The Design of Open Engineering Systems Lab

University at Buffalo - The State University of New York

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Investigating the Use of (Re)configurability to Reduce Product Family Cost and Mitigate Performance Losses

Research Area: Research Publication Year: 2009
Type of Publication: Unpublished
Authors: Cormier, Phil; Horn, Dave Van; Lewis, Kemper
Commonality amongst a family of products provides both technical and economic advantages. However, with an increase in commonality, a loss of product differentiation can occur, resulting in product cannibalization. Furthermore, there is generally a required tradeoff between performance and cost when incorporating commonality into a family of products. This paper synthesizes recent research in system flexibility, system reconfigurability, and product families to develop a formal design method, which may allow a design firm to decrease family cost, increase commonality, and maintain or improve system performance. The system configurations can be set before they reach the consumer or be capable of being set by the consumer. (Re)configurability is used to denote that the solution may be permanent once configured (i.e., a configurable system) or the changes can be repeatable and reversible (i.e., a reconfigurable system). Added benefits to incorporating principles of product flexibility and (re)configurability are the possibility for the systems to age gracefully, adapt to meet future demands and operating environments, and incorporate newly developed technologies.
Design Theory and Methodology