The design process in many cases involves the application of mathematics, engineering, and basic sciences principles to optimally convert resources to meet specified aims. This paper discusses the design process from the perspective of mechanical engineering. Steps Involved in the Design Process Need or Problem Identification and Research In order to be able to solve an engineering or design problem, it is vital to identify the problem or need (Ullman 2009). When a design engineer fails to identify a problem or need properly, the engineer may end up wasting a lot of time and resources. In order to stick to the project goals, the mechanical engineers often rely on subjective and measurable metrics. Once the need or problem has been identified, the engineers must engage in research to establish the issue as it is currently and to establish the solutions that exist (Eide, Jenison, Mashaw and Northup 2002). By engaging in research, the engineers equip themselves to be able to come up with the best possible solution to the problem or need. The engineers must establish if there are products that have been designed to solve the same problem in the market and their advantages and disadvantages. Based on their findings, the engineers have to narrow down to what is relevant to their case. Potential Solutions The engineers often end up with a lot of information regarding products currently on the market and how they are designed. They have therefore to engage in brainstorming to come up with possible solutions and the advantages and disadvantages of each of the possible solutions (Eide, Jenison, Mashaw and Northup 2002). At this stage, the design engineer needs to think of ways of improving each of the possible solutions. The engineering designer needs to be creative in coming up with improvements to the products in the market or in designing a product that is novel. The performance of each of the possible solutions is then analyzed through the application of engineering science and mathematical principles (Eggert 2010). The analysis may be geared toward reducing risks and detecting problems that may come with the improved solutions. Best Possible Solution With several possible solutions to the problem or need, the design engineer then has to choose the solution that best meets the original requirements (Lumsdaine, Lumsdaine, and Shelnutt 1999). Making a decision regarding the solution to proceed with may be challenging and involves making the evaluation of competing needs. Some of the factors that may affect the choice of the best possible solution include cost, size, weight, and safety just to mention a few. Prototype Creation, Testing and Evaluation It would be imprudent at this stage for the engineers to proceed with the actual production of the product as designed before having it tested and evaluated. The engineers therefore need to create a prototype of the product if possible modeling in 2D and 3D using computer applications such as CAD software (Hyman 1998). The prototype is then tested and evaluated to establish if it works and meets the original design requirements and limits. Redesign The prototype may be slightly changed or improved in case of need once the prototype has been tested and evaluated. The changes or improvements are normally implemented to optimize the
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