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This Brief presents a new method that is based on the author and his students’ shared experience in applying a structured procedure that has as its main goal the creation of a material selection technique that uses language and employs a platform that is not restricted to engineers. Based on a hybrid approach that exploits both traditional and semi-quantitative concepts, it moves forward step-by step, and uses a platform based on a Quality Function Deployment matrix framework. Candidate materials are screened out and finally assessed by two user-friendly graphic analysis tools, one based on the value curve of the product and the other on an original Bubble Maps tool. The Brief is written for all those whose aim is for a better understanding of how to integrate and speed up the entire product development process from the initial product concept and engineering design phases to design specs, manufacturability and product marketing with optimal choice of materials.



1. The Material Selection Strategy

Chapter 1 outlines the general principles of material selection strategy, and what happens when it is restricted to material specialists instead of being considered as a multifaceted problem managed by teams with multi-layered skills. There is an explanation of the two main approaches used in material selection strategy, the derivative and non-derivative methods, and an outline is provided of the main differences between them. Some available tools are presented.
Fabrizio D’Errico

2. Multi-Objective Optimization in Engineering Design

Chapter 2 introduces the reader to multi-objective optimization problems, namely the general approach that is used when complex problems with conflicting objectives are to be faced. This will allow the reader to become confident with the principle of how an optimal solution is to be sought in a scarcity environment where maximum utility decisions are not configurable with the best materials as far as their properties are concerned, and with the best compromises needed, which have to be made so as to compete and succeed on the market. Starting from a general overview of Quality Function Deployment, QFD - a tool historically developed at Mitsubishi's Kobe - we go on to illustrate how this has been developed for the precise purpose of screening and assessing engineering materials to maximize common "utility" as regards "choice in scarcity".
Fabrizio D’Errico

3. The Total Explicit–Implicit Approach: The Special QFD Matrix for Material Selection

Chapter 3 faces the challenge of building up a tool that can embed the advantages of both implicit and explicit methods as discussed in Chapter 1 and Chapter 2, in order to mitigate their respective drawbacks. A classroom case study is employed in order to guide and support readers in preparing multi-objective decision analysis on the choice of material among possible contenders. Readers will therefore learn step by step how to customize the QFD tool for material selection which we call QFD4Mat, and how to embed, if necessary, tools that are usually of an explicit method like material performance indices. The method is provided in the form of a graphic tool that is user-friendly and easy-to-customize for the specific problem that the reader will face no matter what his own background; material specialists, designers, procurement officers, finance advisors and CEOs are all expected to contribute in providing their own ideas for the QFD4Mat to be created for specific projects. To facilitate the reader in customizing the QFD4Mat on his own, further electronic downloadable sources are provided in a website platform here presented. The basic matrix tool, the QFD4Mat employed in the case study discussed, other accessory sub-tools (e.g. material index lists, guidelines for defining the new product development process stage designation, customizable tables for calculating cost indexes for manufacturing and the Global Material Index etc.) are uploaded. The platform contains further classroom case studies realized by postgraduate master students.
Fabrizio D’Errico

4. The Use of QFD4Mat and Graphic Tools in Product Development Processes

Chapter 4 starts by outlining the new product design process in brief, then moving toward how it is possible to use the QFD4Mat tool in order to illustrate the ways in which an efficient design proposal can be generated in the conceptual design phase. In order to aid the reader with a non-technical background in assessing the final results obtained by the QFD4Mat, this chapter also presents two graphic analysis tools, one that is well-known as the “value curve” of the product, the other an unpublished original Bubble Map tool that has been fine-tuned by intense classroom work in last three years.
Fabrizio D’Errico


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