Use of models in conceptual design

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This article investigates the use of product models by conceptual designers. After a short introduction, abstraction applied in conceptual design is described. A model that places conceptual design in a three-dimensional space is used. Applications of conceptual design from the literature are used to identify several product models used by conceptual designers to handle the complex problems. Next, the models available in four conceptual design support tools are listed. In order to investigate the current use of models by conceptual designers, a questionnaire has been designed and issued. The design and results of this questionnaire are described and analysed. The results have been discussed with conceptual designers. It is concluded that several types of models are needed for conceptual designers to cope with and structure the large amount of information. In particular, budgets are used in the very early stages of the design process. Following that, mathematical models, physical models, block diagrams, specifications, and sketches are used. computer-aided design tools are used to implement the design. Finally, steps for further research are given.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)549-562
JournalJournal of engineering design and technology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • METIS-235589
  • IR-58698
  • Conceptual design
  • Models
  • Interviews
  • Multidisciplinary cooperation
  • High tech system
  • System development

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