Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

In defense of coexisting engineering meanings of function

  • Dingmar van Eck (a1) and Erik Weber (a1)

Abstract

Technical function is a key concept in engineering design. Despite the centrality of the concept, a systematic, rigorous analysis of the utility of function and its different conceptualizations is missing in the engineering design literature. This paper addresses this challenge. We investigate the utility of function and its different meanings in the following engineering design contexts: malfunction explanation, innovative design, redesign, and routine design. This analysis provides theoretical justification for the current engineering practice of accepting ambiguity of functional descriptions and for methods to translate and/or convert functional descriptions across engineering design frameworks. We show that the utility of specific meanings of function is highly task dependent, identify novel roles for functional descriptions in engineering design, and present methodological implications for translation methods for functional descriptions.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Reprint requests to: Dingmar van Eck, Department of Philosophy and Moral Science, Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science, Ghent University, Blandijnberg 2, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium. E-mail: Dingmar.vanEck@Ugent.be

References

Hide All
Albers, A., Braun, A., Clarkson, P.J., Enkler, H.G., & Wynn, D. (2009). Contact and channel modeling to support early design of technical systems, pp. 161.1–161.12. eProc. 17th Int. Conf. Engineering Design, Stanford, CA, August 24–27.
Albers, A., Braun, A., Sadowski, E., Wyatt, D., Wynn, D.C., & Clarkson, P.J. (2010). Contact and channel modeling using part and function libraries in a function-based design approach. Proc. 2010 ASME Int. Design Engineering Technical Conf., Computers and Information in Engineering Conf., Paper No. DETC2010-28481, Montreal, August 15–18.
Aurisicchio, M., Bracewell, R., & Armstrong, G. (2013). The function analysis diagram: intended benefits and coexistence with other functional models. Artificial Intelligence in Engineering, Design Analysis and Manufacturing 27(3), 249257.
Bell, J., Snooke, N., & Price, C. (2005). Functional decomposition for interpretation of model based simulation. Proc. 19th Int. Workshop on Qualitative Reasoning, QR-05, pp. 192–198, Graz, Austria, May 18–20.
Bell, J., Snooke, N., & Price, C. (2007). A language for functional interpretation of model based simulation. Advanced Engineering Informatics 21, 398409.
Bohm, M.R., & Stone, R.B. (2004). Product design support: exploring a design repository system. Proc. 2004 ASME Int. Mechanical Engineering Congr., Paper No. IMECE2004-61746, pp. 55–65, Anaheim, CA, November 13–19.
Brown, D.C., & Chandrasekaran, B. (1986). Knowledge and control of a mechanical design expert system. IEEE Computer 1(1), 92100.
Bryant, C.R., McAdams, D.A., Stone, R.B., Kurtoglu, T., & Campbell, M.I. (2006). A validation study of an automated concept generator design tool. Proc. 2006 ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conf., Computers and Information in Engineering Conf., Paper No. DETC2006-99489, pp. 1–12, Philadelphia, PA, September 10–13.
Bryant, C.R., Stone, R.B., Greer, J.L., McAdams, D.A., Kurtoglu, T., & Campbell, M.I. (2007). A function-based component ontology for systems design. Proc. Int. Conf. Engineering Design (ICED 07), pp. 478.1–478.12, Paris, July 28–31.
Chakrabarti, A. (1998). Supporting two views of function in mechanical designs. Proc. 15th National Conf. Artificial Intelligence, AAAI'98, Madison, WI, July 26–30.
Chakrabarti, A., & Bligh, T.P. (2001). A scheme for functional reasoning in conceptual design. Design Studies 22, 493517.
Chakrabarti, A., Srinivasan, V., Ranjan, B.S.C., & Lindemann, U. (2013). A case for multiple views of function in design based on a common definition. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering, Design Analysis and Manufacturing 27(3), 271279.
Chandrasekaran, B., & Josephson, J.R. (2000). Function in device representation. Engineering With Computers 16, 162177.
Deng, Y.M. (2002). Function and behavior representation in conceptual mechanical design. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering, Design Analysis and Manufacturing 16(5), 343362.
Eisenbart, B., Gericke, K., & Blessing, L. (2013). An analysis of functional modeling approaches across disciplines. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering, Design Analysis and Manufacturing 27(3), 281289.
Erden, M.S., Komoto, H., Van Beek, T.J., D'Amelio, V., Echavarria, E., & Tomiyama, T. (2008). A review of function modelling: approaches and applications. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering, Design Analysis and Manufacturing 22(2), 147169.
Gero, J.S. (1990). Design prototypes: a knowledge representation schema for design. AI Magazine 11(4), 2636.
Goel, A., & Chandrasekaran, B. (1989). Functional representation of designs and redesign problem solving. Proceedings 11th Int. Joint Conf. Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI-89), pp. 1388–1394, Detroit, MI, August.
Goel, A.K. (2013). A 30-year case study and 15 principles: implications of an artificial intelligence methodology for functional modeling. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering, Design Analysis and Manufacturing 27(3), 203215.
Goel, A.K., & Bhatta, S.R. (2004). Use of design patterns in analogy-based design. Advanced Engineering Informatics 18, 8594.
Hawkins, P.G., & Woollons, D.J. (1998). Failure modes and effects analysis of complex engineering systems using functional models. Artificial Intelligence in Engineering 12(4), 375397.
