Effective practices for the concept design of electromechanical systems

Julian D Booker*, Richard J Lock, Sam J Williamson, Jon Freire Gómez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
605 Downloads (Pure)



Concept design practices in engineering are not common across industry or academia. There are a number of well-known tools and methods acknowledged as useful in facilitating concept designing, that is, to assist idea generation, aid evaluation and final selection of one winning concept from many. Combinations of these popular concept design tools and methods provide various systematic methodologies by which practitioners propose to conduct or teach concept designing. In this paper, effective practices and trends are observed through the application of a specific concept design methodology over a range of different projects in electromechanical systems design.


The concept design methodology utilised in this study has been developed through the adoption of various tools and methods shown to be beneficial to concept designing, supported by previous positive experiences and successful utilisation associated with electromechanical systems research projects in academia. Each stage of the methodology is discussed and six case studies are presented, which are used to explore effective practices for concept designing.


Analysis of the case study data reveals the most popular criteria for the selection of concepts in electromechanical systems design, the number of selection criteria and number of initial concepts ideally required to converge on a final winning concept more efficiently, that is without the need for a more detailed second stage of selection using performance metrics.


Rarely are detailed studies undertaken in concept design, first, to address the justification for the concept design methodology adopted and, second, to show how effective practices emerge through the analysis of non-subjective data over a number of concept design projects. Although the paper uses only six case studies in electromechanical systems design, it is hoped that the approach presented promotes the possible future development of a framework for verification of concept design methodologies across different products, sectors and user groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-506
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Engineering, Design and Technology
Issue number3
Early online date20 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016


  • Case studies
  • Design strategies
  • Concept design
  • Electromechanical system design and analysis


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