Research Papers

Concurrent Design of Product Families and Reconfigurable Assembly Systems

[+] Author and Article Information
April Bryan

The University of the West Indies,
St. Augustine,
Trinidad and Tobago
e-mail: april.bryan@sta.uwi.edu

Hui Wang

e-mail: hui.wang@gm.com

Jeffrey Abell

e-mail: jeffrey.abell@gm.com
Manufacturing Systems Research Lab,
General Motors Global Research & Development,
30500 Mound Road,
Warren, MI 48090

Contributed by the Design Automation Committee of ASME for publication in the Journal of Mechanical Design. Manuscript received March 4, 2011; final manuscript received January 17, 2013; published online April 4, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Timothy W. Simpson.

J. Mech. Des 135(5), 051001 (Apr 04, 2013) (16 pages) Paper No: MD-11-1141; doi: 10.1115/1.4023920 History: Received March 04, 2011; Revised January 17, 2013

To cope with the challenges of market competition and the greater purchasing power of consumers, manufacturers have increased the variety of products they offer. Product families and reconfigurable manufacturing systems (RMS) are used to produce product variety cost-effectively. However, there is a lack of concurrent engineering methods for the joint design of a product family and an RMS, since existing concurrent engineering methods were developed for a single product and its associated manufacturing system. The presence of product variety brings challenges to the concurrent engineering of a product family and its reconfigurable assembly system (RAS), as the decision space is broader. This paper introduces a mathematical model for the concurrent design of a product family and a RAS. In addition, a mathematical model for the sequential approach to product family and RAS design is introduced to compare with the results of the concurrent methodology. A genetic algorithm has been developed to solve the models introduced for both the concurrent and sequential approaches. Examples are used to demonstrate the implementation of the concurrent approach to product family and RAS design and the benefits that could be achieved by using this approach. The solutions indicate that the concurrent design of product families and RASs leads to profits that are the same as or higher than the profits obtained with the sequential design approach. Therefore, the concurrent design of product families and RAS methodology is a more cost-effective approach to designing families of products and their associated manufacturing systems.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME
Topics: Manufacturing , Design
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Fig. 1

Features, modules, instances, and a product variant

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Fig. 2

Assembly system showing workstations and parallel centers

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Fig. 3

(a) Precedence diagram for Product Variant 1; (b) precedence diagram for Product Variant 2; (c) product family precedence diagram [27,28]

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Fig. 4

Optimization formulation for the concurrent design of product families and RAS

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Fig. 5

Optimization formulation for the sequential engineering approach

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Fig. 6

Chromosome representation

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Fig. 7

Algorithm for grouping task sequences into workstations

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Fig. 8

Decoding of a task sequence into workstations

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Fig. 9

Crossover operator for a product variant subsection

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Fig. 10

Crossover operator for a task sequence subsection

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Fig. 11

Inversion operator (a) before inversion and (b) after inversion

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Fig. 12

Example 1: Selected product family

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Fig. 13

Example 2: Office chair (a) and modules (b) precedence diagram

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Fig. 14

Example 2: Percentage difference in profit between the concurrent engineering and RAS system and the sequential engineering approaches

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Fig. 15

Profit, revenue, and cost versus cost factor for (a) concurrent design of product family and RAS and (b) sequential engineering

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Fig. 16

Example 2: Profit versus revenue factor

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Fig. 17

Example 2: Profit versus consumer preference factor

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Fig. 18

Example 2: Profit versus competition factor



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