A systematic approach for integrated product, materials, and design-process design

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Messer, Matthias
Allen, Janet K.
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Designers are challenged to manage customer, technology, and socio-economic uncertainty causing dynamic, unquenchable demands on limited resources. In this context, increased concept flexibility, referring to a designer s ability to generate concepts, is crucial. Concept flexibility can be significantly increased through the integrated design of product and material concepts. Hence, the challenge is to leverage knowledge of material structure-property relations that significantly affect system concepts for function-based, systematic design of product and materials concepts in an integrated fashion. However, having selected an integrated product and material system concept, managing complexity in embodiment design-processes is important. Facing a complex network of decisions and evolving analysis models a designer needs the flexibility to systematically generate and evaluate embodiment design-process alternatives. In order to address these challenges and respond to the primary research question of how to increase a designer s concept and design-process flexibility to enhance product creation in the conceptual and early embodiment design phases, the primary hypothesis in this dissertation is embodied as a systematic approach for integrated product, materials and design-process design. The systematic approach consists of two components i) a function-based, systematic approach to the integrated design of product and material concepts from a systems perspective, and ii) a systematic strategy to design-process generation and selection based on a decision-centric perspective and a value-of-information-based Process Performance Indicator. The systematic approach is validated using the validation-square approach that consists of theoretical and empirical validation. Empirical validation of the framework is carried out using various examples including: i) design of a reactive material containment system, and ii) design of an optoelectronic communication system.
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