Design for extremes: A contour method for defining requirements based on multivariate extremes

DS 94: Proceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Haselsteiner, Andreas F. (1); Reisenhofer, Rafael (2); Ohlendorf, Jan-Hendrik (1); Thoben, Klaus-Dieter (1)
Series: ICED
Institution: University of Bremen
Section: Design methods and tools
DOI number:
ISSN: 2220-4342


The design of various products is driven by requirements that describe extremes. In marine structural design, joint extremes of environmental variables like wave height and wind speed are used to define load cases. Similarly, in ergonomic design minimum and maximum values of anthropometric variables are considered to make sure a product is suitable for a wide range of users. Here, we present a method that supports designers to define requirements using joint extreme values: the requirements contour method. The method is based on structural engineering?s environmental contour method and uses a dataset and statistical methods to specify a region in the variable space that must be considered in the design process. That region?s enclosure is the requirements contour and holds the joint extremes. After formally describing the method, we give an illustrative example of its usage: we use it to define requirements for the design of an ergonomic handle for a power tool. The requirements contour method is a field-independent approach to design for extremes. In the tradition of design for X, we think that a design project can benefit from applying methods that focus on different 'X's.

Keywords: Design for X (DfX), Requirements, Computational design methods, Probabilistic design, Environmental contour method


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