The Design of Open Engineering Systems Lab

University at Buffalo - The State University of New York

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Robust Product Family Consolidation and Selection

Research Area: Research Publication Year: 2008
Type of Publication: Technical Report Keywords: product families; multiobjective optimisation; knowledge representation; robust concept selection; multiattribute decision-making
Authors: Dolan, Bryan; Lewis, Kemper
The design and development of effective product lines is a challenge in modern industry. Companies must balance diverse product families that satisfy wide-ranging customer demands with practical business needs such as integrative manufacturing processes and material and supplier selection. In a global marketplace, this is an increasingly difficult challenge. In this paper, the issue of consolidating an existing product family is addressed. Specifically, the hypothetical equivalents and inequivalents method (HEIM) is utilised in order to select an optimal product family configuration. In previous uses, HEIM has been shown to assist a decision maker in selecting design concepts when performance attributes conflict and trade-offs must be made. In the extension of HEIM presented in this work, the constraints of an optimisation problem are formulated using two different value functions, and common solutions are identified in order to select an optimal family of staplers. The result is then compared with the result found using a multi-attribute utility theory (MAUT)-based approach. While each method has its advantages and disadvantages, and MAUT provides a necessary first step for product family consolidation and selection, a robust solution is achieved through HEIM.
Journal of Engineering Design