Towards an Integrated Design Evaluation (IDE) Tool
AbstractThe ability to rapidly evaluate design ideas is an essential element in the goal to increase design productivity. Given the need for companies to produce more innovative products in an increasingly competitive market place it follows that designers have to consider an increased number of design options. Only through the generation of a relatively large number of concept design options along with a rapid and reliable means of evaluating the options will designers be able to increase design productivity whilst identifying and developing new innovative products. This provides designers with a major challenge and requires the provision of design tools and aids. These are likely to be implemented within a computer-based environment. It follows that the theoretical models underpinning them must be shown to be valid, reliable and robust. This paper identifies the evaluation activities within the conceptual phase of the engineering design process and presents theoretical models of evaluation. It then introduces a conceptual structure combining these models into an effective Integrated Design Evaluation (IDE) tool. In addition, this tool has the capacity to retrieve design cases from experience or a formal knowledge base. Two approaches, namely specification-knowledge base and design representation-knowledge base, will be discussed.
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