Engineering Design Process: Definition and Steps | Education

Engineering Design Process: Definition and Steps | Education
Engineering Design Process: Definition and Steps | Education

Definition and Steps of the Engineering Design Process

The Engineering Design Process is a series of steps that engineers follow to find a solution to a problem.  Steps include problem solving processes, for example, determining your objectives and constraints, prototyping, testing and evaluating.

This process is critical to the work TWI does and is something we can provide support for.

While the design process is iterative, it follows a predetermined set of steps, some of which may need to be repeated before moving on to the next one.  This will vary depending on the project, but allows for lessons to be learned from failures and improvements to be made.

The process allows the use of applied science, mathematics and engineering science to achieve a high degree of customization to meet the requirements of an objective.  Steps include problem solving processes, for example, determining your objectives and constraints, prototyping, testing and evaluating.

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The steps in the engineering process are not always followed in sequence, but it is common for engineers to define the problem and brainstorm before creating a prototype test, which is then modified and improved until the solution is engineered.  Does not meet project requirements.  This is called repetition and is a common way of doing things.

Engineering Design Process Steps

1. Define the Problem 

What is the problem that needs solving?  Who is the design product for, and why is it important to find solutions?  What are the limits and requirements?  Regardless of what is being built, engineers need to ask these kinds of important questions.

2. Brainstorm Possible Solutions 

Good designers brainstorm possible solutions before starting a design, listing as many solutions as possible.  It is best to avoid judging the designs and instead let the ideas flow.

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3. Explore Research Ideas / Possibilities for Your Engineering Design Project

Use the experience of others to explore possibilities.  You can avoid problems others are facing by researching past projects.  You should talk to people from different backgrounds, including users or customers.  You may find some solutions you hadn't considered.

4. Establish Criteria and Constraints

After listing possible solutions and determining the needs of the project with your research, the next step is to establish factors that may be hindering your work.  This can be done by revisiting the requirements and bringing together your findings and ideas from the previous steps.

5. Consider Alternative Solutions

You may want to consider further solutions to compare possible outcomes and find the best approach.  This would involve repeating some of the earlier steps for each viable idea.

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6. Choose an Approach

Once you have assessed your various options you can determine which approach best meets your needs.  Reject people who don't meet your needs.

7. Develop a Design Proposal

After choosing your approach, the next step is to refine and improve the solution to create a design proposal.  This phase can continue throughout the duration of your project and after the product has been delivered to customers.

8. Build a Model or Prototype 

Use your design proposal to create a prototype that will allow you to test how the final product will perform.  Prototypes are often built from different materials than the final version and are usually finished to a lower standard.

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9. Testing and Evaluation 

Each prototype will need to be tested, reevaluated and improved.  Testing and evaluation allows you to see where an improvement is needed. 

10. Refine the Design

Once testing is complete, the design can be modified and improved.  This step can be repeated several times as more prototypes are built and evaluated.

11. Build the Solution

After your refinement and thorough testing, you can decide and create your finished solution.  This can take the form of a sophisticated prototype to be displayed to customers.

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12. Communicate Results

The final step is to communicate your results.  This can be in the form of a report, presentation, display board or a combination of methods.  The exhaustive documentation allows your finished product to be manufactured to the required quality standards.

Source: TWI Global, Direct News 99, Googly Market