Model-based product design using computer simulation has become a standard design practice in most companies in mechanical engineering. However, there is a need for efficient simulation tools that can provide design-supporting information already at early design phase when the most important decisions are made. Design process and design tools need to be agile and enable iterative process where the design and its requirements can effectively be iterated.

Low-fidelity models can be part of the solution for time issue in early design phase. Low-fidelity prototypes are simplified representations of functions and concepts in the virtual prototype. Axiomatic design with low-fidelity modelling approach is a promising concept for achieving design-supporting information in an efficient way. In this method, there is a linear mapping between design parameters and system characteristics. Non-linear models of the system are linearized at the nominal point. An engineering design analysis tool (EDA tool) to enhance EDA is constructed and presented in this paper.

For evaluation of the usefulness of this tool, a case study is presented. The case study deals with a simple hydraulic crane that is manufactured from steel plate. The results of the case study design are compared with results achieved with conventional CAD and FEM tools. Modelling accuracy and required modelling and simulation efforts are compared in both cases.

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