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Engineering design process


The engineering design process is a methodical series of steps that engineers use in creating functional products and processes. The process is highly iterative - parts of the process often need to be repeated many times before another can be entered - though the part(s) that get iterated and the number of such cycles in any given project may vary.

…It is a decision making process (often iterative) in which the basic sciences, mathematics, and engineering sciences are applied to convert resources optimally to meet a stated objective. Among the fundamental elements of the design process are the establishment of objectives and criteria, synthesis, analysis, construction, testing and evaluation.

The steps tend to get articulated, subdivided, and/or illustrated in different ways, but they generally reflect certain core principles regarding the underlying concepts and their respective sequence and interrelationship.

One framing of the engineering design process delineates the following stages: research, conceptualization, feasibility assessment, establishing design requirements, preliminary design, detailed design, production planning and tool design, and production. Others, noting that "different authors (in both research literature and in textbooks) define different phases of the design process with varying activities occurring within them," have suggested more simplified/generalized models - such as problem definition, conceptual design, preliminary design, detailed design, and design communication. A standard summary of the process in European engineering design literature is that of clarification of the task, conceptual design, embodiment design, detail design. In these examples, other key aspects - such as concept evaluation and prototyping - are subsets and/or extensions of one or more of the listed steps. It's also important to understand that in these as well as other articulations of the process, different terminology employed may have varying degrees of overlap, which affects what steps get stated explicitly or deemed "high level" versus subordinate in any given model.

Various stages of the design process (and even earlier) can involve a significant amount of time spent on locating information and research. Consideration should be given to the existing applicable literature, problems and successes associated with existing solutions, costs, and marketplace needs.

The source of information should be relevant, including existing solutions. Reverse engineering can be an effective technique if other solutions are available on the market. Other sources of information include the Internet, local libraries, available government documents, personal organizations, trade journals, vendor catalogs and individual experts available.



  • trigger word - a word or phrase associated with the issue at hand is stated, and subsequent words and phrases are evoked.
  • morphological analysis - independent design characteristics are listed in a chart, and different engineering solutions are proposed for each solution. Normally, a preliminary sketch and short report accompany the morphological chart.
  • synectics - the engineer imagines him or herself as the item and asks, "What would I do if I were the system?" This unconventional method of thinking may find a solution to the problem at hand. The vital aspects of the conceptualization step is synthesis. Synthesis is the process of taking the element of the concept and arranging them in the proper way. Synthesis creative process is present in every design.
  • brainstorming - this popular method involves thinking of different ideas, typically as part of a small group, and adopting these ideas in some form as a solution to the problem
  • Operating parameters
  • Operating and nonoperating environmental stimuli
  • Test requirements
  • External dimensions
  • Maintenance and testability provisions
  • Materials requirements
  • Reliability requirements
  • External surface treatment
  • Design life
  • Packaging requirements
  • External marking
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Wikipedia

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