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Research Papers

A Modular Design Approach to Improve Product Life Cycle Performance Based on the Optimization of a Closed-Loop Supply Chain

[+] Author and Article Information
Wu-Hsun Chung

Department of Transportation Science,
National Taiwan Ocean University,
Keelung 20224,Taiwan
e-mail: wxc218@mail.ntou.edu.tw

Gül E. Okudan Kremer

School of Engineering Design and
Department of Industrial and
Manufacturing Engineering,
The Pennsylvania State University,
University Park, PA 16802
e-mail: gkremer@psu.edu

Richard A. Wysk

Department of Industrial and
System Engineering,
North Carolina State University,
Raleigh, NC 27695
e-mail: rawysk@ncsu.edu

the Geometric & Intelligent Computing Laboratory, repairclinic.com, and appliancepartspros.com.

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received May 25, 2012; final manuscript received May 31, 2013; published online November 26, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Janet K. Allen.

J. Mech. Des 136(2), 021001 (Nov 26, 2013) (20 pages) Paper No: MD-12-1278; doi: 10.1115/1.4025022 History: Received May 25, 2012; Revised May 31, 2013

As environmental concerns have grown in recent years, the interest in product design for the life cycle (DFLC) has exhibited a parallel surge. Modular design has the potential to bring life cycle considerations into the product architecture decision-making process, yet most current modular design methods lack the capability for assessing module life cycle consequences in a supply chain. This paper proposes a method for product designers, called the architecture and supply chain evaluation method (ASCEM), to find a product modular architecture with both low life cycle costs and low energy consumption at the early design stages. ASCEM expands the assessment scope from the product's architecture to its supply chain network. This work analyzes the life cycle costs (LCCs) and energy consumption (LCEC) of two products designated within the European Union's directive on waste of electric and electronic equipment (WEEE) within a closed-loop supply chain to identify the most beneficial modular structure. In addition, data on 27 theoretical cases representing various products are analyzed to show the broader applicability of the proposed methodology. Our analysis shows that ASCEM can efficiently identify a good-quality modular structure having low LCC and LCEC in a closed-loop supply chain for both the two tested products and the hypothetical cases.

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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Illustration of a closed-loop supply chain network

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Steps to generate the initial modular structure

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

A graph example of developing a modular structure

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Fig. 6

Heuristic to generate new modular structures for evaluation

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

The connectivity graph of the refrigerator

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Function relations between components represented in a DSM

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Fig. 10

Demand locations and facilities in Europe on a Google map

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Initial modular structure of the refrigerator

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 12

Alternative of the component EOL option of the refrigerator

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Fig. 13

The function relations between components represented in DSM

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