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A Network Approach to Define Modularity of Product Components

[+] Author Affiliations
Manuel E. Sosa, Anupam Agrawal

INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France

Steven D. Eppinger

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Craig M. Rowles

Pratt & Whitney Aircraft, East Hartford, CT

Paper No. DETC2005-85422, pp. 435-446; 12 pages
  • ASME 2005 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 5a: 17th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Long Beach, California, USA, September 24–28, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4742-X | eISBN: 0-7918-3766-1
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


We consider complex products as a network of components that share technical interfaces in order to function as a whole. Building upon previous work in graph theory and social network analysis, we define three measures of component modularity that consider how components may share direct interfaces with other adjacent components, how design interfaces may propagate to all other components in the product, and how components may act as “bridges” between other components. We calculate and interpret all three measures of component modularity by studying the actual product architecture of a large commercial aircraft engine. We illustrate how to use these measures to test their impact on component redesign. Directions for future work are discussed.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME
Topics: Networks



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