Carlson Manufacturing Inc.

ENGINEERING DESIGN

The Engineering Design Process is alive and well at Carlson Manufacturing, Inc.

Engineering Design

Common stages of the engineering design process

The engineering design process is a “recipe”, if you will.  It is a series of steps that can help designers formulate a plan that results in a solution that meet the needs of society.

Research

Various stages of the engineering 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. 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.
Design requirements
Establishing engineering design requirements and conducting requirement analysis, sometimes termed problem definition, is one of the most important elements in the engineering design process.  This task is often performed at the same time as a feasibility analysis. The design requirements control the design of the product or process being developed, throughout the engineering design process. These include basic things like the functions, attributes, and specifications – determined after assessing user needs. Some engineering design requirements include hardware and software parameters, maintainability, availability, and test-ability.

Feasibility

In some cases, a feasibility study is carried out, followed by a phase that uses  schedules, resource plans and estimates to aid the engineering designer. The feasibility study is an evaluation and analysis of the potential of a project to support the process of decision making. It highlights and analyzes alternative methods of achieving the desired outcome. The feasibility study narrows  the focus of the project to identify the best solutions.
The purpose of a feasibility assessment is to determine whether the engineer’s project should proceed into the design phase. This is based on two criteria: 1. Is the idea achievable?  2. What are the cost constraints?  It is critical to have engineers with experience and good judgment to be involved in this portion of the feasibility study.

Concept Generation

A concept study  is often a phase of project planning that includes producing ideas and taking into account the pros and cons of implementing those ideas. This stage of a project is done to minimize the likelihood of error, manage costs, assess risks, and evaluate the potential success of the intended project. In any event, once an engineering issue or problem is defined, potential solutions must be identified. These solutions can be found by using ideation, the mental process by which ideas are generated. In fact, this step is often termed Ideation or “Concept Generation.” The following are widely used techniques:

  • trigger word – a word or phrase associated with the issue at hand is stated, and subsequent words and phrases are evoked.

  • 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.

  • synetics – 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

Various generated ideas must then undergo a concept evaluation step, which utilizes various tools to compare and contrast the relative strengths and weakness of possible alternatives.

Preliminary design

The preliminary engineering design, or high-level design includes,  often bridges a gap between design conception and detailed design, particularly in cases where the level of conceptualization achieved during ideation is not sufficient for full evaluation. So in this task, the overall system configuration is defined, and schematics, diagrams, and layouts of the project may provide early project configuration. (This notably varies a lot by field, industry, and product.) During detailed engineering design and optimization, the parameters of the part being created will change, but the preliminary design focuses on creating the general framework to build the project on. 
S. Blanchard and J. Fabrycky describe it as: “The ‘whats’ initiating conceptual design produce ‘hows’ from the conceptual design evaluation effort applied to feasible conceptual design concepts. Next, the ‘hows’ are taken into preliminary design through the means of allocated requirements. There they become ‘whats’ and drive preliminary design to address ‘hows’ at this lower level.”

Detailed design

Next is the Detailed Design phase, which may consist of procurement of materials as well. This phase further elaborates each aspect of the project/product by complete description through solid modeling, drawings,  as well as specifications.

Design for manufacturability

Engineering Design for manufacturing (DFM) is the general engineering art of designing products in such a way that they are easy to manufacture.
Computer Aided Design (CAD) programs have made detailed design phase more efficient. For example, a CAD program can provide optimization to reduce volume without hindering a part’s quality. It can also calculate stress and displacement using the finite element method to determine stresses throughout the part.

Production planning

The production planning and tool design consists of planning how to mass produce the product and which tools should be used in the manufacturing process. Tasks to complete in this step include selecting materials, selection of the production processes, determination of the sequence of operations, and selection of tools such as jigs, fixtures, metal cutting and metal or plastics forming tools. This task also involves additional prototype testing iterations to ensure the mass-produced version meets qualification testing standards.

Engineering design is a complicated and time consuming process.  It is critical to utilize an Organization with the knowledge and experience required to help you through the process.  Engineering design is expensive, but not nearly so expensive as when it is done improperly.

Common stages of the engineering design process

The engineering design process is a “recipe”, if you will. It is a series of steps that can help designers come up with solid products that meet the needs of society.

