Development of product platforms: Theory and methodology
Journal article, 2017
There is a trend toward increased customization of goods to satisfy a wide range of customers using product platforms. However, there is an erroneous notion that product platforms can only be used to provide economic viability in production thanks to the reuse of physical components among a family of products. Yet, this is a limited perception of the potential of a product platform. In this article, an object-oriented approach to support the development of product platforms is proposed to increase efficiency through reuse and flexibility of designs among a family of products. Two modes of the platform development process are addressed: platform preparation and platform execution. Platform preparation prescribes the methods needed to model platform objects, using enhanced function-means models and set-based concurrent engineering processes. During the platform execution process, sets of design alternatives can be configured concurrently throughout the conceptual, system, and detailed phases of the platform development. Three cases illustrate how the same approach may be used in different design scenarios: design space exploration and extension, supply-chain collaboration, and configure-to-order. The approach supports system architects and design engineers in making design decisions that propel the platform development work by enabling analysis in stages where designs are immature and evaluating the goodness of the alternatives early. Ultimately, product platforms can be efficiently developed for modularity and scalability to find feasible product variants and meet the needs of a multitude of customers.
set-based concurrent engineering