Information flow between tools early in the engineering design process

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Title: Information flow between tools early in the engineering design process
Author: Nordland, Kate
Abstract: Engineering design processes are recognized by industry as critical for successful new product development. With many existing design processes, it is unexpected that there is not a method for translating between processes. FACETS aims to become a translator between various design processes. To accomplish this, information must be entered, sorted, and displayed in several ways to communicate design intent to the user. A database schema is proposed to store the qualitative information and relationships associated with the early phases of the engineering design process. The proposed database is implemented using a MySQL database. Tools for conducting the needs assessment and concept development are implemented through a series of scripts that provide a user interface to the database. Two case studies test the appropriateness of the database schema and determine areas for further development. The scripts developed render tools for students in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering Multidisciplinary Senior Design class to facilitate navigating the early design process. These scripts will collect the customer driven needs of the project and provide tools to help translate those needs into proposed design(s) to develop further. Information is intended to flow between tools, phases and design processes. To demonstrate the information flow between customer needs and design concepts, a mapping is graphically rendered. Conclusions confirm that the database supports the information contained in the case study. Additional scripts are necessary to provide the graphical wrappers to display the information similar to the case studies. Secondary conclusions highlight a lack of literature regarding the connections between engineering specifications and product functions and the apparent inconsistencies within the quality function deployment House of Quality when implicit relationships are displayed. Recommendations for further work are presented.
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Date: 2007-07

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