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What Is The Engineering Design Process?

The engineering design process is an important series of steps that engineers and designers follow to create products, solutions, and processes. The process is used in all of the work that Tresca Design does and we will utilize it while working on your project.

The steps of the process are predetermined, however, steps are often repeated or revisited depending on the project. This allows for lessons to be learned from failures and improvements to be made.

The design process applies the principles of engineering and allows for certain requirements to be met before moving on to the next step. This assures confidence in the final product since the design went through rigorous testing at each step.


1. Ask & Define

Who, what, when, where, why? Engineers will ask a lot of questions to get a better understanding of the problem and desired solution. This way you get the product you need to solve your problem!

Key Points of This Phase:

  • Who is the problem being solved for?
  • What is the problem that needs to be solved?
  • When does the solution need to be completed?
  • Where does the problem occur?
  • Why is it important to find a solution?
  • What are the limitations and requirements for the solution?


2. Imagine

Great design starts with brainstorming possible solutions to the problem. Engineers will try to think of as many possibilities before deciding to move forward in a specific direction.

Key Points of This Phase:

  • Generate possible solutions
  • Avoid judgement and critiques
  • Let the ideas flow


3. Research & Plan

Now that you have a list of possible solutions, it is time to reduce the possibilities by beginning to judge the ideas by the requirements, constraints, and outside research is done. While researching, engineers will often learn why certain ideas won’t be feasible and the list of many ideas will be brought down to a few great ideas!

Then the engineer will decide on a direction to move forward by considering factors such as manufacturability, can the project fit within the time and budget constraints, and which design is best to meet the customer requirements. A plan will be made to build a prototype and test it according to the requirements.

Key Points of This Phase:

  • Conduct research about the problem and possible solutions
  • Reduce the number of possible solutions by applying requirements and constraints
  • Select a design to move forward with and plan for this project


4. Create & Test

After a direction for the design has been chosen in the research and planning phase, the engineer must now create a model or prototype to then test to see where improvements are needed.

Key Points of This Phase:

  • Create model or prototype of design
  • Test model according to requirements and user experience
  • Understand where improvements are needed


5. Improve & Refine

Once initial testing is complete, the engineer will have data that shows where improvements are necessary. After making changes to the model or prototype, the tests will be completed again to see if the changes in design improved performance. This is an iterative process where multiple revisions are often necessary to obtain the desired results.

Key Points of This Phase:

  • Analyze test results and make plans for design improvements
  • Implement design improvements
  • Re-evaluate the design to measure if changes to design improved performance


6. Communicate Design & Consider Next Steps

Finally, now that the engineer is satisfied with the performance of the model or prototype, a final decision is made on the design’s completion of all requirements within the given constraints. Then if desired by the customer, the next steps are decided on how to move forward with manufacturing the product for larger audiences. This can include a plan to set up larger manufacturing and a purchasing plan to find suppliers for all the parts required to build the design. This can seem like an intimidating process but we are prepared to work with you through every step.

Working with a company like Tresca Design will aid you in the entire process, from start to finish. Your success is our success, from plan to product. Contact us today to see where we can help you in your engineering process. 

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