Traditional Robust Design (RD) research is heavily relying on the use of costly (virtual/ physical) experimentation strategies and the corresponding statistical analyses. As these approaches are costly and usually require detailed geometry information, traditional RD is commonly criticised for not being applicable in early phases of development.
In a new direction, the RD SIG would therefore like to bring Robust Design thinking and research into earlier stages of the design process. This includes new and pragmatic tools, which are also applicable in short iteration cycles and enable to exploit the enormous benefits of designs that are less sensitive to variation. The SIG’s key objectives include:
- to stimulate a discussion on the potential of as well as limitations for early RD consideration.
- to test out robust design tools, methods and theory on real case examples in a workshop format.
- to propose and debate a coherent RD toolbox as well as a Robust Design process.
- to share results, insights, data, etc. from empirical case studies.
The planned workshop will be structured into three subsequent parts:
1. In the first part of the workshop, the organisers will briefly present the analysis of RD-related publications at previous ICED and DESIGN conferences. Complemented by additional insights from other research communities focusing on product robustness-related research (RD, RD Optimisation, Tolerancing, etc.). The workshop thereby aims at raising the questions how important RD and adjacent research areas are for the community, and how traditional RD can benefit from a design mindset.
2. In the second and main part of the workshop, the participants will then be given an active role in a hands-on exercise related to early RD approaches for mechanical designs based on trade-off avoidance strategies. While in general, fewer assembly components imply less logistical effort and greater flexibility, the corresponding functional integration usually also implies a number of trade-offs. Trade-offs in mechanical design occur when one or more design objectives in a system cannot be improved upon without detriment to others, due to contradicting relationships to shared design parameters, and therefore come at the cost of a reduced robustness and/or require costly optimisation.
In form of a guided tutorial, the participants will be introduced how these seemingly conflicting objectives can be balanced systematically during conceptual and particularly also embodiment design. By means of guided exercises, the workshop illustrates the relevance of the underlying technical trade-offs for the later product robustness, introduces a systematic trade-off analysis, and will provide background for the successful analysis and development of integrated products in early design.
3. Based on the initially presented analysis, as well as the experiences from the hands-on exercise, the concluding open discussion will then be dedicated to laying out future RD research topics as well as future activities of the RD SIG. Expected key results of the workshop thereby include:
a. A better understanding of embodiment design decisions and their impact on robustness.
b. Discuss potentially interesting topics for future research or SIG collaboration (e.g. possibilities for joint papers, special collections, future workshops, etc.)
Tobias Eifler, Benjamin Schleich & Nökkvi Sigurdarson
Central points of contact: