Axiomatic Design Software Inc.Boston

Dec. 21, 2004

Whether they are generating new designs or troubleshooting existing ones, engineers can use Acclaro axiomatic-design software to be more creative, reduce their random-search process, minimize trial and error, and determine the best design among those proposed. Developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, axiomatic design is a scientific approach that integrates customer needs into every design decision, while ensuring that each function required of the product has an independent physical solution. An underlying concept of axiomatic design is coupling, which occurs when two or more functions of the design interact with each other. Making sure that designs are uncoupled decreases the time it takes to design a product, facilitates the manufacture and assembly process, and optimizes the performance of end products. Bob Powers, president of Axiomatic, says that functional coupling in design is the "root of all evil" when it comes to problems in existing products. "If people were blowing time to market, or the design costs were too high, or if the product didn't perform the way it was supposed to, it almost always comes down to unintentional coupling between various components within the design." Acclaro software leads the designer through the process using a matrix that first identifies what the customers' needs are, then identifies what functions the product must deliver to meet those needs. The software makes it easier for designers to follow the process by filling in the matrix as they proceed through the design process, capturing the user's design decisions and the rationale behind them. When engineers focus on the functions of the design during the design process, Powers says, the company makes more money because development and manufacturing costs are lower, and warranty costs are reduced because performance is improved. John Teresko, John Sheridan, Tim Stevens, Doug Bartholomew, Patricia Panchak, Tonya Vinas, Samuel Greengard, Kristin Ohlson, and Barbara Schmitz contributed to this article.

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