The objective of this paper is to introduce a method that will mitigate product risks during the conceptual design phase by identifying design variables that affect product failures. By using this comprehensive, step-by-step process that combines existing techniques in a new way, designers can begin with a simple Functional Model and emerge from the conceptual design phase with specific components selected with many risks already mitigated. The Risk in Early Design (RED) method plays a significant role in identifying failure modes by functions, and these modes are then analyzed through modeling equations or lifespan analyses, in such a manner that emphasizes variables under the designers’ control. With the valuable insight this method provides, informed decisions can be made early in the process, thereby eliminating costly changes later on.

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