Engineering

An Example of Probabilistic Design

Traditional engineering design employs the concept of a safety factor to prevent failure.  In this article we are going to discuss, with a simple example, how probabilistic design can be used as an alternative to safety factors. Background on Safety Factors In engineering design, uncertainties in material strength, material dimensions, and loading is often accounted …

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decision making under risk

Decision Making Under Risk and Uncertainty

Decision making under risk and uncertainty is a fact of life.  There are many ways of handling unknowns when making a decision.  We will try to enumerate the most common methods used to get information prior to decision making under risk and uncertainty.  We’ll also look at decision rules used to make the final choice.  For …

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concurrent engineering

Anecdotal Evidence for the Use of Concurrent Engineering

Concurrent engineering is the practice of including manufacturing, purchasing, service and any other personnel outside of the design team in a project.  The so-called non-designers bring their unique perspective to the project in order to make it more usable, manufacture-able, source-able  serviceable, etc.  Of course the term non-designer is not true.  Anyone with input to the project …

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Requirements questions

A List of Questions to Ask When Writing Requirements

Generating a good set of system requirements involves asking a lot of questions.  What follows is a list of requirements questions to help spur the discussion.  Questioning may take the form of interviewing stakeholders, using questionnaires, or asking questions to yourself. The list of requirements questions below can be used as a framework to develop …

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Part symmetry

Using Part Symmetry, or Lack Thereof, to Your Advantage

When designing parts for assembly, part symmetry, or lack of symmetry, can be an important factor to consider.  In this article we look at when it’s appropriate to add part symmetry, and when asymmetry is a better option. Symmetrical Parts Designing symmetrical parts, weldments, and sub-assemblies can provide advantages such as reduction of unique parts, …

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