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Creating a new product

Creating a new productHow does a great engineering idea get onto the shelves? This article talks you through some of the most important steps in the design process.

Design specification

Most engineering solutions arise out of a specific problem brought in by a client. Their problem will generally be written in a ‘design specification.’ This is generally very brief, and describes in detail the problem that the engineers should be solving.

A good design specification does not suggest how to solve the problem – that is for the engineers to decide.

Brainstorming

The brainstorming process is key to coming up with the best solution. Designers brainstorm not only how they will solve the problem, but also other things that need to be taken into account.

  • How will it work?
  • What will it look like?
  • What are the potential problems?

Research and investigation

It is important to understand the other solutions that might have been proposed for your problem. It would be a waste of time to design the same product twice! By researching other solutions you can perhaps improve on other products, or decide to start again from scratch with a new idea.

It is also important to research quality and safety, to make sure that the product can be sold. At this point designers may consult manufacturing and safety guidelines to make sure their idea is practical.

Final design solutions

The solutions that come together at the end of the process may be very different from the original ideas that were proposed or imagined at the beginning! That is OK, though. The final solution will have been influenced by research, guidelines, and calculations about whether the product will work.

A final design solution should be presented with drawings, explanations, a list of references and information sources, and extracts from data and calculations. In short, the final design solution should explain:

  • what the problem is
  • what the designed solution is
  • how it can be made
  • how the design team came to that conclusion

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