In this paper, we introduce a concurrent approach to preliminary system design by using a modification of Taguchi’s method of robust design. It is possible to model interactions among component concept selections and synthesis of system variables. This approach also can improve computational efficiency and provide more design knowledge for the conceptual design of complex engineering systems. This technique is effective in dealing with both discrete and continuous variables simultaneously in design. We illustrate our approach by the preliminary design of a solar powered irrigation system. The selections of critical component concepts are integrated with the determination of system variables, i.e., the thermodynamic operating parameters.

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