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Mechanical Systems Design

Chapter 1:
6 Step Design Process
The 6 Step Design Process
• Step 1: Identification of
customer needs and product

• Step 2: Concept Generation

• Step 3: Concept Selection

Every industrial product design • Step 4: Concept Testing and

project goes through a standard Final Specifications

process of development, • Step 5: Raw Material

beginning with identification of Acquisition for Prototyping
needs and the final production
of a product • Step 6: Prototype
The First Step

Identification of
customer needs and
product requirements
#1 Identification of customer needs
and product requirements
• What industry is the company involved in?
• What is the aim of the company?
• The 1st step of the • What does the company hope to achieve
project would begin with the launch of the product?
• What are the current capabilities of the
with the company?
• Are they able to satisfy the full
identification of the developmental budget requirement should
customer needs. The the project be deemed feasible?

team might need to

seek to understand
profile of the
industrial sponsor to
begin off. these
#1 Identification of customer needs
and product requirements
• The product designed in question have
to be relevant to the sponsor company

• Is the company a retail based company

where end user opinions are extremely

• Or are they in the tech industry where

usability and functionality is priority?
#1 Identification of customer needs
and product requirements
• Next, we move on to the product itself,
• Does the product have to include aesthetic or FUN TICS
ergonomic designs? CTIO ?
• Also, the aims of the company and the objective of MIC
the product have to be clearly defined. S?
• Is the product meant to achieve any performance
benchmarks, and what are the most important
characteristics of the product to the company?

• Once these have been clearly defined, the team

would have to start drawing the boundaries on the
project. Is there a budget that the team have to
adhere to? Some sponsor companies can provide
additional funds/facilities to aid the team in their
developmental plan or manufacturing processes.
The team might want to consult the industry contact
for more additional information.
#1 Identification of customer needs
and product requirements
• Once these have been clearly defined,
the team would have to start drawing
the boundaries on the project.

• Is there a budget that the team have

to adhere to?

Some sponsor companies can
provide additional funds/facilities to
aid the team in their developmental
plan or manufacturing processes.
The team might want to consult the
industry contact for more additional
#2 Concept Generation
#2 Concept Generation

The second step of the developmental

process is the generation of concepts, or
also widely known as the brainstorming
stage. At this stage, the team would
brainstorm for different ideas. Each
member of the team would bring a
different proposal to the table for robust
discussion within the team to encourage
the generation of creative/innovative
design. Many successful products in
today’s world are born only after being
filtered down from a very long list of
#2 Concept Generation

The team might seek for inspiration 1. Clarification of problem?

through these methods 
2. External/Internal search for
existing solutions

3. Interview of end users

4. Consultation of experts
#2 Concept Generation
The first thing that the team
might want to answer when
generating ideas is what is the
purpose the product is
supposed to serve? Is it meant
to achieve a certain function?

Or is your product meant to

improve the performance
level of a existing product?
Once the problem has been
defined clearly, the team can
move on to the search for
#2 Concept Generation
For inspiration, the team can
perform a search externally and

For example, the team can develop

ideas based on personal
experiences and that of relatives
and friends.

An external search can be done on

the internet or an industry research
on existing solutions to the defined
problems and should these solutions
be unable to provide a satisfactory
answer, the team would either seek
to pursue a completely new design or
an improvement on the existing
#2 Concept Generation
At the end of the day, the team should not forget that the product is meant
for usage by the end-users. For example, developing new tools have to take
into consideration factors such as the education level of the users. Does it
require extensive training before safe use? Is the tool bulky and
inconvenient to use? What are the environmental factors in the field where
the tool is deployed?

#2 Concept Generation
Lastly, to ensure relevance of the
product, experts can be consulted for

An interview can be conducted offline

or online with the prevalence of
modern communication tools.

The team can consider an email

interview with relevant experts, or
should they deem it necessary, a face
to face interview could be arranged.

The team can consult their project

supervisor for contact references
should they be unable to find a
suitable expert.
#3 Concept Selection

The concept generation phase of the project will wind up with the
team having dozens of possible ideas on the table.
#3 Concept Selection
Once the team has filtered
down the large list of
possibilities to a select few, for
example 3 possible ideas,

The team can move on to a very

detailed and precise analysis of
these ideas, which is one of the
most critical phase of the
#4 Concept Testing and Final

At the 4th step of the

process, the team
would decide on the
final specifications of
the product.
#4 Concept Testing and Final
At this phase, the team Specifications
would further flesh out the
3 ideas that are selected.

The physical dimensions

of the different components
and its overall geometric
layout would be decided

It would also be a plus

should the team be able to
generate a 3D Computer
Aided Design (CAD)
model of the proposed
design using the available
modelling softwares at the
E2 computer labs.
#4 Concept Testing and Final
Physical prototype models
would be generally be created in
an industrial setting, as physical
models makes it easier for
designers to communicate their

For the purpose of this design

project however, it would be
realistic for the team to only
focus on the development of a
single working prototype, which
would then be presented to the
industry sponsor at the end of
the module.
#4 Concept Testing and Final
It is suggested that the team further scrutinize Specifications
the capabilities of each of the 3 selected
models, with help of the 3D models:

•Which would best satisfy the design


•Do the different components come together?

•Which design features lesser components?

(This would be further discussed in a later
topic, Design for Manufacturing/Assembly)

•At the end of this phase, the team would then

move on to further develop the prototype of
the product.
#5 Raw Material Component
Acquisition for Prototyping
For the purpose of the project, every team is allocated a sum of money for
purchase of materials required to develop a working model of their
product. It is expected that the teams keep within the allocated
#5 Raw Material Component
Acquisition for Prototyping
The material acquisition process would be done through a
centralized system . More information can be found on the
module website.

Do perform a check on whether the company is registered

through GEBIZ.

If they are not…

Unregistered vendors can be registered. Refer to the module
website for more information
#5 Raw Material Acquisition for
At this stage of the developmental process, the team would go
through the process of sourcing for the most affordable
vendor for their raw materials.

Should the team decide that the list of registered vendors be

unable to satisfy their selection criteria, the team might seek
to source for alternative vendors externally.

Some external search suggestions are listed on the module

#6 Prototype Development
At the final stage of the design project,
the team would engage in the
physical development of the
prototype model. FINALLY…!!!
As the amount of raw materials
available to each team is limited, it is
encouraged that the team consult
with their existing 3D CAD models to
confirm the physical dimensions

Should the team feel that they need

further advice on the manufacturing
processes, they can opt to consult
the experienced lab technicians
within the school.
#6 Prototype Development
NEED TO A list of available manufacturing
labs within NUS is provided on
the site for the student’s reference.
OUTSOURCE? Some teams might however,
encounter a situation where the
facilities required are not available
within the school itself.

The team can either consult their

industry sponsor if they are able
to support these operations.

They can also discuss with their

project supervisors the feasibility of
outsourcing the required
manufacturing operations.
#6 Prototype Development
Teams are advised to
develop a schedule to
adhere to during this phase
of the project, and to start
as soon as possible due to
the limited capacity of
manufacturing labs.

Some manufacturing labs

can only allow a maximum
of 15 personnels at any
point of time to ensure
safety of the operators and
users in the labs.
#6 Prototype Development
Safety procedures are to be strictly
followed and students are expected
to attend a compulsory safety
briefing prior to their participation in
any manufacturing activities.

Please be advised that students are

discouraged to perform any
experimental /manufacturing
activities outside of the school
compound for their own safety, and
that such activities are to be strictly
performed under supervision of an
experienced lab technician to
safeguard the well being of students.