A hierarchical exploration of how design margins enable adaptability

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nad
Author: Jacobson, Lindsey; Ferguson, Scott
Series: ICED
Institution: North Carolina State University
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 0191-0200
DOI number: https://doi.org/10.1017/pds.2023.20


Our society is built on engineered systems. Engineers are becoming increasingly concerned with the sustainability of systems, particularly their ability to adapt to a changing world. Recently, there has been increased interest in exploring how design margins provide opportunities for a system change. There have been great developments in determining how design margins can absorb change at a system level, but it is still not clear how design margins might provide change opportunities at a decision variable level. In this paper, we show how system-level margins could be deconstructed to explore what change opportunities they may provide at a decision variable level. We also investigate how the coupling of functional requirements limits how system-level margins can be operationalized. Our analysis suggests that design margins can provide meaningful change opportunities at the decision variable level, but the mechanisms that produce these opportunities are complex. These insights lay the groundwork for future research on mapping and representing design margins in the context of system adaptability.

Keywords: Product architecture, Large-scale engineering systems, Requirements, System evolvability, Margin

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