Methodology for the Integration of Economic, Environmental and Functional Issues in Complex Product Design

  • Claus Arno Grote

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This research evaluates the problems that design engineers face when trying to include environmental issues in product design without jeopardizing other design issues. A thorough review of current literature, tools and methodologies on the topic is given whilst their gaps and shortcomings are revealed and the need for a new methodology is formulated. This sets the starting point for the research and the development carried out during this research.

    A methodology is proposed in this thesis that helps manufacturers of complex products apply the Eco-Design principle and the whole life cycle approach without compromising the economic performance of their products. On one hand the primary objective outlined for the methodology is to include three different issues in product design: economic impact, environmental impact and functional issues whilst avoiding a trade-off. On the other hand, since the methodology is applicable to complex products, the secondary objective is to align and integrate two separate issues: alignment of the design process progress and the product hierarchy. In order to achieve those objectives existing design tools, such as the TRIZ (Theory of Inventive Problem Solving) matrix and the DfX (Design for X) method, are integrated.

    Furthermore a computer support tool in the form of a user interface is developed that is based on the theoretical framework of the methodology. This user interface allows for a quick analysis of a product and the production of design suggestions in order to enhance the product characteristics.

    The validation of the research is presented through examples and the application of case studies of different products. This case study approach helps to develop and apply findings during the methodology development and validate the functionality and flexibility of the proposed methodology.

    Areas of future work which can help increase the knowledge base, scope and applicability of the work carried out are identified.
    Date of Award2008
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University

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