Analysis and Optimization Tool for Engineering Design
Díez Gutiérrez, Adrián J.
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The main objective of this thesis is to assists the engineers with the early phases of an engineering design by providing them with the necessary tools to analyze and optimize the design. For this purpose a Design Analysis Tool, DA Tool, with various features has being developed. This DA Tool has been programmed in Visual Basic for Applications, VBA, on a Microsoft Office Excel environment. Engineering deals with design of complex systems, thus analyses are so essential. With the analysis results this Tool provides, the designer will be able to shorten the lead-time for new products, lower the manufacturing cost, improve the reliability and quality of the products and efficiently satisfy the required functions. The DA Tool primary features are: Analysis and Optimization. The analysis follows the Sensitivity Analysis method, an excellent approach to study the relationship between design parameters and system characteristics. This low-fidelity method could complement high-fidelity ones, such as Simulink/Matlab software, or even replace them on early-design phases since they would save an enormous quantity of time, consequently money, and its results are accurate enough. An algorithm making use of the Solver function of Excel has been developed for the optimization process. This iterative mechanism seeks the optimum value for the major design parameters, with regard to the system requirements criteria, from a set of available alternatives. Two models have been analyzed with the DA Tool; an electric vehicle and a portable motion platform. The obtained results give a great overview of the design; showing the critical parts of the system, which need more attention as well as the range of magnitudes of the values for the different parameters. For further development, it would be interesting the implementation of these functionalities in a more advance design software to complement it. Additionally, the study of the performance of this DA Tool in the design process of a new product, in a real company, measuring how much time and money does it save when compared to other more complex methods, would be something worth considering.