Engineering products and systems consist of varying numbers of components, connecting elements, and structures. The effective design and selection of these is essential for the commercial success of a product. The designer or design team must consider not only physical attributes and performance capabilities but also economic considerations. Their ability to consider these various factors and explore an optimum solution is severely frustrated by the analytically intensive and time-consuming aspects of embodying a system. This embodiment process can become complex where a large number of what can be termed standard components are included. Thus the creation of supportive methods or tools to expedite the embodiment process with these standard components is particularly important. This paper presents a number of techniques that have been generated to enable the consideration of proprietary models of standard components within an overall systems modeling approach. This modeling approach aims to support the designer during the transformation of an idea into a product or system. In particular, this paper deals with the issues concerning the representation of a system as a whole while providing for the specification and/or selection of individual components from a variety of electronic representations. The method for representing a mechanical system is summarized and the general issues of interfacing proprietary electronic representations with a systems modeling tool are discussed. An approach is developed and the process of constructing a system model, selecting electronic representations, and system resolution are described. An industrial case study is used to demonstrate the ability of the approach to embody a system in an integrated and holistic manner. This enables the development of a more refined design solution and consequently more fully informed decisions, based on actual data, to be taken earlier in the design process.

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