Change Prediction for Product Redesign


Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Engineering Design:
Design Management - Process and Information Issues

Professional Engineering Publishing, Glasgow, 2001, pp. 577-584.

Introduction. Product redesign is common in many industry sectors, for example in automotive and aerospace, where 'new' products are derived from earlier designs as a means to maintaining product quality whilst reducing design and production lead time. However, the redesign of such complex products is seldom straightforward and can be effected by the propagation of changes - a small initial change can instigate numerous other changes, possibly having serious cost implications. Despite this risk, industry currently lacks a clear approach for predicting and representing change propagation [1] and is dependent on the past experience of product experts to minimise its effect.

The aim of this research is to reduce unexpected change propagation in product design. The objectives of the work reported in this paper were to explore the scale of change propagation in aerospace design and to develop an approach for predicting the effects of change propagation in redesign. A computer tool has been developed to support this approach accompanied by an efficient format for representing such information.

Keywords: Change processes, design management, risk analysis and management.

Claudia Eckert
The Design Group
Department of Design, Development,
    Environment and Materials
Faculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology
The Open University
Milton Keynes MK7 6AA
United Kingdom

John Clarkson
Engineering Design Centre
Department of Engineering
University of Cambridge
Trumpington Street
Cambridge CB2 1PZ
United Kingdom