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Architecture of product family for mass customization

Authors Du, Xuehong
Issue Date 2000
Summary Mass customization, aiming at delivering products that best satisfy diverse customer needs while maintaining near mass production efficiency, has recently received much attention and popularity in both industry and academia. Designing products as a family instead of designing products individually has been recognized as an effective approach to achieve rnass customization with both quality and cost advantages. In order to promote the benefits of product family design for mass customization and contribute to the design theory, the objective of this thesis is to build up basic understanding and modelling tools for the architecture of product family. We believe the results will enhance the coordination between customer and sales, design and manufacturing. They should also facilitate the electronic commerce between providers and clients. Based on the understanding of the fundamental issues of product family development, including modularity, commonality, variety handling, and multi-view synthesis, the Architecture of Product Family (APF) is introduced in this thesis as a conceptual structure and overall logical organization for generating a family of products. Common bases, differentiation enablers, configuration mechanisms comprise the APF. They are manifested differently from sales and engineering views. General product structure is proposed to characterize the APF viewed from engineering perspective. APF and the associated general product structure capture both the compositional and generative aspects of a product family. They provide the constructs for product variants generation. To exploit the generative power of APF and facilitate sales-engineering coordination by variant product design, we have investigated various approaches to represent the product family. A graph grammar based approach is proposed as a formal representation of APF. The correspondence between APF and graph grammar is identified. Products are represented as graphs and modules as encapsulated graphs. The configuration mechanisms are embodied in the productions and control diagrams. As a result, specific product variants can be derived by applying the productions in a proper order on the starting graph that is associated with the common base of the product family. Graph grammar based approach helps to leverage design as a domain independent problem. As an application of the proposed APF and graph grammar model, a graph rewriting system for family based product design is prototyped. Using a high level shareware language PROGRES, the system allows customers to select among optional features, and the design of the desired product is then derived. This system is characterized by visualized APF representation, interactive customer requirements input, and automatic design derivation. Two case studies are investigated to illustrate the power of the proposed approach. The first discusses a product family of office chairs. The second is conducted for a product line of power supplies. Both them demonstrate the rationale of APF concept as advocated in this thesis. The feasibility and potentials of the graph grammar based approach are demonstrated as well.
Note Thesis (Ph.D.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2000
Language English
Format Thesis
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