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SystematicEngineeringDesign

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GerhardPahlandWolfgangBeitzs
TheoryofSystematicEngineeringDesign&Practice
Synopsis
Theneedforasystematicapproach
Thedesignofcomplex,complicatedorafamilyofproductsisusuallybeyondthe
intuitiveskillsaloneofadesignerordesignteam.GerhardPahlandWolfgangBeitz
[1]havesetoutastrategyforthedevelopmentofsolutionswhichaimstoincrease
theprobabilityoftechnicalandeconomicsuccessofproductdesign.Thisisdoneby
creatingadependableapproachwhichallowscarefulplanningandsystematic
executionsothatthewholedesigntaskreducestoalogicalandcomprehensible
exerciseandalsoallowsrecoveryfrominevitableerrors.Italsoallocatesatime
scheduleforthedesignstageswhichinturnleadstoapredictableproject
timetable.Systematicdesignisgeneralenoughtobeappliedinanybranchof
engineering.
Howevertheyhavenotrecommendedthatthismethodbeautomaticallyappliedto
alldesignsnorallaspectsofadesign.Workshouldneverbedonejustforthesake
ofbeingsystematicorforpedanticreasons.Thisisbecausetasksandproblems
willdifferfromproducttoproductandalsodesignerswillhavevarious
backgrounds,experience,skillandpreferences.Thereforeadesignershould
assessthesituationtheyarefacedwithandchoosetheirownappropriatemethod
foranyparticulardesignstep.Theauthorsalsodonotdiscounttheroleof
inventivenessandintuitionindevelopingsolutions.Complextasksaresolvedone
stepatatimeandineachsuchstepadesignerhastofindabalancebetweenthe
systematicandtheintuitive.Alsointuitiveinventivenessisonewaytechnicalor
economicadvantagecanbeintroducedintoproducts.

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Acknowledgements
UpdateHistory

WallaceandBlessing[2]lendsomeperspectivetosystematicdesignbynotingtwo
contrastingwaysinwhichdesigncanbeapproached.Thesystematicgenerationof
solutionssetoutbyPahlandBeitzisaproblemorientatedapproachandthisis
favouredincentralEurope.Incontrast,intheUKandtheUSA,amoreproduct
orientedapproachisevidentinwhichaninitialproductideaiscontinually
elaboratedduringthedesignprocess.

