Managing Design Change in Configurable Component Based Platforms
Paper in proceedings, 2010
Many companies use product platforms to achieve economy of scale benefits while they simultaneously offer customized product variants. The strategy to realise this is often to share ready designed parts and sub-systems with fixed interfaces between product variants. This strategy provides flexibility, but it is limited by the bandwidth defined by the fixed parts and sub-systems comprised in the platform. To fulfil new demands on increased variability, redefinition of the platform and/or addition of new platform elements are required. To address this issue Claesson  has presented a new way of describing platforms which are built of generic, autonomous and configurable sub-systems called configurable components, CCs. Such systems carry knowledge not only about the finally used part instances, but also about how and why an instance came into being. This makes the product knowledge carried by a CC possible to be reused to configure platform-based variants as well as to develop future designs. Until now the work done on the CC concept has focused on the internal building blocks, i.e. what it needs to consist of in order to work as intended. In short, the focus so far has been on how the product platform can be represented, not the process and methods to create it. This paper addresses this latter issue. An "engineer-to-order" scenario is considered and the design process as well as supporting design methods are emphasised. The results show that well-known concept design methods such as the concept combination table (the morphological matrix) and evaluation matrices can be adopted for redesign of configurable platform system elements representing a whole system family.