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Systematic Conceptualizing … A Case Study

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.526.1 - 3.526.4



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W. Ernst Eder

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

Session 2225

Systematic Conceptualizing – A Case Study

W. Ernst Eder Royal Military College of Canada


Just over a year ago, I was given a design task – a gangway for the Caravan Stage Barge. Several restrictive requirements were stated, e.g.: 0.7 m (28") wide; two lengths (3 m or 10 ft, and 6 m or 20 ft reach from barge to land) should be readily available from the unit, but maximum length for storage should be no more than 3 m (10 ft); minimum weight and thickness were desirable.

Progress on designing this gangway is shown, starting from defining the requirements, using sketches and the thoughts and discussions (with the Stage Barge personnel) that accompanied them. Relationships of these thoughts and discussions, especially during conceptualizing, to existing design theory are shown. Emphasis is placed on how the models from the Theory of Technical Systems, and the procedures from Engineering Design can be used to make designing more effective. The role of calculations based on engineering sciences is also shown. The design process was necessarily iterative, but showed many signs of systematic procedure.

The resulting gangway has been fully detailed for manufacture, and can readily be seen as the result of innovative, and even creative activity.


Just over a year ago, I was given a design task -- a gangway for the Caravan Stage Barge. This project has been under construction for four years, based on volunteer labour, many donations from companies and individuals, and highly artistic direction. The Caravan Stage Barge is a steel-hulled replica of a Thames river (London, England) cargo barge, with full sail rigging. It also contains two Diesel motors for propulsion, two Diesel motors for auxiliary power, living quarters for the actors, who also run the vessel, and full environmental waste treatment. As a main difference to the Thames barge, the former cargo space is decked over, with a raised section to give internal head-room. It has already been used for two different stagings, and many performances, of stage works written for this barge and its acting company.

One of the last tasks to be recognized was that the actors must easily and safely be able to move from the barge to the shore during a performance, and at other times. A dock-section was borrowed from a local marina for this purpose, but had to be returned before the Stage Barge left Kingston. A purpose-built gangway was desired, to be carried aboard and deployed when needed.

Eder, W. E. (1998, June), Systematic Conceptualizing … A Case Study Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--7447

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