Different function breakdowns for one existing product: experimental results

Alink, Thomas; Eckert, Claudia; Ruckpaul, Anne and Albers, Albert (2010). Different function breakdowns for one existing product: experimental results. In: Design Computing and Cognition (DCC'10), Jul 2010, Stuttgart, Germany.

Abstract

This paper describes the findings of an experiment on how different engi-neers understand the notions of function and functional breakdown in the context of design by modification. The experiment was conducted with a homogenous group of 20 design engineers, who had all received the same education. The subjects were asked to analyze how a hydraulic pump works and summarize their understanding in a function tree. The subjects were given either the hydraulic pump itself (with part of its casing re-moved), or a maintenance drawing that showed a section cut of the pump. This paper shows typical outputs of the designers and discusses the differ-ences between the subjects’ approaches and resulting function trees; and points to typical mistakes the subjects made.

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