In this paper, we present robust concept exploration using a goal-oriented, inverse decision-based design method to carry out the integrated design of material, product and associated manufacturing processes by managing the uncertainty involved. The uncertainty in complex material and product systems is derived from many sources and we classify robust design based on these sources — uncertainty in noise factors (Type I robust design); uncertainty in design variables or control factors (Type II robust design); uncertainty in function relationship between control/noise and response (Type III robust design); and propagation and potential amplification of uncertainty in a process chain (Type I to III robust designs across process chains). In this paper, we introduce a variation to the existing goal-oriented inverse decision-based design method to bring in robustness for multiple conflicting goals from the stand-point of Type I to III robust design across process chains. The variation embodies the introduction of specific robust design goals and constraints anchored in the mathematical constructs of error margin indices and design capability indices to determine “satisficing robust design” specifications for given performance requirement ranges using the goal-oriented, inverse design method. The design of a hot rolling process chain for the production of a rod is used as an example.

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