A new paradigm in engineering design, known as set-based concurrent engineering (SBCE), has been proposed which seems to offer advantages over more traditional techniques. This research, therefore, had three goals: 1) to develop a clear understanding of the definition of SBCE and to contrast that definition with other theories, 2) to assess the “set-basedness” of the
aerospace industry, and 3) based on the assessment, to propose a model for implementing SBCE within an aerospace development project. While set-based concurrent engineering consists of a wide variety of design techniques, the basic notions can be stated in two principles: 1) engineers should consider a large number of design alternatives, i.e., sets of designs, which are gradually
narrowed to a final design, and 2) in a multidisciplinary environment, engineering specialists should independently review a design from their own perspectives, generate sets of possible solutions, and then look for regions of overlap between those sets to develop an integrated final solution. This research found that while no company’s design process completely fulfilled both of
these criteria, many set-based techniques are used within the aerospace industry. Building on some of the observed industry practices, a design process model is proposed which combines concepts from lean manufacturing, such as “flow” and “pull,” to implement set-based concurrent engineering.
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