Platform Design for Producibility: Early-Stage Modeling and Assessment Support
Doktorsavhandling, 2018

In industry, platforms are commonly adopted to reduce unique parts among a variety of distinct product variants, which have proven to be cost-effective within a single platform lifecycle. However, when the platform becomes obsolete or modifications are required to capture changing customer and production needs and requirements, manufacturers often spill tears over the time-consuming and costly processes of reusing and adapting the current platform structure into new. In design, such a platform structure of parts is rigid and often characterized by redundant data and weak relations among and across product variants and existing production machinery. To improve the ability to reuse design and production information for assessing new concepts more quickly, non-rigid platform representations of product concepts and existing production machinery are necessary but not clarified in literature and rarely implemented in industry. In this thesis, research studies have therefore been conducted to (1) investigate how early-stage information about a variety of products and existing production machinery can be represented to improve design-production responsiveness, and (2) develop methods and tools to model and generate a set of product-production alternatives as a basis for producibility assessments. A number of engineering case studies have been prepared by researchers and industrial specialists. Data, related to product and production variety and their mutual constraining factors, have been collected by interviewing industrial specialists, as well as examining corporate documents of both product design prerequisites and capabilities in production. The engineering case studies prepared have supported the creation of new knowledge and been used to demonstrate the usefulness of the improved models, methods and tool devised supporting platform design for producibility. As opposed to rigid parts, findings show that platform entities can be represented as reusable and adaptable system objects containing early-stage information of product variety, existing production resources and processes. This information mainly consists of a common product-production structure of relations among functional requirements, design solutions, mutual constraining factors and target values. By creating a complementary producibility system, including rule-based and simulation- based models, early-stage producibility assessments of product concepts can be supported. Findings emphasize the dynamic consideration of producibility during the platform design as customer and production needs and requirements frequently change. By employing the early-stage modeling and assessment support devised, manufacturers can (1) represent product and production variety as reusable and adaptable system objects with links to producibility constraints, available over generations of products and production systems and (2) dynamically and concurrently model, generate and assess product-production alternatives under producibility constraints during early design stages as a basis for putting inferior alternatives aside until new information becomes available. Theoretically, the number of costly and time-delaying late- stage modifications of product designs, production configurations or both can be reduced. However, to validate and generalize these hypothetical effects, they need to be measured in future studies.

Systems engineering

Mass customization

Platform design

Reuse of design and production information

Enhanced function-means modeling

Set-Based Concurrent Engineering

Producibility assessment


Virtual Development Laboratory
Opponent: Prof. Niels Henrik Mortensen, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark


Jonas Landahl

Chalmers, Industri- och materialvetenskap, Produktutveckling

Mediating constraints across design and manufacturing using platform-based manufacturing operations

21st International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 2017, Vancouver, Canada, 21-25 August 2017,; Vol. 6(2017)p. 179-188

Paper i proceeding

Development of product platforms: Theory and methodology

Concurrent Engineering Research and Applications,; Vol. 25(2017)p. 195-211

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift

Assessing Producibility of Product Platforms Using Set-Based Concurrent Engineering

Advances in Transdisciplinary Engineering. 23rd ISPE Inc. International Conference on Transdisciplinary Engineering, TE 2016; Federal University of Technology - ParanaCuritiba; Brazil; 3-7 October 2016,; Vol. 4(2016)p. 35-44

Paper i proceeding

Landahl, J., Jiao, J. R., Madrid, J., Söderberg, R., Johannesson, H. Dynamic Platform Modeling for Concurrent Product-Production Reconfiguration

In the near future, a variety* of products can be designed and prepared for production more efficiently than today. Such a future state is possible by creating a backup structure of neatly packaged design and production information in which future product ideas can be included to be quickly compared for their value. Perhaps you’ve once identified a problem that you’ve used your imagination to solve by outlining a design solution? It’s quite demanding to go from idea to physical solution. Even professional engineers struggle to include every imaginable aspect of a design. Luckily, design engineers have plenty of tools that can help them detail the ideal performance of a product. The problem is that designing the performance of a product is not enough to make the physical product behave as intended. Good performance on paper is quite often achieved at the expense of bad production, poor product quality and dissatisfied customers. So the design must be modified when the product is near its final completion, which often results in mediocre performance, mediocre production and mediocre product quality, as well as a broken budget. Shouldn’t engineers know better and include production aspects earlier so that they can carry out both good design and production? Well, to be fair, engineers today don’t have the supportive tools necessary to include production aspects early on while simultaneously designing a variety of product concepts. This research has therefore focused on the interplay of products and production systems to present new knowledge in the form of theoretical models, engineering methods and a practical tool that enables the creation of a backup structure of neatly packaged design and production information to be reused in and adapted for new design problems. Some future challenges are identified and need to be addressed before a variety of products can be designed and prepared for production more efficiently than in current industrial practice. To know more about this, you are more than welcome to acquaint yourself with the content of this thesis.
* Why variety? Well, because the likelihood that a product variant among a variety can meet the needs of any given customer is higher than for a single product, manufacturers can increase market share and become more profitable by offering variety.

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Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 4516



Virtual Development Laboratory

Opponent: Prof. Niels Henrik Mortensen, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark

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