ChE: List the steps involved in product design

The Product Design Process

Much of this course will be devoted to tools that aid in process design rather than the multidisciplinary nature of product design. Nevertheless, we will touch on product-related issues as we go.

Customer Needs

The first step in product design is identifying what needs the customer is trying to satisfy. This requires extensive communication with customers (or representative groups of potential customers). Interpreting these needs is difficult, as they may conflict! Ranking the needs allows a designer to try to develop (material) specifications from the list on needs.

Generating Ideas

The next step is to brainstorm to compile a large list of potential products to meet the previously identified specifications. Sometimes brainstorming is not enough and more "brute force" methods such as combinatorial chemistry (where one makes many candidates -- either virtually of physically -- for testing) is needed.


Once many ideas are generated, a leading candidate must be selected. In contrast to traditional commodity chemical production, here the best candidate will not necessarily be the cheapest, but instead will balance: economics, suitability for needs, and sustainability (economy of both material and energy resources).


The last step includes traditional Chemical Engineering process design, but now with a much stronger connection to the chemist and other members of the product design team.


List the steps involved in product design