Engineering products are typically overdesigned relative to their minimum requirements. The amount of overdesign is described as "margin". Margin helps to ensure a product or system will operate safely and reliably despite uncertainties (e.g. in manufacture and use) and also allows a design to be more easily adapted to changing needs. Margin is therefore desirable and necessary, but at the same time, too much (or inappropriately placed) margin deteriorates design performance, for instance increasing weight and/or cost of a product.
Margin should be carefully allocated in a design to trade these desirable and undesirable effects, thereby ensuring a design is robust, reliable, and adaptable while also ensuring high performance. But in engineering practice, this is difficult because of lack of tools and techniques to analyse, visualise and communicate margin and to understand its deisrable and undesirable impacts.
Especially in managing the concurrent engineering of large scale products, it is difficult to coordinate the allocation of margin among different subsystems, disciplines and design teams involved.
A method has been recently developed at the University of Auckland to improve mechanical engineering designs by analysing design margin. This research project will build on and further develop the method, in particular, will develop practical methods and tools to help practitioners manage margin in the design and development of complex, large scale products. You will join the Design and Development Research Group where a number of PhD students are working on related topics.
To apply for this project, please submit an online application by clicking the button labelled "Visit Website" at the top of this screen. On the application form, ensure you enter the correct supervisor (DC Wynn), department (Mechanical Engineering) and project title (as above) so that your application is correctly routed. The application form will require you to upload a "Statement of Research Intent", which can be based on this advertisement text, adding your own thoughts about the project.
Applicants with excellent academic records may be eligible for a scholarship. Self funding applicants will also be considered.