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Creative Concept Convergence Tools For Use In The Product Development Stage Of Dfm/A

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



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Page Numbers

2.121.1 - 2.121.10

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B. Lee Tuttle

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2563

Creative Concept Convergence Tools for Use in the Product Development Stage of DFM/A

B. Lee Tuttle GMI Engineering & Management Institute Flint, MI 48504

Many engineers have embraced a rekindling of the creative thinking ( Divergent Thinking ) skills were prevalent during the era of Value Engineering. However, once 50 - 75 concept ideas have been developed at the concept level most engineers have few if any concept Convergence tools. Although many engineers implementing concepts of DFM/A have adopted the PUGH Concept Selection Tool, this tool should be employed in the latter stages of concept compression. The process of screening all the ideas developed in a good Creative Concept development session will usually employ three stages. First, the ideas should be sorted into similar expressions of the same basic concept using a SORT tool. The ideas should then be COMPRESSED into a few functional categories. Lastly, the top concepts should be SELECTED from the remaining ideas using one of the two selecting tools, the Pugh Concept Selection Matrix ( PUGH ) or the Paired Comparison Analysis Matrix ( PCA ). The mechanics of each concept compression tool will be developed and explained with a product concept convergence exercise.

ENHANCEMENT OF DIVERGENT THINKING: In the past few years there has been considerable interest in rekindling the creative spirit of engineers, particularly in courses entitled Design for Manufacturability and Assemblability (or some variation of that theme). Engineering students are learning some divergent thinking tools in DFM/A courses, engineering creativity courses, and product realization courses. A student engineer can now generate 10 - 50 methods ( mechanisms) to accomplish a product function. However, they are not being given any tools to sift through the ideas with finer and finer sorting screens until they have a small number of potential product concepts. When the engineer has only 5 - 15 concepts, then he can use a selection tool such as the PUGH concept selection matrix to choose the final product concept to bring to market. However, the existence of more than 15 potential product ideas requires the use of soft compression tools to avoid the tedious or casual application of a PUGH concept selection tool. COMPRESSING PRODUCT CONCEPTS: A DFM/A team that has completed a successful concept generation session will have 20 - 50 potential concepts to accomplish the function of the product. A detailed selection matrix with 10 - 20 criteria would be a very tedious task for this many ideas. Since the judgmental brain was shut down during the concept generation forum to stimulate the generation of ideas, some or many of the ideas will be novel, wacky and off beat ideas. Once the engineer has replaced the joker’s cap with the mortar board of the analytical engineer, then he can begin the convergent thinking process. The analytical mind of the engineer will immediately see that some of the new

Tuttle, B. L. (1997, June), Creative Concept Convergence Tools For Use In The Product Development Stage Of Dfm/A Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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