Campean, I., Henshall, E., and Rutter, B., "Systems Engineering Excellence Through Design: An Integrated Approach Based on Failure Mode Avoidance," SAE Int. J. Mater. Manf. 6(3):389-401, 2013, doi:10.4271/2013-01-0595.
Automotive Product Development organisations are challenged with ever increasing levels of systems complexity driven by the introduction of new technologies to address environmental concerns and enhance customer satisfaction within a highly competitive and cost conscious market. The technical difficulty associated with the engineering of complex automotive systems is compounded by the increase in sophistication of the control systems needed to manage the integration of technology packages. Most automotive systems have an electro-mechanical structure with control and software features embedded within the system. The conventional methods for design analysis and synthesis are engineering discipline focused (mechanical, electrical, electronic, control, software). Multi-disciplinary systems engineering design requires a more coherent approach to the concurrent development of systems and their integration on a functional basis, supporting the flawless delivery of customer required functions in a robust and reliable manner. This paper presents an integrated framework for multi-disciplinary systems engineering design underpinned by a Failure Mode Avoidance (FMA) process that ensures coherent information flow within the product creation process. The FMA process is based on the analysis and cascade of functional requirements and associated function failure modes, along with robust countermeasure development and effective design verification. A case study, based on the development of a diesel exhaust aftertreatment system, is used to provide an illustration of the application of this framework and the associated engineering tools that underpin the FMA process within a multi-disciplinary system design context. The case study demonstrates the integration of the FMA process with the systems engineering design and product development process flow, supporting the achievement of right first time through design. The paper also includes a reflection on the practical benefits and challenges associated with the implementation of this framework on a large scale within a PD organisation.