What is Robust Design?

Robust Design: Not just strong. Flexible! Idiot proof! Simple! Efficient! A product/process that produces consistent, high-level performance "despite being subjected to a wide range of changing client and manufacturing conditions...."


Traditional engineering focuses on solving problems, failure analysis, use of a repetitive process of design-build-test, testing one factor at a time, firefighting, and studying in detail the problems associated with interactions of the factors involved. This approach costs more, takes more time, and isn't always successful.


Taguchi's approach allows experiments to be performed and prototypes to be tested on multiple factors at once so that the product/process becomes insensitive to use-conditions and other uncontrollable factors. This is called Robust Design, and it provides a more efficient, cost-effective way to improve products and processes.


This revolutionary approach to engineering and design represents one of the most significant breakthroughs in product and process design since the Quality Revolution began.

It provides a method for designing products and processes that are minimally impacted by external forces, such as environment, client use, or manufacturing conditions.


This is accomplished using Energy Transformation principles for improving the desired output targeted toward perfect performance, rather than attempting to supress symptoms.

It enables engineers to:


  • Develop products and processes which perform consistently as intended under a wide range of user's conditions throughout their life cycle (durable and reliable)
  • Maximize robustness-improve the intended function of the product by developing and increasing insensitivity to noise factors which tend to degrade performance
  • Develop or change product formulas and process settings to achieve desired performance at the lowest cost and in the shortest time
  • Simplify designs and processes to reduce cost


The Robust Design approach is based on an Energy Transformation model for egineering systems (mechanical, electrical, chemical, etc.). This unique approach to achieving Quality Assurance and Robustness during the design phase utilizes identification of the Ideal Function of a product or process, as opposed to traditional methods which focus on "symptom analysis" as a basis for improvement. The Robust Design system simultaneously yields:


  • Significantly improved quality, reliability, and durability
  • Reduced manufacturing costs
  • Reduced design cycle times
  • New, proprietary knowledge


ASI uses an applied learning approach to assist your company with the implementation of this powerful technique. Our aim is to assist you in selecting the projects, establishing the goals, and correctly using the method to achieve benefits and payback in the shortest time.


Above information is Copyright © 2000 The American Supplier Institute.

"Our goal is to retrain all of our engineers by the year 2000 in the application of Robust Design."

- Kenzo Ueno, Nissan Motors (1993)

"... the major driving forces behind robust engineering are-and each is equal-designing to satisfy clients in all ...conditions; manufacturing processes and capabilities, cost, quality, and reliability. We're pushing for engineering solutions that optimize each one of those."
- John J. (Jay) Wetzel II, Vice President for GM's North American Operations Engineering Center (in WARD'S Auto World - March 1994)


"Robust Design is not easy to understand, so Ford began doing case studies in 1993. In one instance, an FDI team found a solution in three months that would have taken 13 months using traditional methods. Another major advantage [of robust design] is that robust methods reduce the historical tendency to over-engineer-the practice of concentrating on quality targets in isolation without taking into consideration the whole picture."
- Minoo P. Billamoria, Ford Design Institute