Appearance FMEA - a Method for Appearance Quality Evaluation of Early Design Concepts
Paper in proceedings, 2009
For consumer products, early design stages are often concerned with the product's industrial design, with primary focus on the consumer's product experience. At this stage, aspects such as manufacturability and robustness are often not thoroughly taken into account. Industrial design concepts not properly suited for manufacture, assembly and process variability can result in final products in which the appearance intent is not satisfactorily realized. This can have a negative impact on the customer's product quality perception. If such problems are discovered late in the product development process, late design changes and increased project costs may follow. The main difficulty in evaluating perceived quality aspects during industrial design is that the product is still under development. It is not mature enough to enable prediction of the prerequisites for achieving high manufacturing quality. In this paper, we suggest that concepts instead could be evaluated as far as the intrinsic tendency of the product appearance to support manufacturing variation and other noise factors. This is addressed through the concept of visual robustness: the ability of a product's visual appearance to stimulate the same product experience despite variety in its visual design properties. Here, a method is suggested based on the Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA). The method follows a structured procedure for addressing appearance issues.