Step 1. Clarify The Problem
The problem posed for this project is to create a
device capable of creating an aerogel. This design will
have many subsystems devoted to: cooling, moility,
evacuated atmosphere, sensing, and general controls.
Integration of all these subsystems into one large system
will be necessary for a successful project. A functional
decomposition of the product functions was also conducted
as a team to isolate all systems necessary to the success
of the project.
Step 2. Search Externally
Lead users of the product were consulted as to the
needs of this project. This information was then used to
develop the specifications for each subsystem and Pugh
matrices were used to decide between subsystem concepts. A
freeze drying manual from LABCONCO was also consulted as a
source of outside information. Limited benchmarking was
done against some existing products from companies such as
LABCONCO, but full tear down or further benchmarking was
inhibited by product cost.
Step 3. Search Internally
A brainstorming session was held during a team meeting
to generate concepts for evaluation and possible selection
for the product subsystems. Each team member made his own
list of proposed ideas individually for about fifteen
minutes. The group then compiled individual lists to form a
master team list and concept selection was set to begin.
Step 4. Explore Systematically
Each team member was then assigned a subsystem to
research and gain more information and specifications on.
This information was brought back to the team at the next
meeting and the team prepared to start concept selection.
From here, the Pugh selection method was used for concept
Step 5. Reflect on the Results and the Process
The concept generation process has many phases and
iterations. Sometimes it is useful to generate ideas
individually and then look at them as a team; other times
it is more beneficial to have the responsible team member
make an executive decision. Many iterations of this process
may be necessary as more information becomes available or
the project scope changes.
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