This paper presents the findings of a study conducted to explore how structural design unfolds in industrial design engineering processes. The study focused specifically on structural design of engineering consumer products with physical constructions. The investigation conducted included questionnaire surveys, interviews, and observations. A total of 358 subjects participated in two rounds of the investigation. The study uncovered how structural design in the context of industrial design engineering progresses in practical settings and provided clues on how a formal structural design process model should be like. One of the main observations was that the subjects chose and strictly followed and adhered to their own preferred structured order of execution of structural design activities. Another cardinal observation was that, unlike analysis and concepts development activities, the structural design activities of materials selection, engineering analysis, and process selection were executed recursively and oftentimes concurrently by most of the subjects. Based on these observations and upon an analysis of the information gathered, a linearrecursive-linear (LRL) scheme for tracking, managing, and coordinating the execution of structural design activities has been formulated. Separate studies are, however, needed to investigate the validity, efficacy, and the applicability of this scheme.
- engineering design
- industrial design engineering
- process models
- product development
- structural design