Systematic identification of representative solutions to support the concept selection phase

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Hellenbrand, David; Kain, Andreas; Lindemann, Udo
Section: Product and Systems Design
Page(s): 311-322


In the concept selection phase a high number of solutions has to be reduced to one single overall concept. The challenge of this step is to handle the resulting complexity and to ensure that a best fitting concept is chosen. One approach to support these aims is the identification of representative solutions. These representatives give a compressed overview of the solution field and can be used for a preselection. Thereby the overall number of solutions and the complexity is reduced. In case of large solution fields it is a problem for the designer to identify these representatives because there is no indication of the necessary number and abstraction level. The presented approach allows for a systematic guideline to identify a manageable number of representative solutions out of a large solution field. Therefore the pair wise similarity of all generated partial solutions is determined and represented in a matrix. A cluster analysis is applied to identify groups of solutions which base on the similar basic solution principle. Proper graphical representations support to identify representatives for each cluster which can be analyzed and evaluated in detail with reduced effort.

Keywords: Engineering design, concept selection, similarity analysis, handle complexity, DSM


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