An Academic Design Methodology for Electrical Mobility products - from Necessity to Functional Prototype

DS 69: Proceedings of E&PDE 2011, the 13th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, London, UK, 08.-09.09.2011

Year: 2011
Editor: Kovacevic, Ahmed, Ion, William, McMahon, Chris, Buck, Lyndon and Hogarth, Peter
Author: Osorio, Gómez; Gilberto, Mejía; Gutiérrez, Ricardo; Sierra ,Zuluaga; Luis, Fernando
Series: E&PDE
Section: Design Methodology and Education 3
Page(s): 565-570


The Product Design Engineering (PDE) program at EAFIT University – Colombia has been the first in its kind at local level, searching for a good compromise between both engineering and industrial design areas, applying design methodologies focused on the triad of product, user and context and fostering manufacturing and business skills in its students. In this way, each student during his/her academic curriculum attends a project course by semester, for eight semesters, reacting to different needs, sectors and learning objectives. Students start from an identified and real need and finish with a functional prototype of a developed new and innovative product. In this way, the PDE program from its beginnings has devoted its teaching methodology to an integral education where students are concerned with different working areas of the product development process, from marketing to functional prototype construction.

This document presents an academic methodology adopted by the PDE department in its courses “Project 7” and “Project 8” where different solutions to electric mobility needs are identified and studied and functional prototypes are produced by students. Proposed methodology has been adapted from well-known design methodologies in mechanical design of products, based on functional analysis, proposed by Pahl & Beitz, Ulrich, Suh, Hubka among others. The methodology emphasizes need identification, alternatives generation, business study, engineering, representation and production. These engineering aspects are complemented with formal, ergonomic and marketing considerations often associated to industrial design and business areas.

Herein a successful case study is presented for the development of an electric-assisted bicycle. In this exercise, electrical components such as motors, controllers and batteries are available for students and they should analyze mobility problems in different market segments devoting special attention to real needs that could be considered like business opportunities for new and innovative products. These projects have been developed altogether between University and local enterprises with real transportation needs. By doing so, potential ideas can be supported by interested companies and further developments and improvements may trigger spinoff creation. Implementation of this design methodology has delivered a lot of feasible and promissory product ideas which could be developed further like industrial products for new or existent enterprises and functional prototypes have increased their quality and reliability compare to former projects of these courses.

Keywords: Academic design methodology, electrical mobility, Product Engineering


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