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A Methodology to Support Product Family Redesign Using Genetic Algorithm and Commonality Indices

[+] Author Affiliations
Henri J. Thevenot, Jyotirmaya Nanda, Timothy W. Simpson

Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

Paper No. DETC2005-84927, pp. 1009-1018; 10 pages
  • ASME 2005 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2: 31st Design Automation Conference, Parts A and B
  • Long Beach, California, USA, September 24–28, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4739-X | eISBN: 0-7918-3766-1
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


Many of today’s manufacturing companies are using platform-based product development to realize families of products with sufficient variety to meet customers’ demands while keeping costs relatively low. The challenge when designing or redesigning a product family is in resolving the tradeoff between product commonality and distinctiveness. Several methodologies have been proposed to redesign existing product families; however, a problem with most of these methods is that they require a considerable amount of information that is not often readily available, and hence their use has been limited. In this research, we propose a methodology to help designers during product family redesign. This methodology is based on the use of a genetic algorithm and commonality indices - metrics to assess the level of commonality within a product family. Unlike most other research in which the redesign of a product family is the result of many human computations, the proposed methodology reduces human intervention and improves accuracy, repeatability, and robustness of the results. Moreover, it is based on data that is relatively easy to acquire. As an example, a family of computer mice is analyzed using the Product Line Commonality Index. Recommendations are given at the product family level (assessment of the overall design of the product family), and at the component level (which components to redesign and how to redesign them). The methodology provides a systematic methodology for product family redesign.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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