Product Design presents an in-depth study of structured design
processes and methods. In general, we have found that the exercise of a structured design process has many benefits in education and
industry. On the industrial side, a structured design process is mandatory to effectively decide what projects to bring to market,
schedule this development pipeline in a changing uncertain world,
and effectively create robust delightful products. On the educational
side, the benefits of using structured design methods include concrete experiences with hands-on products, applications of contemporary technologies, realistic and fruitful applications of applied mathematics and scientific principles, studies of systematic experimentation, exploration of the boundaries of design methodology, and decision making for real product development. These results have proven true whether at the sophomore introductory level with students of limited practice, or at the advanced graduate student level with students having years of practical design experience.
Based on these observations, this book is intended for undergraduate,
graduate, and practicing engineers. Chapter 1 of the book discusses the foundation material of product design, including our philosophy for learning and implementing product design methods. Each subsequent chapter then includes both basic and advanced techniques for particular phases of product development. Depending on the background of the reader, these methods may be understood at a rudimentary level or at a level that pushes the current frontiers of product design.
Historically, this work grew out of a partnership effort between the
authors, while we were both teaching product development courses
and carrying out research in mechanical design.We both share similar
philosophies on design, teaching, and research. Having each developed new methods in design, we were interested in transferring
these and others’ methods into practice. We also strongly wanted to
bring the excitement of the real world, both in physics and the marketplace, to the design classroom.
A fundamental premise of our teaching approach is that reverse engineering and teardowns offer a better paradigm for design instruction, permitting a modern learning cycle of experience, hypothesis, understanding, and then execution. Design instruction is no different than other domains; to learn design one should both follow this learning cycle and DO design. Reverse engineering and teardowns permit us to achieve this combined goal.We begin with a concrete product in our hands, seeing how others have designed products well, rather than rushing straight to the execution stage. With this in mind, we both independently set out to teach and successfully apply advanced methods, such as customer needs analysis, functional modeling, optimization, and designed experiments on real products.
We quickly started sharing experiences, what worked and what did not, and progressively began to string together a series of techniques and that fit naturally together.When one of us had a success, we would brag to the other, or when something failed, we’d lament together. After a bit of systematic testing, we developed the methodology presented in this book, which has proved remarkably robust when applied.