Date of Award


Publication Type


Degree Name



Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering


Design Complexity;Design Methodology;Multidisciplinary System Design


Waguih ElMaraghy



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Innovation drives the evolutionary solution era, where design is the anchor of its success. Product design is an iterative process of problem-solving and improvements where no matter how good a design is, it is possible to have improvements. Improving the design of a product should follow a systematic procedure to reduce the uncertainty that leads to complexity. Design framework methodology can aid in improving the design process by providing a measurable systematic approach. This research aims to form a comprehensive design framework methodology for cyber-physical products that integrate multiple disciplines. Drawing upon quantitative and qualitative literature meta-analysis, this study examines design methods, methodologies, functional complexity, and associated human factors. The proposed framework incorporates the main disciplines of mechanical, electrical, sensor, computer, and human components. Additionally, design tools such as Abstractional Design, Inter-Complexity Index, and Human Affordance are synthesized within the framework to guide designers at the conceptual level. The outcomes of this research include a multidisciplinary design framework, abstractional design method, inter-complexity index indicator, human affordance taxonomy, and product design considerations. Comprehensive case studies are utilized to showcase the research outcomes and provide tutorials on utilizing the framework and design tools. The results demonstrate that the suggested methodology significantly reduces design complexity by 23% in the case studies examined while also improving functional understanding among stakeholders during the early design phase and considering relevant human factors. Furthermore, the proposed indirect coupling solution offers unique insights that complement existing methods such as Axiomatic Design and Design Structure Matrix. This methodology represents a novel contribution to product and system design, concurrent engineering, and interdisciplinary approaches. Notably, it addresses functional intercoupling complexity, reducing complexity risk and potential failure arising from interconnected functional links. The Abstractional Design Method, which facilitates design communication and promotes uniform representation in a model-based approach, contributes to reducing design knowledge complexity. Additionally, this method can potentially extend its benefits to data technology and aid design software applications like the Digital Twin. The integration of human factors in this research acknowledges the significance of considering this aspect in system design, which is often approached separately. Doing so contributes to the body of design knowledge and paves the way for a new research and practice direction in approaching multidisciplinary systems. Overall, this research holds significant implications for designing complex multidisciplinary systems and establishing a foundation for system design standards in design communities. Given this domain's inherent challenges and risks, this research provides valuable insights and helps mitigate misunderstandings and resource limitations.

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