Loughborough University
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When design never ends - a future scenario for product development

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conference contribution
posted on 2019-04-10, 12:29 authored by Patrick PradelPatrick Pradel, Ian Campbell, Richard Bibb
One of the foundations of product design is the separation of the design process and production (i.e. mass manufacturing). This separation manifests as designers going through a rigorous process aspiring to create fixed archetypes that are then replicated in the thousands or even millions. Today innovation and technological change are challenging this idea of a product design process that ends and hands over to manufacturing. The evolution of 3D Printing into Additive Manufacturing (AM) is challenging the notion of mass manufacture and consumer value. As AM advances in capability and capacity, the ability to economically manufacture products in low numbers with high degrees of personalisation poses questions of the accepted product development process. Removing the need for dedicated expensive tooling for mass manufacture also eliminates the cyclical timescales and commitment to fixed designs that investment in tooling demands. The ability to alter designs arbitrarily, frequently and responsively means that the traditional design process need not be applied and because of this, design processes and practice might be radically different in the future. In this paper, we explore this possible evolution by drawing parallels with the principles and development models found in software development.



  • Design

Published in

Proceedings of the Design Society: International Conference on Engineering Design






829 - 838


PRADEL, P., CAMPBELL, R.I. and BIBB, R.J., 2019. When design never ends - a future scenario for product development. Proceedings of the Design Society: International Conference on Engineering Design, 1 (1), pp.829-838.


International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED19


Cambridge University Press


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© The Authors

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.

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Delft, The Netherlands

Event dates

5th August 2019 - 8th August 2019