1. An Introduction to Axiomatic Design
Engineering design was transformed to scientific discipline by Suh’s discovery of the axioms. This tutorial provides a philosophical foundation for design based on axioms. It extracts the essence from Suh’s seminal book, The Principles of Design, to explain the fundamental theory of Axiomatic Design. It describes a process, which exploits the theory, to produce the best possible design solutions. The naturalness of Suh’s Axioms are discussed. Other design methods are algorithmic. They imply that a good process yields a good result, yet there is no philosophical or theoretical basis for this implication. Suh’s Axioms provide a scientific basis for evaluating the quality of a design, regardless of the process. Just as a free-body diagram is essential to the application of Newton’s Laws, an appropriate decomposition of the design problem is essential to the exploitation of axiomatic design. The hieratical decomposition process is described. In applying Axiomatic Design, design problems are decomposed into three, parallel domains: functional, physical, and process, from abstract to specific. The integration of the detailed components from the decomposition into a complete design solution, following the dictates of Suh’s Axioms, completes the tutorial.
2. Decomposition Workshop
This working session applies the relationship between the Functional and Physical domains and the Information Axiom so that the participant is able to create an acceptable design at each level of a design’s decomposition. Participants will work in groups to develop a design decomposition for a product or system of interest. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of the group members’ tone in seeking collective agreement about design decisions and the role that Axiomatic Design plays to express design thinking.
3. Teaching Axiomatic Design
Teaching Axiomatic Design (AD) is addressed as a design problem. There is a continuing societal need to design things better, faster, and cheaper. Nearly everything we encounter is designed. We are all customers and stakeholders in need of better designs. FR0 is to improve everyone’s life. DP0 is to teach everyone AD. The metric for success in teaching AD is its adaptation and use. To use AD people must be appropriately motivated, they must also have the means, and the opportunity. To be certain that AD improves life for everyone, everyone must know and practice ethics. These four items form the top-level functional decomposition: providing the means, motives, opportunities, and ethics. Two main alternative sets of DPs are discussed in the context of the people who are being taught.
An Axiomatic Design Academy is proposed to create and distribute teaching materials, and to certify competence levels of users and teachers.
First cannon of engineering ethics: Hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public.
4. Knowledge & Complexity
The concept of complexity in Axiomatic Design was introduced by Suh in 1999. Suh defines four different kinds of complexity, and introduces the understanding of ‘time dependence’. The original definition of complexity has been applied for almost twenty years. This masterclass tries to bring complexity in AD to the next level. This is possible within the original concept of complexity as it was defined in 1999 by Suh. Mainly the concept of ‘imaginary complexity’, that originates from ‘a lack of knowledge and understanding of the design by the designer’ will be investigated. This is done by returning to the ‘Theory of Information’ as introduced by Shannon. Shannons theory of information appears to provide room for expansion of the definition of complexity in AD. This enables the application of Information not only for the Information Axiom, but also for the Independence Axiom.
5. Adapt! A Holistic Approach to design changeable assembly units
Adapt! is a novel approach using Axiomatic Design Theory combined with Scrum, the agile project management framework, to create a structured product design and development process. The Adapt! method was developed and tested in the automotive industry. The method starts with an assessment of how much changeability is required. Following, the design phase commences with Axiomatic Design. The design phase is iterative and includes an in-house communication strategy between involved departments. The results of the decomposition process are then used to formulate work packages for the Scrum team. At this point the Scrum team takes over the development enabling agility and adaptability throughout the development.