Modelling Technical Systems in the Early Phase: Proposing a Formal Definition for the System Concept

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nadège Troussier
Author: Albers, Albert; Hünemeyer, Sebastian; Kubin, Alexander; Pfaff, Felix; Kessler, Jakob; Reinheckel, Karl Thomas; Schlegel, Michael; Rapp, Simon
Series: ICED
Institution: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 2695-2704
DOI number:


The task of developing “concepts” is common in all fields of engineering, especially in the early phases of product development. However, an in-depth literature analysis showed that authors - often depending on different contexts in design research, education, and industry - define the term “concept” in differing ways. The aspect of reference-based development is rarely addressed in existing definitions. This indicates that there is a need for an updated and concise concept definition. In this paper, the authors propose a new definition of the term “system concept” within the context of SGE - System Generation Engineering that incorporates the findings from the literature analysis. The definition was reflected on in two case-studies. The first one contained the system concept for automotive display and operating systems, the second one the system concept for a kinesthetic-haptic VR interface. The proposed definition contains the relevant characteristics identified from the literature review and supports both current activity-based process models and reference-based development, as practical application has shown.

Keywords: Design methods, Design management, Product modelling / models, Product architecture

Please sign in to your account

This site uses cookies and other tracking technologies to assist with navigation and your ability to provide feedback, analyse your use of our products and services, assist with our promotional and marketing efforts, and provide content from third parties. Privacy Policy.