Research

Various stages of the engineering design process can involve a significant amount of time spent on gathering information and research. Consideration should be given to the existing applicable designs, problems and successes associated with existing solutions, costs, and marketplace needs.
Where this information comes from is important.   It is the foundation the engineering design will be built on, and so it is critical the information is of good quality.  Reverse Engineering is a commone 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.
Design requirements
Establishing engineering design requirements and conducting requirement analysis, sometimes termed problem definition (or deemed a related activity), is one of the most important elements in the engineering design process, and this task is often performed at the same time as a feasibility analysis. The design requirements control the design of the product or process being developed, throughout the engineering design process. These include basic things like the functions, attributes, and specifications – determined after assessing user needs. Some engineering design requirements include hardware and software parameters, maintainability, availability, and test-ability.

Feasibility

In some cases, a feasibility study is carried out after which schedules, resource plans and estimates for the next phase are developed. The feasibility study is an evaluation and analysis of the potential of a proposed project to support the process of decision making. It outlines and analyses alternatives or methods of achieving the desired outcome. The feasibility study helps to narrow the scope of the project to identify the best scenario. A feasibility report is generated following which Post Feasibility Review is performed.
The purpose of a feasibility assessment is to determine whether the engineer’s project can proceed into the design phase. This is based on two criteria: the project needs to be based on an achievable idea, and it needs to be within cost constraints. It is important to have engineers with experience and good judgment to be involved in this portion of the feasibility study.

Concept Generation

A concept study  is often a phase of project planning that includes producing ideas and taking into account the pros and cons of implementing those ideas. This stage of a project is done to minimize the likelihood of error, manage costs, assess risks, and evaluate the potential success of the intended project. In any event, once an engineering issue or problem is defined, potential solutions must be identified. These solutions can be found by using ideation, the mental process by which ideas are generated. In fact, this step is often termed Ideation or “Concept Generation.” The following are widely used techniques:

  • trigger word – a word or phrase associated with the issue at hand is stated, and subsequent words and phrases are evoked.

  • 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.

  • synetics – an approach to problem-solving that focuses on cultivating creative thinking, often among small groups of individuals with diverse experience the engineer imagines him or herself as the item and asks, “What would I do if I were the system?”  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

Various generated ideas must then undergo a concept evaluation step, which utilizes various tools to compare and contrast the relative strengths and weakness of possible alternatives.

Preliminary design

The preliminary engineering design, or high-level design  commonly spans the gap between design conception and detailed design, particularly in cases where the level of conceptualization achieved during ideation is not sufficient for full evaluation. So in this task, the overall system configuration is defined, and schematics, diagrams, and layouts of the project may provide early project configuration. (This notably varies a lot by field, industry, and product.) During detailed engineering design and optimization, the parameters of the part being created will change, but the preliminary design focuses on creating the general framework to build the project on. 
S. Blanchard and J. Fabrycky describe it as: “The ‘whats’ initiating conceptual design produce ‘hows’ from the conceptual design evaluation effort applied to feasible conceptual design concepts. Next, the ‘hows’ are taken into preliminary design through the means of allocated requirements. There they become ‘whats’ and drive preliminary design to address ‘hows’ at this lower level.”

Detailed design

Next is the Detailed Design phase, which may consist of procurement of materials as well. This phase further elaborates each aspect of the project/product by complete description through solid modeling, drawings,  as well as specifications.

Design for manufacturability

Engineering Design for manufacturing (DFM) is the general engineering art of designing products in such a way that they are easy to manufacture.
  • Operating parameters
  • Operating and non operating environmental stimuli
  • Test requirements
  • External dimensions
  • Maintenance and testability provisions
  • Materials requirements
  • Reliability requirements
  • External surface treatment
  • Design life
  • Packaging requirements
  • External marking
Computer Aided Design (CAD) programs have made detailed design phase more efficient. For example, a CAD program can provide optimization to reduce volume without hindering a part’s quality. It can also calculate stress and displacement using the finite element method to determine stresses throughout the part.

Production planning

The production planning and tool design consists of planning how to mass produce the product and which tools should be used in the manufacturing process. Tasks to complete in this step include selecting materials, selection of the production processes, determination of the sequence of operations, and selection of tools such as jigs, fixtures, metal cutting and metal or plastics forming tools. This task also involves additional prototype testing iterations to ensure the mass-produced version meets qualification testing standards.

Engineering design is a complicated and time consuming process.  It is critical to utilize an Organization with the knowledge and experience required to help you through the process.  Engineering design is expensive, but not nearly so expensive as when it is done improperly

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