CIRP Encyclopedia of Production Engineering

2014 Edition
| Editors: The International Academy for Production Engineering, Luc Laperrière, Gunther Reinhart

Conceptual Design

  • Francois Christophe
  • Eric Coatanea
  • Alain Bernard
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.

Presentation of the Activity

Conceptual design is the initial activity of the engineering design process according to the traditional decomposition found in several...

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Copyright information

© CIRP 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francois Christophe
    • 1
  • Eric Coatanea
    • 1
  • Alain Bernard
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Engineering Design and ProductionAalto University School of EngineeringAalto / EspooFinland
  2. 2.IRCCyN UMR CNRS 6597 – System Engineering – Products, Performances, PerceptionsEcole Centrale de NantesNantesFrance