This paper proposes a new integrated optimization of a functional structure and a components layout for supporting a conceptual design. A conceptual design is the second phase of a product development, where designers build up the functional structure and the components layout of the target design object as the design concept. However, a functional design and a layout design are very different tasks, there is a lot of flexibility for decision makings during them and its solution space is vast. Therefore, it is extremely difficult for designers to build up an optimal design concept by considering various design requirements themselves. To overcome this limitation, this paper develops a new design method based on optimization techniques. This method consists of two optimizations, a functional optimization and a layout optimization, and obtains the optimal solutions by cooperatively executing two optimizations. Specifically, a functional optimization based on a GA is the main part of the proposed method and executed just one time whereas a layout optimization is executed to calculate the layout with minimum area (or volume) for each design solution for each iteration during the process of the functional optimization and the result is used as one of its valuation characteristics. Using the proposed method, designers can simultaneously obtain both the functional structure and the components layout of the target design object that satisfies performance, cost and area at a high level. To demonstrate the flow of the proposed method and confirm its effectiveness, this paper describes the case study, where internal devices of a personal computer are designed using the proposed method.

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