original designer, these numerical representations of the barrier and time can be used to strategically identify and improve product characteristics so as to increase the difficulty and time to reverse engineer them. As the metrics and parameters developed in this paper are quantitative in nature, they can also be used in conjunction with numerical optimization techniques, thereby enabling products to be developed with a maximum reverse engineering barrier and time — at a minimum development cost. On the other hand, these quantitative measures enable competitors who reverse engineer original designs to focus their efforts on products that will result in the greatest return on investment.

Topics: Engineers
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1221-1234. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-86840.

Engineering design thinking combines concepts from heterogeneous sources like personal experience, colleagues, digital and hardcopy media. Despite this challenge, modes of thinking across levels of abstraction through multi-dimensional (spatial) representations are widely neglected in digital support systems. This paper aims to summarize lessons learned through years of experience with software tools that augment this visio-spatial conceptual thinking. This work cuts across disciplines to provide a needed, coherent starting point for other researchers to examine complex outstanding issues on a class of promising support tools which have yet to gain widespread popularity. Three studies are used to provide specific examples across design phases, from conceptual design to embodiment. Each study also focuses on an exemplar of diagrammatic software: the University of Cambridge Design Rationale editor (DRed), the Institute for Human Machine Cognition’s (IHMC) CmapTools and the Open University’s Compendium hypermedia tool. This synthesis reiterates how hypermedia diagrams provide many unique, valuable functions while indicating important practical boundaries and limitations. Future research proposed includes: a need to build more diagrammatic literacy into engineering practice, the need for more detailed studies with experts in industry and specific directions for refining the hypermedia diagram software interfaces.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1235-1247. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87398.

Sketches, whether hand-drawn or computer generated, are a natural and integral part of the design process. Despite this fact, modern day computational design tools are ill-equipped to take full advantage of sketching input. The computational challenges of recognizing sketches are easily overcome by human visual recognition and much insight stands to be gained by emulating human cognitive processes. Creating robust, automated tools that overcome the ambiguity of sketching input would allow for advances not only in the practice of engineering design, but in the education of design itself. One first step toward the development of a robust sketching tool is to determine how humans interpret mechanical engineering diagrams. This paper presents two contributions toward the goal of an automated diagram understanding system. First, a method is presented to gain insight into human diagram recognition using techniques analogous to peripheral vision and human attention. Following this, a cognitive model of human diagram understanding is presented from which to further develop computational design tools. With this work, researchers should be able to (1) improve understanding of human diagram recognition and (2) use our model to emulate human diagram recognition in future computational design tools.

Topics: Design , Testing
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1249-1256. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87503.

Many studies have shown the importance of sketching skill in engineering design, more specifically in the conceptual design phase. Yet, engineering students today clearly have a preference when it comes to design and sketching is not often included in their visual documentation tool kit. The reasons may be that first, today’s contemporary engineering course plan does not include a sketch training course leaving students feeling inadequate to the task. Secondly in such a demanding fast passed global economy, time is of the essence and tools such as CAD, Pro-E, and Inventor offer quick solutions to design problems. Overall students do not appear to appreciate the value of sketching in the design process. This must be changed. This paper presents the results of a study to intervene with the purpose of influencing student use of sketching during design in a senior capstone course at The University of Maryland. The students sketches are reviewed pre and post a specific lesson based on the importance of sketching in mechanical design. This sketching importance lesson changed the content of the sketches when compared to a control group.

Topics: Design
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
2009;():1257-1265. doi:10.1115/DETC2009-87701.

The goal of product design is to obtain the maximum effect with minimum cost in functionality and aesthetic beauty. Consumers are attracted to the designs that reflect their use behaviors and psychological responses more than they are to the simple visual representations. When product functions and qualities are similar across products, customers make their purchasing decision upon aesthetic form. Form presents a significant competitive factor that improves the value of a product. Overall, the purpose of this study is to examine the most important product design factors that affect the market share trends of mobile phone companies. Study uses product characteristics for 1,028 mobile phones released between 2003 and 2008 as a case study. Multiple linear regression analysis is used to select highly correlated variables that influence the market share, and Mallow’s Cp method is used to determine the best-fitting model. The Partial Regression Coefficients are used to evaluate the relative importance of design criteria. The nine mobile phone design features that affect the market share were identified, and the block form style is determined as the most important design factor. Using these approaches, this study demonstrates how investments should be directed in the next mobile phone design process.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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