A Robust Design Methodology Process
Paper in proceedings, 2014
Robust Design Methodology (RDM) has been established as an approach to design products that are reliable and have stable performance despite exposure to variation in uncontrollable factors. Research on RDM has traditionally focused on the application of various tools to support RDM. Less has been written on how RDM practices can be applied throughout a product development (PD) process. This paper presents a study of a medium-sized manufacturing company working with a Product Robustness Process (PRP). PRP is a sub-process in their PD, and focuses mainly on practices supporting RDM and the outcome in terms of increased robustness. An example of a practice is to systematically identify factors that will vary under operating conditions and affect product performance and reliability. By knowledge of such factors it is possible to take robustness into account in early PD phases. In some phases of the PRP, indications of suitable tools are given, however not as a compulsory prescription. The PRP shows how practices of RDM can be made a part of an established PD process. It also aims to focus on practices, rather than tools or techniques, to maximise RDM application. Case studies on RDM are often focusing on tools such as Design of Experiments; albeit important it is of value to consider daily RDM practices without necessarily involving a prescribed tool. This paper aims at contributing to the latter by means of a case study at a company working with a PRP for about two years. The purpose of the paper is to describe and evaluate a process for RDM practices throughout PD. The most important outcome of the PRP is that the development teams have reliased a systematic way to address quality and reliability on the agenda throughout PD.