RESEARCH PAPERS: Design Theory and Methodology

Implications of Modularity on Product Design for the Life Cycle

[+] Author and Article Information
P. J. Newcomb, B. Bras, D. W. Rosen

Georgia Institute of Technology, Systems Realization Laboratory, The G. W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0405

J. Mech. Des 120(3), 483-490 (Sep 01, 1998) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2829177 History: Received July 01, 1996; Revised May 01, 1998; Online December 11, 2007


Growing concern for the environment has spurred interest in product Design for the Life Cycle (DFLC) which encompasses all aspects of a product’s life cycle from initial conceptual design, through normal product use, to the eventual disposal of the product. A product’s architecture, determined during the configuration design stage, plays a large role in determining its life cycle characteristics. In this paper, modularity of product architectures with respect to life cycle concerns, not just functionality and structure, is defined and applied in the analysis of architecture characteristics. An architecture decomposition algorithm from the literature is adopted for partitioning architectures into modules from each life cycle viewpoint. Two measures of modularity are proposed: one that measures module correspondence between several viewpoints, and another that measures coupling between modules. The algorithm and measures are applied to the analysis and redesign of an automotive center console. Results of applying the algorithm and measures accurately reflected our intuitive understanding of the original center console design and predicted the results of our redesign. Furthermore, these measures incorporate only configuration information of the product, hence, can be used before detailed design stages.

Copyright © 1998 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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