Robust Design
I.D. # C1231 Duration 2 Days

Engineers are taught to create designs that meet customer specifications. When creating these designs, the focus is usually on the nominal values rather than variation. Robustness refers to creating designs that are insensitive to variability in the inputs. Much of the literature on robustness is dedicated to experimental techniques, particularly Taguchi techniques, which advocate using experiments with replications to estimate variation. This course presents mathematical formulas based on derivatives to determine system variation based on input variation and knowledge of the engineering function. If the function is unknown, experimental techniques are presented to efficiently estimate a function.

The concept of designing for both nominal values and variability is expanded to multiple outputs and designing to minimizing costs. Traditionally, if the output variation is too large to meet requirements, the tolerances (variation) of the inputs are reduced. Using the approach presented in this course, the equations presented can be used to identify the contribution of each of the inputs to the output variation. The variation of the components with the largest contribution can be reduced which will reduce output variation. At the same time, the variation of the components contributing the least to the variation of the output can be increased which will reduce costs. A system of equations can be created that will allow an optimization routine to create a design optimized for total cost including the cost of poor quality and component cost.

Participants should bring a laptop computer for in-class exercises.

The book, ¿Probabilistic Design for Optimization and Robustness for Engineers'  by Bryan Dodson, Patrick Hammett, & Rene Klerx is included in the course materials.

Learning Objectives
By attending this seminar, you will be able to:
  • Create designs that have a minimal sensitivity to input variation
  • Reduce design costs
  • Determine which design parameters have the largest impact on variation
  • Optimize designs with multiple outputs

Who Should Attend
This course is relevant to design and manufacturing engineers, researchers and those interested in cost reduction. This methodology can link manufacturing to engineering design and help design engineering solve manufacturing problems.
Participants should have a basic familiarity with engineering design.
Seminar Content

  • Basics of Variation - unique problems facing engineers; small sample sizes and the inability to obtain random samples; techniques for overcoming these problems

  • Distributions

    • Normal, Lognormal, and Weibull

  • Process Capability

    • Measuring process capability
    • Process capability indices
    • Estimating process capability for design inputs

  • Robustness Concept

    • Statistical bias that results from input variation in a non-linear system
    • Modeling output variation
    • Circuit exercise
    • Projectile exercises

  • Simulation

    • Determining the variability of the inputs
    • Random number generators
    • Verification & validation
    • Simulation modeling


  • Minimizing the Variance of a Single Output

    • Polynomial exercise

  • Identifying Critical Parameters

    • Ranking the contribution to the output variation
    • Identifying parameters that are constrained
    • Pipe flow exercise

  • How to Model and Optimize Multiple Outputs

    • Combustion exercise

  • Adding Cost to the Design Model

    • Minimizing the total system cost including component, scrap and process costs
    • Electronics exercise

Instructor(s): Bryan Dodson

Dr. Dodson is currently the Executive Engineer for SKF. Prior to joining SKF, Dr. Dodson held the positions of Senior Director Corporate Quality & Continuous Improvement for Collins & Aikman and Associate Director of Quality & Reliability Engineering with global responsibility for Visteon. Dr. Dodson has authored several books including: The Reliability Engineering Handbook, Practical Accelerated Testing, and Weibull Analysis: with Software. Dr. Dodson has also developed several software packages including; the Training Pro Interactive Study Guides, the Reliability & Maintenance Analyst, and Measurement Assurance. Dr. Dodson served as Chair of the committee that created the International Quality Federation's Six Sigma Exam and also developed the software that delivers this state of the art exam. Dr. Dodson has published numerous articles in technical journals and teaches several courses for technical societies and as an adjunct faculty member at universities. A Fellow of SAE and ASQ, Dr. Dodson holds a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering, an M.S. in Industrial Engineering, an M.B.A., and a Doctor of Business Administration. In addition, he is a Certified Quality Engineer (CQE), a Certified Reliability Engineer (CRE), a Six Sigma Master Black Belt, and a licensed Professional Engineer in Michigan.

Fees: $1399 SAE Members: $1259


CEU 1.3