Implementing shared function modelling in practice: Experiences in six companies developing mechatronic products and PSS

Boris Eisenbart*, Maaike Kleinsmann

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Function modelling is proposed in textbooks to support solution finding early in a development process. Although it has great potential to support the comprehensiveness and systematisation of conceptual design, it has been taken up in design practice only to a limited extent. Based on a literature review, potential barriers hampering its widespread application are discussed. A central problem revolves around the abstract nature of function modelling, which makes it difficult to apprehend the concrete benefits from its implementation. The article contributes to related research by showcasing success stories in the implementation of function modelling in six companies. The implemented models include morphological charts, use case modelling and two approaches developed in-house. The paper presents an interview study with managers and design leaders investigating the motivations and reasons leading up to the decision to newly implement function modelling in the companies. Furthermore, the paper explores the interviewees’ reflections on experiences gained while (gradually) implementing function models, the specific advantages attained, and also the challenges faced in doing so. The findings show that shared function modelling has great potential to support interdisciplinary collaboration and comprehension and to lead to a significant increase in the efficiency of the design process.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)765-798
    Number of pages34
    JournalJournal of Engineering Design
    Issue number10-12
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Functional modelling
    • interdisciplinary design
    • mechatronics
    • method introduction
    • product-service systems


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