The results of an empirical product study aimed at deducing product evolution design guidelines are presented. The derived design guidelines support a directed product evolution methodology known as effort flow analysis. Effort flow analysis provides a systematic framework for identifying component combination opportunities leading to either rigid-body or compliant mechanisms in the domain of mechanical effort transmissions. Design guidelines, effort flow analysis, and the empirical study are discussed. A classified list of the derived guidelines is presented along with analysis of a sample product group from the study.

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