Time pressure imposed to the engineering design process is one fundamental constraint pushing engineers to rush into known solutions, to avoid analysing properly the environment of a design problem, to avoid modelling design problems and to take decision based on isolated evidences. Early phases in particular have to be kept short despite the large impact of decisions taken at this stage. Significant efforts are currently spent within different engineering communities to develop a model-based design approach adapted to conceptual stages. Developing such type of models is also challenging due to the fuzziness of the information and due to the complexity of the concepts and processes manipulated at this stage. Currently few support tools are really capable of really supporting an analysis of the early design concepts and architectures. Simultaneously the approach should be fast, easy to use and should provide a real added-value to efficiently support the decision and the design process. The present article is presenting a framework based on a progressive transformation of the design concepts. The final material generated by this transformation process is an oriented graph with different types of classified variables. This graph can be processed as described in the article to automatically exhibit the conflicts or contradictions present in the design concept architecture. The article is proposing two main contributions which are a real move toward model development at conceptual stage and the possibility to process those models to detect solution weaknesses. The discussion is presenting further developments and possibilities associated with this method.
- Jufo-taso 1
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