Types of Engineering Design

Engineering design is the method of identification and solving engineering problems. Engineering design can have different forms, but they all include a common attribute: any type of engineering design is a process. The main types of engineering design are:

  • Original design, sometimes called innovative design. This form generates a novel and original concept with the goal of achieving a specific need. An original design requires a unique solution based on an invention, and it often involves introduction of new technologies that potentially have long-term consequences.
  • Adaptive design, which is a form of design where an existing engineering solution is adapted to satisfy a different need or is used for a novel application. For example, adapting the wired phone receiver and making it wireless for its use in a wireless telephone set. Further adaptive design converts the wireless phone receiver (and the phone itself) into a fully mobile version, the cell phone. Adaptive design is quite common in the engineering design.
  • Redesign, an engineering design that targets improvement of an existing design. Redesign can be used for expanding of product’s servicing capabilities and functionality, or for reduction of its manufacturing cost. Redesign can be also accomplished for changing product’s properties, while keeping its functionality and cost (sometime even increasing the latter), for example, reshaping a product for the purpose of reduction of its stress concentration.
  • Selection design. Most designs use off-the-shelf components such as gears, bearings, joints, motors, or actuators, etc., that are supplied by their manufacturers or distributors. In this design the task consists of selecting components with the needed properties, quality, performances and cost from the vendors’ catalogs. Selection design is an essential part of most of the design projects.
  • Product Design and Industrial Design. These two types of design are often confused with each other. This happens because different people, especially in different professions, interpret them in different ways.



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