Thestepswhichmakeupsystematicdesign
PahlandBeitzdividedtheirmethodintoanumberofbroadphases,eachwithaset
ofbasicsteps.
1.Startoffwithproductplanningandaclarificationofthetask
1.1Clarifythetaskandbuildoutthespecificationandrequirements
Thespecificationaspresentedtothedesignermaynotbecomprehensiveand
oftenwillrequireclarificationandadditionalinformation.Thedesignerwillalso
needtodeterminetheclearaimswhichthesolutionneedstoachieve.Heorshe
alsoneedstobesurethattherewillbetherequisitecommercialmotivationand
intellectualstimulationtocarrythedesignthroughtofruition.Attheendofthis
phasethespecificationwillbefullydevelopedandrequirementsandconstraints
compiled.
2.Conceptualdesignphase
Beforetheconceptualdesignstageisstartedadecisionisneededastowhethera
conceptualelaborationisreallyneededorwhetherknownsolutionsallowthe
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designertoproceeddirectlytotheembodimentanddetaildesignphase.Ifnot,
thenaconceptualdesignphaseneedstobeundertaken.
2.1Abstractthetasktoidentifytheessentialproblem
Abstractingthetaskmeansdescribingitinthebroadestway.Thismakesclear
whattheoverallfunctionshouldbe.Toonarrowaviewofthetask,oraquick
prejudgedone,maywellleadthedesignerdownapathtoanonoptimumsolution
onewhichwouldultimatelydetractfromthetechnicalandeconomicsuccessofthe
product.
2.2Establishthefunctionalstructures
Thisisbothanarticulationoftheboundariesofthesolution(whatisinandoutof
thedesign)andthefunctionalwayinwhichenergy,materialandsignals
(information)flow(areprocessedorconverted)frominputtooutputtomeetthe
specification.Itinvolvesbreakingdowntheoverallfunctionintosubfunctionsuntil
thesubfunctiontaskbecomesclearandsimple.Inessence,thedevelopmentof
functionalstructuresaimstoassistindiscoveringsolutions.
2.3Searchforsolutionprinciples
Theremaybemanymeansandwaysinwhichasolutiontoasubfunctioncanbe
achievedandthedesignerseekinganoptimumtechnicalandeconomicsolutionwill
needtoelaborateawiderrangofpossiblesolutionsinordertobeabletoassess
thecomparativemeritsofeachpossibility.PahlandBeitznotethatasuccessful
solutionismorelikelytospringfromthechoiceofthemostappropriateprinciple
thananexaggeratedconcentrationonthefinerpoints.
2.4Combinethesolutionprinciplesintoconceptvariants
Thelargerproductisbuiltupfromsmallersolutionsprovingthesubfunctions.Asa
resultthereislikelytobeanumberofproductconceptsorvariantswhichcanbe
derivedinthisway.Thisdevelopmentofsolutionoptionsisthestrengthofthe
systematicapproach.
2.5Evaluationofconceptvariantsusingtechnicalandeconomiccriteria
Thedesignerneedstofirstdrawupasetofevaluationcriteriaandthenassessthe
relativemeritsofasolutionusingabottomupapproachstartingfromthesub
functionswhichmakeupeachconceptvariant.Inthiswayacomparativetechnical
andeconomicevaluationcanbebuiltupforeachconceptvariantandallowsa
decisiontobemadeastowhichparticularsolutionshouldbemanufactured.
Anadditionalpurposeofsuchanevaluationistoselectoneortwobackupsolution
which,whilenotascosteffective,couldneverthelessbedeployedinplaceofthe
firstchoiceshouldthisturnouttobenecessary.
3.Embodimentdesign
Theauthorsrealisticallypointoutthatintheembodimentdesignstage,many
detailsandwillneedtobeclarified,confirmedoroptimisedandasthisisdoneit
willbecomemoreobviouswhethertherightsolutionconcepthasbeenchosen.On
asalutarynotetheycommentthatnoembodimentdesigncanhopetocorrecta
poorsolutionconcept.Thefinalgeneralobservationisthattheendofthe
embodimentdesignistheverylatesttowhichassessmentoffinancialviabilityof
theprojectcanbeleft.
3.1Developadefinitivelayoutandcheckthattherequirementsaremet
Foreachconceptsolutionvariantthedesignerwillneedtodeterminethelayout
whichwillendupbeingthetechnicalproductorsystemandcheckthatfunction,
strengthandspatialcompatibilityrequirementsaremet.
4.Carryoutadetaildesign
4.1Detaildesign
Theexplorationofoptionsdoesnotfinishwithaconceptualsolutionbutextendsto
thephysicalrealisationoftheproducts.Againtheprincipleofsystematicdesign
shouldbeappliedtomakethechoiceofsuitablecomponents,materials,formsand
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finishes.
4.2Documentation
Detaildesignalsoincludestheproductionoffinaldesigndrawingswhichcanbe
usedtomanufacturetheproduct.Thisfirmsupeachpossibleproductconcept
solutionintoapotentiallymanufacturabledesign.Atthisstage,adesignercansay
thattheyhaveexploredallofthefactorswhichpotentiallycouldsignificantly
impactonthedesign,endingupwithoneormorepotentiallymanufacturable
designs.

Wouldallofthistaketoomuchtime?
PahlandBeitznotethatthestepswhichtheyhavedescribedinanycasewillneed
tobeexaminedatleastimplicitlyasadesignerpreparesadesign.Itistherefore
muchbettertobesystematicaboutitratherthanleavetochancewhetherornot
someaspectofthedesignhasbeenproperlycovered.

Lateredition
ThethirdEnglishlanguageeditionupdatesandexpandsthematerialcovered[3].
Alsonewchaptershavebeenaddedon:
mechanicalinterconnections,
mechatronics(integrationofmechanics,electronicsandinformationtechnology
tocreatenewandimprovedproductsandnewwaystoproduceandassemble
these),
adaptronics(adaptivestructureswithelectronicssothestructurescontinually
fulfiltheirtaskbyactivelyadaptingtodisturbancesandtochangesinloadingor
requiredfunctionality),
designingforquality,and
designingforminimumcost.

References
[1]G.PahlandW.Beitz
EngineeringDesign:ASystematicApproach
TranslatedbyArnoldPomeransandKenWallace,
EditedbyKenWallace
TheDesignCouncilLondon,1988
ISBN085072239x

OriginalGermanEdition
Konstruktionslehre:HandbuchfrStadiumundPraxis
SpringerVerlag,1977
[2]KenM.WallaceandLucinneT.M.Blessing
ObservationsonSomeGermanContributionstoEngineeringDesign:
InMemoryofProfessorWolfgangBeitz
ResearchinEngineeringDesign(2000)
[3]G.Pahl,W.Beitz,J.FeldhusenandK.H.Grote
EngineeringDesign:ASystematicApproach,ThirdEdition
TranslatorsandEditors:KenWallaceandLucinneT.M.Blessing
SpringerVerlagLondonLimited,2007
ISBN10:1846283183

Copyright2012

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Updated26June2012

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