Analysing increase of functionality and complexity in integrated product architectures
Paper i proceeding, 2020

Nowadays, product designers find difficulties and uncertainties when assessing how complex a product will be when introducing new functionalities and technologies or when integrating multiple functionalities into a single component. There is a limited number of studies correlating functionality increase to product complexity. In this paper, the impact of functionality on complexity is quantitatively analyzed in two different case studies: one regarding a set of valves to study how complexity is affected when adding new functionalities, and another one related to three alternative designs of computer mice that features different degrees of functional integration. In the first case study, it has been found that adding new functionalities leads to a super-linear increase of complexity. In the second case study, it has been found that integrating functionality through the introduction of new electronic elements allows to reduce the total number of components, suggesting a decrease in complexity. However, the case study shows an increase in the product's overall complexity through an increased number of interactions between the components themselves. This means that possessing a quantitative methodology to evaluate the impact of functionality increase in product complexity can be an important means for designers to avoid misconceptions and risks during the early phases of product development.


Integrated architecture product

Functional modelling

Integrated product development


Sabela Gonzalez Castro

Universidad Politecnica de Madrid

Chalmers, Industri- och materialvetenskap, Produktutveckling

Massimo Panarotto

Chalmers, Industri- och materialvetenskap, Produktutveckling

Olivia Borgue

Chalmers, Industri- och materialvetenskap, Produktutveckling

Ola Isaksson

Chalmers, Industri- och materialvetenskap, Produktutveckling

Proceedings of the NordDesign 2020 Conference, NordDesign 2020

9781912254088 (ISBN)

NordDesign 2020
Lyngby, Denmark,


Produktionsteknik, arbetsvetenskap och ergonomi

Annan maskinteknik

Övrig annan teknik

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