A Method to define a Product Architecture Early in Product Development Using the Contact and Channel Model

DS 58-5: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 5, Design Methods and Tools (pt. 1), Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Albers, Albert; Sedchaicharn, Korkiat; Sauter, Christian; Burger, Wolfgang
Series: ICED
Section: Design Methods and Tools
Page(s): 241-252


Defining a product architecture is one of the most important decisions during product development. Most researches in this field are focused on the modification of a product architecture, meaning that the design process is carried out based on the predefined architecture. Consequently, the obtained results are difficult to be used. This paper focuses on the determination of the product architecture in the early phase of product development, in which the product architecture is often developed intuitively. In this paper, a model to describe a relationship between a function and embodiment, the Contact and Channel Model (C&CM), a method to define a product architecture and its corresponding implementation will be presented. After a principle solution has been selected, the system is modeled with C&CM elements. An integration analysis using Design Structure Matrix (DSM) can be performed in parallel with the use of a search algorithm. The analysis result is a guideline for an optimal architecture. This helps designers to decide the product architecture prior to the launch of embodiment design. This method is implemented in the development of a robot forearm for the humanoid robot ARMAR III.

Keywords: Product architecture, Contact and Channel Model, Design Structure Matrix


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