Single-Course English 5 ECTS

Robust design of products and mechanisms

Overall Course Objectives

Robust Design is a paradigm that aims to improve the quality and reliability of a design. Products are exerted to geometrical variation stemming from production tolerances, temperature changes, load conditions, etc. If design is robust, it means that the variance will not have a large impact on functionality or the quality of the product. However, if the design is not robust (sensitive) it could lead to the product not functioning, the product not being able to be assembled, high rejection rates during production, reduced quality for the user, product failures and in some cases product recalls and even fatalities. The typical strategy to deal with variance has been to tighten production tolerances to reduce variance, however this comes at great cost in terms of time, money and resources. By using the robust design methodology you will learn how to reduce the sensitivity of your designs and to not pass on difficult and costly tolerances and process requirements to the production team.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the potential of product robustness and its relationship to variation in the life cycle of mechanical products (with respect to function, reliability, production costs, etc.).
  • Explain the challenges of turning a product idea to a functional and producible product (with respect to design of layout, interfaces, geometries, etc.).
  • Apply design principles and methods to reduce the complexity and sensitivity of mechanisms and products, hence to increase their robustness.
  • Apply quantitative methods and software tools for the specification of tolerances, the calculation of process capabilities, the prediction of failure rates, etc.
  • Use the taught methods for an analysis of real-life cases from engineering practice and evaluate their applicability.
  • Reflect on the taught methods as part of an overall design process.
  • Select and apply the most appropriate methods for conducting a full Robust Design analysis (including the documentation and presentation of results in form of short reports).
  • Review and evaluate one’s own Robust Design analysis and give feedback on the results of others.

Course Content

The course introduces the participants to the field of Robust Design (RD) by providing a basic RD toolbox that allows for an analysis of variation effects already in product development and for the design of robust products. Based on an introduction to basic RD theory and strategies, the course covers an overview of design approaches (Module 1: Mobility equations / Variation Reduction principles / Axiomatic Design / Kinematic principles for systems and interfaces / etc.) as well as an introduction to tolerance analysis and Engineering statistics (Module 2: Statistical tolerancing / Sensitivity studies / Process Capability indices / etc.). Each of the modules is complemented by a hands-on workshop session where the participants are provided with a physical case example to try out and test the methods they have been introduced to. Furthermore, the course usually features 1-2 guest talks from industry delegates to illustrate the relevance of RD for both large as well as small and medium sized companies.

Recommended prerequisites

41612, Product Design and Documentation

Teaching Method

Lectures, exercises and workshops.


Primarily for students enrolled in the following Master programmes: Mechanical Engineering and Design & Innovation.

See course in the course database.





13 weeks


DTU Lyngby Campus

Course code 41635
Course type Candidate
Semester start Week 5
Semester end Week 19
Days Thurs 13-17

7.500,00 DKK