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Engineering Design and CAD Relations

The Creative Process of Generating new Ideas

In engineering design, engineers have to come up with new ideas because if they stick to the same old styles people will become bored with their designs. Besides that, they have to update their skills by finding ways of applying ideas from other sources. One of the techniques that help in the creative process of generating new ideas is brainstorming. Brainstorming involves bringing designers to round table meetings and presenting them with the problem at hand. The problem could be a design that is puzzling one of them or all of them in general.

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Brainstorming can be useful in various ways because it encourages people to generate new thoughts concerning the problem at hand. Team members are supposed to act like the problem solution depends on them and they have to give it their best. The thoughts that are most likely to be provided by members are as a result of their experiences and adventures in the present and past situations.

Secondly, this technique can be used to assign priorities to various problems. Duarte (2009) argues that this is because it may not be possible for group members to solve all the problems at a go hence they should be solved based on their urgency. This means that the most urgent situations should be attended to first and the ones that can wait should be solved later on. Moreover, problems that are easier to solve or have a major impact on the group should be allocated varied priorities with those that are easier to solve being addressed after the most difficult ones have been dealt with.

Brainstorming can be used to determine which solutions are appropriate in solving the problem and the ones that cannot bring positive results. There are three elements of brainstorming and they are namely: (1) The Leader, (2) participants, and (3) Scribe. Each of the above mentioned elements should play their roles accordingly. During a brainstorming session the person who chairs the session should listen more and talk less because he/she is there as an overseer of creativity in members. It is in this regard that the chair person should give all the team members equal opportunities without being biased. This implies that every one should be allowed to share what they have in their minds with the rest of the group even if their idea sounds like nonsense. Ideas should not be limited to specific people because everyone has his/her own perspective of the problem.

When members are giving their opinions there should be one designated team member whose role is to put the suggestions into writing. The person who notes down the suggestions put forward by members is called a scriber. This is crucial because if the problem happens again the written materials can be used as reference. When points are clearly written down and stored in a hard copy or soft copy they are least likely to be distorted unlike solutions that have not been written down. Moreover, some solutions are implemented by following certain steps hence written materials can be referred to when team members do not get the expected results while implementing their solutions.

The third element comprises of the team members who are also the source of suggestions. In fact the leader can not come up with new arguments on his/her own without the members. Team members should put their egos behind and focus on the issues at hand. This is because there are some people who believe that they are the only ones who have the best solution hence they become moody when their arguments are not implemented.

Brainstorming ensures that there are many alternatives and solutions to a given problem rather than when only one or two people are supposed to generate ideas for the whole group. This technique makes people think beyond their areas of expertise. Brainstorming has two stages namely idea generation and idea reduction. At the initial stage members are allowed to present their ideas so that there are many alternatives. When the second stage commences the ideas are analyzed and trimmed according to their efficiency. Trimming ensures that only the most efficient ideas are left. Some ideas are eliminated because they require resources that could not be available at that time.

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Knowledge of Materials Properties

Engineers are very vital professionals in the construction industry because they are the ones who design the structures that we use in our daily lives. They are the people who oversee the construction of bridges and buildings among many other structures. When they are building such structures for commercial use they should exercise caution on the materials that they use.

This implies that they should have broad knowledge of the materials that are used in construction sites. This entails understanding their compositions and their behavior when exposed to certain conditions. This is because different materials have varied tolerance to aspects like heat, weight and etcetera. He/she should select the materials that are of the best quality. Some engineers consider the cost of materials rather than durability but what they forget is that when they are working with substandard materials they are putting the lives of many people at risk.

According to Ward-Harvey (2009) some engineers purchase low quality materials because they are cheap compared to high quality materials, but a keen observation reveals that what they view as cheap materials is indeed expensive because structures that are built with weak materials don’t last long and they require frequent renovations. At times engineer use appropriate materials but again they don’t use the recommended amounts because they want to save some extra money that would have been used to buy more materials.

The quality of building materials has been declining over the years because structures that were constructed a few decades ago are much stronger compared to the ones that are being put up these days. Knowledge of materials properties is important because it helps engineers determine the materials to use on their structures. For instance, metallic pipes are not suitable for conveying industrial chemicals hence they can not be installed laboratories because they may corrode.

Lack of knowledge in materials can cause huge losses to commercial project developers because the structures could collapse and lead to loss of lives which then translates to liability. Moreover, the integrity of the engineer in question will be tainted hence it will be difficult for him/her to be assigned more contracts in the future.

When the engineer is knowledgeable in materials he/she will be in a position to offer counsel to the clients as opposed to when he/she is not knowledgeable. This knowledge is also important because at times engineers are sued when buildings collapse. When they have adequate knowledge of the materials that were used in putting up the structure they can have an upper hand in defending themselves.

An engineer can avoid failures in his/her projects by testing the materials before using them in commercial structures. It is also advisable to avoid using materials that are new in the market unless their durability has been verified by relevant bodies. This is owing to the fact that some materials age very fast when they are exposed to harsh weather conditions. It is therefore important to consider environmental factors when purchasing materials. Today manufacturers have developed materials that are eco-friendly and those are some features that are considered in materials selection.

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Ergonomics refers to the conditions of work that employees are exposed to with regard to their health. It entails appropriate positioning of working equipments so that employees are comfortable when using them. When office machines are not designed to meet the various needs of employees it leads to physical strains which cause gradual injury to body organs such as neck and wrists.

When employers apply ergonomic standards in their work places it results in improved performance and productivity because when one strains he/she gets tired easily hence they have to take frequent brakes to allow their body muscles to be relieved. Moray (2005) explains that accidents are rare in work places where employers are strict on ergonomics because ignorance can lead to accidents that could have been avoided by placing office items appropriately to prevent them from being knocked down during movements. Poor ergonomics increase the expenses of employers because they have to pay for the medical bills of employees who get injured in the course of duty.

Some of the ergonomics that should be considered when establishing an office include: (1) working space; (2) sitting flexibility; (3) accessories; (4) lighting; and (5) environment. Failure to exercise these ergonomics can result in long term illnesses such as carpal tunnel syndrome which normally affects the hands.

Environment is one of the most vital areas that require good ergonomics design because it does not only affect employees but the equipments too. When lights are directly above the surface occupied by the employee they put the employee’s eyesight at risk because when this light lands on the surface of computer monitor it is reflected into the eyes of the employee and when this continues over a long period of time that particular employee will have to put spectacles on. To avoid this problem lights should be positioned at the extreme ends of the roof and they should be pale like the ones found in fluorescent tubes. Additionally, an extended plastic window panel can be fitted on the screen of the monitor in order to reduce brightness.

Computers generate a lot of heat hence computer work stations should be fitted with air conditioners to regulate room temperatures. This is because high temperatures cause people to doze at work because they accommodate positive ions that are generated by computers. In environments that are cold it is advisable to install heaters in order to caution employees from cold. Furthermore, cold weather can damage computers because some kind of mist forms inside the computer circuits and shot when the water condenses. Heaters are recommended for work places that are cold such as in refrigeration units where temperatures are very low.


Duarte, J. (2009). Social Influences in Brainstorming Groups: An overview. Norderstedt: GRIN Verlaq.

Moray, N. (2005). Ergonomics: Major Writings. New York: Routledge.

Ward-Harvey, K. (2009). Fundamental Building Materials. 4th Ed. Florida: Universal Publishers.

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