SUNConferences, COMA '13

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Production-Oriented Modular Platform Design
Günther Schuh, Stefan Rudolf, Jens Arnoscht

Last modified: 2013-08-20


Companies producing in high-wage countries are increasingly challenged to maintain and extend their innovation productivity considering the constraints of necessary differentiation and cost pressure in a globalized market. One approach to cope with this challenge is the structuring of products in form of modular product platforms to realise and deploy commonalities. However, today most approaches outlining the design of modular product platforms still focus only on the product itself. The effects on production or process parameters are of minor interest. This statement is underscored by the work of Fixson who reviewed 160 papers from 36 journals in the areas of modularity and commonality with respect to their research focus, the considered effects and the investigation method. Fixon shows that research in the field of modularity and commonality only focusses on single objects (e.g. product, process, organization, innovation) and that cross-functional topics are hardly addressed. Though integrative approaches found much attention in the literature they rarely focus on modular product platforms.

Our paper confirms commonality has to be optimized by focusing both the product and production. Therefore we have designed a descriptive framework (commonality model) to display and optimize commonalities both in the product and the process. Furthermore, a product architecture development process, that is superior to the individual product development processes, was developed for the systematic design of commonalities. The approach presented in this paper focusses on the interactions between product and process parameters. In our approach these interactions will first be displayed based on the graph theory and then be optimized applying sensitivity analysis. By varying relevant parameters both on the product and process side constitutive features can be derived determining product and process standards in order to enhance the overall commonality level.

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