Developments based on QFD and TRIZ in a Mechanical Engineering Design Course

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International Journal of Design Education






A new course introduces modern concept-design methods to first-year mechanical engineering students at Georgia Southern University, USA. Since students at this college level do not have design experience or engineering science knowledge, the class follows a breakdown of the design process, the steps of it being sequentially applied in a student team project to develop original design concepts for a product. The focus is placed on customer needs, which the students develop by the Quality Function Deployment (QFD) technique. The QFD sequence requires students to realize first customers and their requirements, to then carry out market research for existing competing products, and generate specifications and design constraints. The employed design sequence leads first-year students to apply some classic and modern concept generation techniques (such as TRIZ) in a team project; generated concepts are then evaluated to realize a final one. As a follow-up of that project, the author has developed and teaches the use of a novel design-improvement sequence, which combines QFD and TRIZ and overcomes the contradictions between engineering specifications. Examples of student work and assessment of student learning outcomes are presented and discussed. They show that the teaching and use of the author’s QFD-TRIZ sequence successfully guide students to learn and effectively apply the TRIZ methodology.