Morphology of design

A design project goes through a number of time phases. Morphology of design refers to the collection of these time phases. Morris Asimow was among the first to give a detailed description of the complete design process in what he called the morphology of design.The morphology of design as put forward by Morris Asimow can be elaborated as given below.

It consists of seven phases.

  1. Feasibility study
  2. Preliminary Design
  3. Detail design
  4. Planning for manufacture
  5. Planning for distribution
  6. Planning for use
  7. Planning for retirement

Phase I. Feasibility Study.

Conceptual design is the process by which the design is initiated, carried to the point of creating a number of possible solutions, and narrowed down to a single best concept. It is sometimes called the feasibility study. Conceptual design is the phase that requires the greatest creativity, involves the most uncertainty, and requires coordination among many functions in the business organisation. The purpose and activities during feasibility study are to ascertain there really exists a need [ the existence of need must be supported by necessary evidences, rather than the outcome of one’s fancy]

Search for a number of possible solutions with some basic questions.

Evaluate the solutions of those questions.

is it physically realisable?

Is it economically worthwhile?

Is it within our financial capacity?

 Phase II. Preliminary (Embodiment) Design.

This is the stage art which the concept generated in the feasibility study is carefully developed. Structured development of the design concept occurs in this engineering design phase. It is the place where flesh is placed on the skeleton of the design concept. An embodiment of all the main functions that must be performed by the product must be undertaken. It is in this design phase that decisions are made on strength, material selection, size, shape, and spatial compatibility. The important activities done at this stage are:

* Model building & testing

* Study the advantages and disadvantages of different solutions.

* Check for performance, quality strength, aesthetics etc.

Phase III: Detail Design

Its purpose is to furnish the complete engineering description of the tested product. In this phase the design is brought to the stage of a complete engineering description of a tested and producible product. Missing information is added on the arrangement, form, dimensions, tolerances, surface properties, materials, and manufacturing processes of each part. This results in a specification for each special-purpose part and for each standard part to be purchased from suppliers. Finally, complete prototype is tested.

Phase IV: Planning for manufacture

This phase includes all the production planning and control activities necessary for the manufacture of the product. A great deal of detailed planning must be done to provide for the production of the design. A method of manufacture must be established for each component in the system. As a usual fi rst step, a process sheet is created; it contains a sequential list of all manufacturing operations that must be performed on the component. Also, it specifies the form and condition of the material and the tooling and production machines that will be used. The information on the process sheet makes possible the estimation of the production cost of the component. 12 High costs may indicate the need for a change in material or a basic change in the design. Close interaction with manufacturing, industrial, materials, and mechanical engineers is important at this step.

  • Preparation of process sheet, i.e. the document containing a sequential list of manufacturing processes.
  • Specify the condition of row materials.
  • Specify tools & machine requirements.
  • Preparation of process sheet, i.e. the document containing a sequential list of manufacturing processes.
  • Specify the condition of row materials.
  • Specify tools & machine requirements.
  • Estimation of production cost.
  • Specify the requirement in the plant.
  • Planning QC systems.
  • Planning for production control.
  • Planning for information flow system etc.

Phase V: Planning for Distribution
The economic success of a design depends on the skill exercised in marketing. Hence, this phase aims at planning an effective distribution system. Important technical and business decisions must be made to provide for the effective distribution to the consumer of the products that have been produced. In the strict realm of design, the shipping package may be critical. Concepts such as the shelf life of the product may also be critical and may need to be addressed in the earlier stages of the design process.

A system of warehouses for distributing the product may have to be designed if none exists. The economic success of the design often depends on the skill exercised in marketing the product. If it is a consumer product, the sales effort is concentrated on advertising in print and video media, but highly technical products may require that the marketing step be a technical activity supported by specialised sales brochures, performance test data, and technically trained sales engineers.

Different activities of this phase are
* Designing the packing of the product.
* Planning effective and economic warehousing systems.
* Planning advertisement techniques
* Designing the product for effective distribution in the prevailing conditions.

Phase VI Planning for Consumption/use

The purpose of this phase is to incorporate in the design all necessary user- oriented features. The use of the product by the consumer is all-important, and considerations of how the consumer will react to the product pervade all steps of the design process. The following specific topics can be identified as being important user-oriented concerns in the design process: ease of maintenance, durability, reliability, product safety, convenience in use (human factors engineering), aesthetic appeal, and economy of operation. Obviously, these consumer-oriented issues must be considered in the design process at its very beginning. They are not issues to be treated as afterthoughts.

The various steps are
* Design for maintenance
* Design for reliability
* Design for convenience in use
* Design for aesthetic features
* Design for prolonged life
* Design for product improvement on the basis of service data.

Phase VII: Planning for Retirement.

This is the phase that takes into account when the product has reached the end of useful life. The final step in the design process is the disposal of the product when it has reached the end of its useful life. Useful life may be determined by actual deterioration and wear to the point at which the design can no longer function, or it may be determined by technological obsolescence, in which a competing design performs the product’s functions either better or cheaper. In consumer products, it may come about through changes in fashion or taste.
A product may retire when
* It does not function properly
* Another competitive design emerges
* Changes of taste or fashion The various steps in this phase are
* Design for several levels of use
* Design to reduce the rate of obsolescence.
* Examine service-terminated products to obtain useful information.