Research Papers: Design Theory and Methodology

Global Views on Modular Design Research: Linking Alternative Methods to Support Modular Product Family Concept Development

[+] Author and Article Information
Kevin Otto

Fellow ASME
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Aalto University,
Aalto FI-00076, Finland
e-mail: Kevin.otto@Aalto.fi

Katja Hölttä-Otto

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Aalto University,
Aalto FI-00076, Finland
e-mail: Katja.Holtta-Otto@Aalto.fi

Timothy W. Simpson

Fellow ASME Department of Mechanical Engineering,
The Pennsylvania State University,
University Park, PA 16802
e-mail: tws8@psu.edu

Dieter Krause

Institute of Product Development and
Mechanical Engineering,
Hamburg University of Technology,
Hamburg 21073, Germany
e-mail: krause@tuhh.de

Sebastian Ripperda

Institute of Product Development and
Mechanical Engineering,
Hamburg University of Technology,
Hamburg 21073, Germany
e-mail: sebastian.ripperda@tuhh.de

Seung Ki Moon

School of Mechanical and
Aerospace Engineering,
Nanyang Technological University,
Singapore 639798, Singapore
e-mail: skmoon@ntu.edu.sg

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received September 9, 2015; final manuscript received May 10, 2016; published online May 30, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Christopher Mattson.

J. Mech. Des 138(7), 071101 (May 30, 2016) (16 pages) Paper No: MD-15-1628; doi: 10.1115/1.4033654 History: Received September 09, 2015; Revised May 10, 2016

Modular product platforms have been shown to provide substantial cost and time savings while still allowing companies to offer a variety of products. As a result, a multitude of product platform methods have been developed over the last decade within the design research community. However, comparison and integration of suitable methods is difficult since the methods have, for the most part, been developed in isolation from one another. In reviewing the literature in modularity and product platforms, we create a generic set of 13 platform design steps for developing a platform concept. We then examine a set of product platform concept development processes used at several different companies, and from this form a generic sequence of the steps. We then associate the various developed methods to the sequence, thereby enabling the chaining together of the various modular and platform design methods developed by the community.

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Fig. 1

A systematical requirement flow-down model of architecting steps

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Fig. 2

Examples of UGVs (a) bombot, (b) talon, and (c) packbot

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Fig. 3

Planned market strategy for the UGV example

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Fig. 4

Tree of external variety for the UGV example

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Fig. 5

Functional model of a UGV

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Fig. 6

GVI for UGV family [32]

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Fig. 7

VAM for UGV family

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Fig. 8

Unclustered and clustered DSM for UGV family (a) unclustered and (b) clustered

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Fig. 9

MPC for UGV family

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Fig. 10

MIG for UGV family



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