Kitamura, Y., Koji, Y., & Mizoguchi, R. (2005). An ontological model of device function: industrial deployment and lessons learned. Applied Ontology 1, 237262.
Kitamura, Y., & Mizoguchi, R. (2003). Ontology-based description of functional design knowledge and its use in a Functional Way Server. Expert Systems With Applications 24, 153166.
Kitamura, Y., & Mizoguchi, R. (2004). Ontology-based systematization of functional knowledge. Journal of Engineering Design 15(4), 327351.
Kitamura, Y., Takafuji, S., & Mizoguchi, R. (2007). Towards a reference ontology for functional knowledge interoperability. Proc. ASME 2007 Int. Design Engineering Technical Conf., Computers and Information in Engineering Conf. (IDETC/CIE), Paper No. DETC2007-35373, Las Vegas, NV, September 4–7.
Lind, M. (1994). Modeling goals and functions of complex industrial plants. Applied Artificial Intelligence 8, 259283.
Maier, J.R.A., & Fadel, G.M. (2009). Affordance based design: a relational theory for design. Research in Engineering Design 20, 1327.
Ookubo, M., Koji, Y., Sasajima, M., Kitamura, Y., & Mizoguchi, R. (2007). Towards interoperability between functional taxonomies using an ontology-based mapping. Proc. Int. Conf. Engineering Design (ICED 07), Paris, August 28–31.
Otto, K.N., & Wood, K.L. (1998). Product evolution: A reverse engineering and redesign methodology. Research in Engineering Design 10, 226243.
Otto, K.N., & Wood, K.L. (2001). Product Design: Techniques in Reverse Engineering and New Product Development. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Pahl, G., & Beitz, W. (1988). Engineering Design: A Systematic Approach. Berlin: Springer.
Pollock, J. (2006). Thinking About Acting: Logical Foundations for Rational Decision Making. New York: Oxford University Press.
Price, C.J. (1998). Function-directed electrical design analysis. Artificial Intelligence in Engineering 12(4), 445456.
Sembugamoorthy, V., & Chandrasekran, B. (1986). Functional representation of devices and compilation of diagnostic problem-solving systems. In Experience, Memory, and Reasoning (Kolodner, J., & Riesbeck, C.K., Eds.), pp. 4753. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Sen, C., & Summers, J.D. (2013). Identifying requirements for physics-based reasoning on function structure graphs. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering, Design Analysis and Manufacturing 27(3), 291299.
Sen, C., Summers, J.D., & Mocko, G.M. (2011). A protocol to formalize function verbs to support conservation-based model checking. Journal of Engineering Design 22(11–12), 765788.
Srinivasan, V., & Chakrabarti, A. (2009). SAPPhIRE: an approach to analysis and synthesis. eProc. 17th Int. Conf. Engineering Design, pp. 2.417–2.428. Stanford, CA, August 24–27.
Srinivasan, V., Chakrabarti, A., & Lindemann, U. (2012). A framework for describing functions in design. Proc. Int. Design Conference—Design 2012, pp. 1111–1121, Dubrovnik, Croatia, May 21–24.
Stone, R.B., & Chakrabarti, A. (2005). Engineering applications of representations of function: part 2. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing 19(3), 137.
Stone, R.B., & Wood, K.L. (2000). Development of a functional basis for design. Journal of Mechanical Design 122, 359370.
Tomiyama, T., van Beek, T.J., Cabrera, A.A.A., Komoto, H., & D'Amelio, V. (2013). Making function modeling practically usable. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing 27(3), 301309.
Umeda, Y., Ishii, M., Yoshioka, M., Shimomura, Y., & Tomiyama, T. (1996). Supporting conceptual design based on the function–behavior–state modeler. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing 10(4), 275288.
Van der Vegte, W., Kitamura, Y., Koji, Y., & Mizoguchi, R. (2004). Coping with unintended behavior of users and products: ontological modeling of product functionality and use. Proc. ASME 2004 Design Engineering Technical Conf. & Computers in Engineering Conf., pp. 1–10, Paper No. DETC2004-57720. Salt Lake City, UT, September 28–October 2.
van Eck, D. (2010). Explaining and relating different engineering models of functional decomposition. Proc. Design Research Society (DRS) International Conf., pp. 122.1–122.11, Montreal, July 7–9.
van Eck, D. (2011). Supporting design knowledge exchange by converting models of functional decomposition. Journal of Engineering Design 22(11–12), 839858.
van Eck, D., & Weber, E. (2014). Function ascription and explanation: elaborating an explanatory utility desideratum for ascriptions of technical functions. Erkenntnis 79, 13671389. doi:10.1007/s10670-014-9605-1
Vermaas, P.E. (2009). The flexible meaning of function in engineering. eProc. 17th Int. Conf. Engineering Design, pp. 2.113–2.124. Stanford, CA, August 24–27.
Vermaas, P.E. (2010). Technical functions: towards accepting different engineering meanings with one overall account. Proc. 8th Int. Symp. Tools and Methods of Competitive Engineering, TMCE 2010, April 12–16, Ancona, Italy, Vol. 1, pp. 183–194. Delft: Delft University of Technology.
Vermaas, P.E. (2011). Accepting ambiguity of engineering functional descriptions. eProc. 18th Int. Conf. Engineering Design, pp. 1–10. Copenhagen, Denmark, August 15–18.
Vermaas, P.E. (2013). The coexistence of engineering meanings of function: four responses and their methodological implications. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing 27(3), 191202.
Vermaas, P.E., & Eckert, C. (2013). My functional description is better! Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing 27(3), 187190.
Vermaas, P.E., Van Eck, D., & Kroes, P. (2013). The conceptual elusiveness of engineering functions: A philosophical analysis. Philosophy and Technology 26(2), 159185.

Keywords

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

In defense of coexisting engineering meanings of function

  • Dingmar van Eck (a1) and Erik Weber (a1)

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.