CIRP Encyclopedia of Production Engineering

Living Edition
| Editors: The International Academy for Production Engineering, Sami Chatti, Tullio Tolio

Conceptual Design

  • Francois Christophe
  • Eric Coatanéa
  • Alain Bernard
Living reference work entry



This is a combination of tasks starting with the product design definition and modeling by using precise and neutral concepts coming from needs or ideas. This is followed by the generation of design concepts taking the different phases of the physical life cycle into account and ended by the evaluation of proposed design concepts. The analysis of the adequacy of the design concepts with the formalized needs ends these tasks. A design concept defines and describes the principles and engineering features of a system, machine, or component which is feasible and which has the potential to fulfill all the essential design requirements (Thompson 1999).

The definition selected here is the definition commonly accepted in engineering design and is different from the vision of industrial designers. The early design phase is the first phase of a design process integrating other stages such as embodiment design, detail design, production, integration, test and...

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Copyright information

© CIRP 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francois Christophe
    • 1
  • Eric Coatanéa
    • 2
  • Alain Bernard
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial SystemsTampere University of TechnologyTampereFinland
  3. 3.IRCCyN UMR CNRS 6597 – System Engineering – Products, Performances, PerceptionsEcole Centrale de NantesNantesFrance

Section editors and affiliations

  • Eric Lutters
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Twente, Faculty of Engineering Technology Laboratory of Design, Production and ManagementEnschedeThe Netherlands