Taking a look at the utilisation of function models in interdisciplinary design: Insights from ten engineering companies

Boris Eisenbart, Kilian Gericke, Lucienne T. M. Blessing

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)
    28 Downloads (Pure)


    Interdisciplinary system development requires the integration of diverse expertise to combine different engineering technologies and—increasingly often—services, in order to provide users with expected value and desired functionality in newly developed products. Failure to achieve integration of disciplines can result in design errors posing a direct threat to the users and to the company. Function modelling is expected to provide suitable means for the integration of disciplines early in the development process. However, a plethora of function models can be found within different disciplines or even across, and their divergence has proven to hamper shared, cross-disciplinary function modelling in design teams. This article presents research on function modelling in different disciplines in practice. Conducted research comprises empirical studies in ten companies developing mechatronic systems and/or Product-Service Systems in diverse market areas. The studies provide insights into the utilisation of different function models in different disciplines and across, as well as the specific needs and preferences of practicing designers regarding interdisciplinary function modelling. Finally, the obtained insights and their implications for supporting interdisciplinary function modelling are being discussed. Indications are derived which may guide future research endeavours pertaining to the development of support for collaborative, (cross-)disciplinary function modelling.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-33
    Number of pages33
    JournalResearch in Engineering Design: theory, applications, and concurrent engineering
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Function modelling
    • Interdisciplinary design
    • Empirical study
    • Conceptual design practice


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