Table of Contents
The world is changing over time. Actually, the world is moving from the ideology of systems development based on linear, logical and the capabilities of the information age. Apparently, the trend in engineering is that now there is inclination towards the ideology of the conceptual age that is founded on inventive big picture capabilities. This is one among other factors that are shaping the engineering profession. As such, more and more emphasis is being given to engineering method and designs noting that they are critical towards the development and activity that are being undertaken in the engineering field.
The engineering design process involves the definition and decomposition of the requirements. It also involves the decomposition of the design problem and the functional, physical representation and architecture of the system (Haik, Sivaloganathan & Shahin, 2015).
Notably, a global perspective as far as engineering design is concerned is quite necessary. In such an ideal case, the engineering design process is viewed from the point of the system instead of being viewed as a modular item that is isolated (Dieter & Schmidt, 2013). Apparently, open-ended system issues are depicting the industry practices. They are also noted to be a good source of choices and flexibility for students.
The design process is noted to contain 5 main processes. These are the definition, conceptual design, preliminary design, detailed design, and the design communication phase (Wasson, 2015). This particular design architecture is considered to be a high level design process (Klir, 2013). It is worth noting that the sequences of steps that are in these stages are self-contained (Pahl & Beitz, 2013). It is just the overall project that depicts a relation between the stages. The different phases relate directly only to the current phase or design process (Buede & Miller, 2016).
There is also another ideology around engineering design that gives 6 steps of engineering design. The first step is noted to be the statement of the problem (Hubka, 2015). At this step, the problem which is supposed to be solved by the system is identified. The second step involves the generation of ideas (Haik, Sivaloganathan & Shahin, 2015). At this stage different ideas that might be used to formulate the solution to the problem at hand are discusses and analyzed in order to determine which is the best.
He the third step involves the selection of a solution among the ones that have been determined as possible solutions (De Lemos et al., 2013). This selection is done from a list of solutions that have been arrived at. The selected solution is expected to meet the prepared design constraints (Aluwihare, Waite & French, 2014). It is also expected to solve the problem at hand. The fourth step involves the building of the prototype or the solution selected.
The fifth step is the evaluation step. At this step, the designed product is tested in order to determine whether it meets the system requirements that had been determined earlier on in the previous stages. At this stage, if need be, changes are made to the prototype in order to make it better (Chakrabarti, 2013). This is repeated at this stage until a desired solution is arrived at (Chakrabarti, 2013). There are times when the idea that had been implemented might simply refuse to work (Paige et al., 2017). In such cases, it is proposed that the process is taken a back to the second stage where the ideas are generated in order to come up with a new and better idea (Suthersan et al., 2016).
The last stage in the engineering design process is the presentation step. This is when the final solution or what would also be referred to as the product is presented as a complete package (Willcocks, 2013). This is done when the project team is confident that the designed solution is the best and it is a solution to the problem at hand.
There is also another engineering design method that involves some different steps or rather the process is broken down into different stages that are almost similar to a scientific method of design (Walden et al., 2015). In this method which is depicted in Figure 1 below, the first step is as the previous method which is problem definition. This is then followed by background research. Notably, this particular step is peculiar. It involves carrying out research on the problem in order to create better understanding of the issue (Campbell et al., 2016).
The third step is noted to be requirements specifications. At this stage, the requirements of the proposed solution are discussed in detail (Dick, Hull, & Jackson, 2017). This is then followed by the brainstorming session which involves the evaluation of the proposed solution as well as selection of the final solution to be implemented. Again, it is worth noting that this step is a bit different from the previous design where brainstorming and selection were in two distinct stages.
The fifth step is the development and prototyping stage. At this stage, the proposed solution is developed into a prototype (Dickerson & Mavris, 2016). This step is then followed by the testing stage where the prototype is tested. Testing is done in order to determine whether the prototype was able to meet the requirements in order to serve as a viable solution.
It is important to note that the last three stages are intertwined together to some extent. This is in case there are issues with the developed solution such as need to make changes in order to better the prototype. A decision can also be made to totally change the solution which would mean the process would have to go back to the previous steps (Wang et al., 2015). Such a situation would occur if the developed prototype is determined to lack the best solution to the issue being solved (Maher & Pu, 2014).
Once the solution is finally designed and determined to be able to provide a solution to the issue and to meet the necessary requirements, the final results/prototype is then communicated to the concerned parties (Bell, Mudge & McNamara, 2014). Notably, this design process is a bit different from the precious design. More so, in this case, more focus is accorded to different stages which are actually more than in the other design. The design seems more flexible and strategic in solution development especially for complex systems.
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Engineering Design Decisions
There are different decisions that are made in regard to engineering designs. These decisions have a great bearing on the engineering design methods and the whole process at large.
For instance, in the conceptual phase, decisions have to be made about the conceptual design. There are various types of decisions that can be made in this context. These include decisions on whether the conceptual design should be considered as well as the type of system concept that the design should be based on (Tribus, 2016). At the conceptual stage, engineering decisions have to be made on the type of technology to use in given subsystems. Also, decisions have to be made on the software and hardware to use in the process (Friedenthal, Moore & Steiner, 2014).
At the preliminary stage, the preliminary design is made and decisions on the design to undertake at the stage have to be made. At the same stage, the physical architecture to be used has to be selected (Siewiorek & Swarz, 2017). Allocation of particular functions has to be decided at this stage as well. Decisions on whether to develop a prototype or not are also made at this stage.
The Full-scale design of the proposed prototype is another critical stage where certain decisions have to be made in the design process. At this stage, decision has to be made on whether to design a full-scale solution based on the present prototypes (Siewiorek & Swarz, 2017). In this context, decisions on the configurations, detailed design, as well as system components are made.
The integration and qualification phase is also critical and involves the determination of the schedule to follow when implementing the designed solution. The processes that are undertaken at this stage include testing for issues, determination of equipment, facilities and people required to carry out the testing, as well as the determination of the level of testing effort to be assigned to each system component (Giachetti, 2016). These are critical engineering issues that have to be dealt with professionally in order to avoid future issues with the solution.
The final stage that involves much decision making in engineering design is the product refinement stage. At this phase, decisions are made on whether a product improvement should be undertaken and when this should be done (Chandrasegaran et al., 2013). Decisions on the type of technology to make use of in such cases are also made at this stage. More so, different redesigns are put into consideration and the best is selected based on the system requirements. Decisions on the type and extent of refinement to be undertaken on the current solution are also made at this stage.
The engineering design methods and processes involve key processes that determine the success of the designed solution. The design process in itself involves the definition and decomposition of the requirements. One design process is noted to contain 5 main processes that are critical towards the development of a solution. Another design process is also noted to have an almost similar process though with some different phases. However, the processes are designed such that a solution is finally designed. After it is determined to be able to provide a solution to the issue and to meet the necessary requirements, the final results/prototype is then communicated to the concerned parties. This is supported by the engineering decisions that have to be made as part of the design process.
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