June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Design in Engineering Education
12.603.1 - 12.603.15
Enabling Probabilistic Risk Assessment Instruction During the Conceptual Design Phase: Function Based Risk Analysis
Most decisions about a product, i.e. form, function, aesthetics, etc, are made during the conceptual phase of product design. Since those decisions not only impact product performance but also product failures, methods to address the potential product failures (risks) should be initiated during this design phase, before a product has assumed physical form. This paper presents the Risk in Early Design (RED) method as the backbone of the graduate level Function Based Risk Assessment course to teach an interdisciplinary group of engineers how to use traditional PRA techniques such as failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA), fault trees, and event trees in conceptual product design. The innovative use of specific engineering taxonomies and knowledge-base failure data representation allows RED to identify product risks armed only with product function. Moreover, the engineering taxonomies used in RED drastically reduce communication issues prevalent in risk assessment due to natural language. RED provides the students with a database of expertise from which to draw their engineering knowledge in order to perform other PRA techniques successfully and in the process builds each student’s own knowledge-base, or experience, of relevant product failures.
The conceptual phase of product design is the one in which the design problem is defined and analyzed leading to concept formations. The concept formations include most decisions about a product, i.e. form, function, aesthetics, etc. These decisions made during the conceptual phase of product design impact not only product performance but also product failures. Moreover, up to 85% of the life-cycle costs of a product are determined during this design stage while only about 5% have been spent  Therefore, methods to address the potential product failures (risks) should be initiated during the conceptual design phase, before a product has assumed physical form, to maximize their chances of mitigating potential product failures while minimizing their cost of implementation.
Very little detailed information about a product, such as material type, dimensions, performance environment, etc, is available during this phase of design. This lack of information causes traditional approaches to probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) to fall short during the conceptual design phase because they require a significant amount of detailed data to be performed. Moreover, these methods also require a significant amount of expertise on the product, its systems, and its environment to identify potential failures to analyze. Often a designer, assigned to the conceptual phase of product design, is not an expert on system operation, rather the process of creating the system. Therefore, a risk assessment method that could be applied during the conceptual design phase without a significant amount of expertise is beneficial in reducing life cycle cost and preventing product failures. One such method is the Risk in Early Design (RED) method[2, 3, 4].
Grantham Lough, K., & Stone, R. (2007, June), Enabling Probabilistic Risk Assessment Instruction During The Conceptual Design Phase: Function Based Risk Analysis Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2916
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