Functional Trade-offs in the Mechanical Design of Integrated Products - Impact on Robustness and Optimisability

Nökkvi S. Sigurdarson*, Tobias Eifler, Martin Ebro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

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It is generally accepted in industry and academia that trade-offs between functional design objectives are an inevitable factor in the development of mechanical systems. These trade-offs can have a large influence on the achievable robustness and performance of the final design, with many products only functioning in narrow sweet-spots between different objectives. As a result, the design process of multi- functional products can be prolonged when designers concurrently attempt to find sweet-spots between a number of potentially interdependent trade-offs. This paper will show that designers only have six different approaches available when attempting to manage a trade-off while trying to ensure robustness and a sufficient performance. These fall within one of three categories; accept, optimise, or redesign. Selecting the wrong approach, can result in consequences downstream which can be difficult to predict, amongst others a lack of robustness to geometric variation, constrained performance, and long development lead time. This points to a substantial potential in the synthesis of design methods that support the identification and management of trade-offs in early product development.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)
EditorsSandro Wartzack, Benjamin Schleich
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publication date2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19) - Delft, Netherlands
Duration: 5 Aug 20198 Aug 2019


Conference22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)
SeriesProceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Design

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.


  • Robust design
  • Embodiment design
  • Optimisation
  • Design trade-offs


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