On the Development of Product Family Architectures: Comparison of Business-Oriented and Function-Based Product Structuring

DS 58-2: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 2, Design Theory and Research Methodology, Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Lehtonen, Timo A.; Juuti, Tero S.; Mela, Johanna E.; Riitahuhta, Asko O.
Series: ICED
Section: Design Theory and Research Methodology
Page(s): 167-178


In the mainstream of textbooks considering the Product Design, the functional structure of the product has been presented as the primary basis for defining the modular structure. However in current research there exist approaches which emphasize the requirements originating from business- or production environment as a starting point for a design process. In this paper we examine eight industrial cases using functional and non-functional design approach. As a result, we find out that other analysis process than function-based gives better results in 5 cases out of 8. On the basis of this observation material, our conclusion is that the functional structure is not an essential starting point for forming a modular architecture. Functional structure is related to the transformation implemented by the technical solution and therefore is a dominant element in the area of product structuring. In variant modular product, the modularity of the product is no longer only related to the transformation implemented by the technical system. It now seems obvious, that designing a product and designing a variant structure of a product family are different tasks and thus require different methods.

Keywords: Modular Product Structures, Design Processes, Product Families


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