Customer Product Design

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Quality Function Deployment:

It is a cross-functional planning tool, which is used to ensure that the voice of the customer is deployed throughout the product planning and design stages. QFD is used to encourage breakthrough thinking of new concepts and technology. It facilitates the process of concurrent or simultaneous product engineering, encouraging teamwork, to work towards a common goal of insuring customer satisfaction.

QFD translates customer requirements into design requirements. It has helped many organizations to help improve customer satisfaction, reduce product development time, and reduce startup problems.

QFD basically consists of four-phase approach:

  1. Product Planning

  2. Assembly/Part deployment

  3. Process Planning

  4. Process/Quality control

This report deals with product planning phase of QFD. In product planning it mainly deals with identifying customer spoken and unspoken (excitement) needs. These customer needs/requirements are further translated into technical requirements that comply to the standards applied to the product. The matrix shows the relationship between customer needs or requirements and the technical characteristics. Some of the technical requirements may have positive or negative impacts on other technical requirements that affect the design of the product which turn influences customer satisfaction.

Inter-relationship between customer needs and technical requirements:

The basic customer requirements for a motorcycle helmets based on a survey can be categorized into three main groups as below:

  1. Performance

  2. Usability

  3. Excitement

a. Performance

Some of the customer requirements categorized under the performance section are as follows:

  1. Impact Resistance: This is one of the most important and basic needs of the customer. The outer shell of the helmet should be strong enough to resist the impact caused by accidents. Translating this need of the customer we take into account the density, stiffness and overall shell's material properties.

  1. Visibility: It totally depends upon the visor; it should be made out of good light transmitting material. BS 4110 - ZA is the BS standard for the visor manufacture, where A represents Abrasion resistant grade and Z represents impact resistance grade. The material of the visor should be scratch proof and the surface finish should be good such that when it is raining the droplets do not stick to the surface of the visor. The thickness of the visor is usually maintained around 1- 2 mm during manufacture.

  1. Low Noise: Though the excessive noise disturbs the concentration of a rider, it should be taken into account that the helmet should be designed for an optimal noise level. Since the rider has to respond to surrounding sounds like other vehicle noise and warnings.

  1. Aerodynamic: It partially influences the wearing comfort of the rider. A good aerodynamic design reduces the incoming wind resistance that in turn reduces the stress on the neck muscles and minimizes muscle fatigue. A good aerodynamic property also provides better ventilation by proper circulation of the air. Moreover, it also enhances the aesthetics of the helmet.

b. Usability

  1. Light Weight: Reducing the weight of the helmet reduces the pressure on the neck muscles. Thereby, providing better concentration and increasing the comfort. It reduces the moment of inertia of the helmet due to which the rider might suffer fewer injuries during accidents. Lightweight of the helmet makes it easy to carry after use.

  1. Ventilation: Providing better circulation of the air within the helmet will eliminate suffocation that is experienced while wearing a full-face helmet. The proper ventilation also eliminates the steaming up of visor because of rider's breath this ensures proper visibility. The problem of over-heating is also eliminated giving the rider better comfort.

  1. Easy to put on/Take off: The BS headforms permits the manufacturers to produce 4 sizes of helmet ranging from 53 to 61 cms head circumference. The ratio of length to breadth for the liner interiors is usually kept constant.

  1. Chinstrap: The function of chinstrap is to provide stability to the helmet when the rider wears it. According to BS 6658 the chinstrap is tightened and the helmet is pulled off forward by gripping the rear, this is a good test for fit. It stimulates helmet roll-off, which usually occurs when the rider hits an object and summersaults. The helmet maybe pulled off from the rider's head due to the inertia forces.

  1. Sunshade: This is provided to aid in riding comfort in the sunny weather. It should prevent the UV rays as well. The sunshade should be fitted at such a position that doesn't interfere with the visibility of the rider.

  1. DIY Friendly: The overall mechanisms used in the helmet have to be made simple so that the user can easily replace the parts in the cases of accidental damages.

  1. Padding: It is provided to eliminate or minimize vibrations. It also provides cushioning effect. Thus, increasing the riding comfort. The padding should be uniform otherwise the rider will experience non-uniform pressure at different point inside the helmet.

c. Excitement

  1. Wireless communication: This helps the rider to communicate with the pillion and also with other bikers with a pre-set frequency.

  1. GPS Tracking system: It is a unique system that will be incorporated in the helmet, which will operate on impact by sending a single to emergency services.

Failure Mode and Effect Analysis:

It is a step-by-step approach for identifying all possible failures in design, a manufacturing or assembly process and a product or service.It describes the logical and instinctive process that we use when designiong a product or service and their associated parts or processes. It provides a disciplined and rigorous teaam base method for establishing desired function, brainstorming potential failure modes and prioritizing elimination actions.

The above figure shows the steps involved in performing Design Failure Mode and Effect Analysis.

Design FMEA:

The Design FMEA helps to identify potential failures that might occur in the product or motorcycle helmet. It helps in identifying potential safety concerns so that product design actions can be identified to eliminate concerns. It aids in the initial design for manufacturing assembly requirements. It provides necessary information regarding product design changes which guides the development of future product designs.

In the table shown below the potential failure modes are identified for different part functions of a motorcycle helmet.



  1. Lou Cohen, Quality Function Deployment - How to make QFD Work for You, 1995, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.