In today's global markets the commercial success of a product, however defined, is highly dependent upon the rapid and efficient transformation of an engineering system from a design schema to a fully embodied optimal solution. The ability of the designer to achieve this is severely frustrated by the analytically intensive and time-consuming aspects of embodying a concept. This is particularly the case where standard components have to be considered. This paper presents a new modelling approach that supports the designer during the transformation of a concept to an embodied solution. This modelling approach provides for the representation of conceptual schemas and their subsequent embodiment with standard components from third-party electronic representations. The modelling strategies and associated software issues for representing a mechanical system, handling the interactions between components and incorporating the governing representations for the design and selection of individual components are discussed. The process of constructing a system model, specifying the desired performance characteristics and the process of system resolution are also described. The paper concludes with an industrial case study which is used to demonstrate the capabilities and potential of the new approach for supporting the embodiment of systems and the important task of design synthesis.