Research Papers: Design Automation

A Method to Improve Platform Leveraging in a Market Segmentation Grid for an Existing Product Line

[+] Author and Article Information
Ronald S. Farrell, Timothy W. Simpson

Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802

J. Mech. Des 130(3), 031403 (Feb 05, 2008) (11 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2829889 History: Received May 23, 2006; Revised August 18, 2007; Published February 05, 2008

This paper describes a method for improving commonality in a highly customized low volume product line whose members were originally developed one at a time to meet specific customer requirements. Rather than focusing on redesign of the entire product line, which can often be cost prohibitive, the method is part of a strategy to redesign a limited set of component parts that have the highest potential for cost savings. The method involves a four-step methodology: (1) determine an optimal component solution for each member artifact of an existing market segment grid, (2) test the feasibility of using each optimal component as a platform for the other artifacts, (3) formulate an optimization problem around the feasibility statistics whose solution is a product platform portfolio, and (4) solve the optimization problem for the platform portfolio that can span the existing market segment grid most cost effectively. The proposed method is applied to an example involving the redesign of actuator mounting yokes for an existing set of valves that are used in nuclear power plants. The methodology shows promise for determining a product platform mix that maximizes cost effectiveness yet meets performance requirements.

Copyright © 2008 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Market segmentation grid and platform leveraging strategies (2)

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Figure 2

Typical gate valves (courtesy of flowserve Corporation): (a) Size 6, Class 900 flex wedge, (b) Size 8, Class 150 flex wedge, and (c) Size 4, Class 150 double disk

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Figure 3

Flex wedge gate valve sealing

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Figure 4

Solid model views of a typical yoke

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Figure 5

Modular platform pattern concept for yoke cross sections (34)

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Figure 6

Previous market segmentation grid leveraging (34)

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Figure 7

Generalized yoke leg cross section defining design variables a, b, and c



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