Product and Service Design
The product-design process consists of designing products that perform required functions and satisfy customer requirements. The product-design process is highly developed because it is the focus of mechanical (and civil, aeronautical, and automotive) engineering. Most product designers hold degrees in mechanical engineering unless they are designing public infrastructure (civil engineering), automobiles (automotive engineering), or aircraft (aeronautical engineering). These engineering fields provide the theories that are applied in designing new products. There are also numerous computer-aided technologies available to aid the product-design process. The tools used in the product-design process include function analysis (also known as value engineering), computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided engineering (CAE), computer-aided process planning (CAPP), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), and quality function deployment (QFD).
In function analysis, the functions performed by products are expressed using a two-word verbal model consisting of a verb and a noun. For example, modern toasters use infrared radiation to toast bread. The most common way to create infrared radiation is to apply power to nichrome wire wrapped back and forth across a mica sheet. Thus, functions performed by a toaster include: “toast bread,” “create radiation,” and “power nichrome.”
The many functions performed by a product are organized using a function diagram. Moving from left to right, the functions explain how higher-level functions are performed. Moving from right to left, the functions explain why lower-level functions are performed:
How? -----> <-----Why? Toast bread -----------------------------Create radiation-------------------------------Power nichrome
Mechanical engineers (among others) are taught how to design products to perform required functions. Hence, the product-design process might begin by giving the designer the functions the product must perform.
Function analysis can also be used as a means of fostering creativity and innovation. This is done by identifying the functions performed by an existing product and perhaps organizing some or all of them into a function diagram. The designer is then given only the functions (or function diagram) and is told to design a product that performs these functions. By abstracting the physical product using function analysis, the designer is freed to come up with entirely new ways of performing the required functions. Conversely, if a designer is given the existing physical product (such as a toaster), and told to design a new toaster, the result is likely to be only an incremental improvement.
Function analysis was particularly popular during World War II when it was known as value engineering. Material shortages were commonplace during the war because most of the nation’s resources were dedicated to the war effort. Consequently, engineers used value engineering to reduce product costs and resource requirements. The engineering or design problem was to perform required functions using less resources, and particularly fewer resources that were in short supply.
Once World War II ended, and the material shortages were relieved, value engineering fell out of use. Its real benefit today is providing a very clever means of fostering design creativity and innovation. CAD, CAE, CAPP, CAM, and Rapid Prototyping
Computer integrated manufacturing consists of computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided engineering (CAE), rapid prototyping, computer-aided process planning (CAPP), and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM).
Computer-aided design (CAD) is a three-dimensional computer drawing program used to draw new products. The product is drawn in three…