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An Enhanced Change Modes and Effects Analysis (CMEA) Tool for Measuring Product Flexibility With Applications to Consumer Products

[+] Author Affiliations
Darren A. Keese, Neha P. Takawale, Carolyn C. Seepersad, Kristin L. Wood

University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

Paper No. DETC2006-99478, pp. 873-888; 16 pages
  • ASME 2006 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 1: 32nd Design Automation Conference, Parts A and B
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, September 10–13, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4255-X | eISBN: 0-7918-3784-X
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


Contemporary product designers seek to create products that are not only robust for the current marketplace but also flexible for future changes, adaptations, and evolutions. This type of product flexibility is distinctive from mass customization, product architecture of singular products, and product families. The intent is to design products that intrinsically enable future changes even though such changes may not be known or planned in the current product offering. To accommodate product flexibility of this type, research advancements are needed in terms of fundamental design principles and evaluation methods for predicting and improving the flexibility of a product. This paper presents advancements in both areas. We first present the systematic enhancement of a flexibility assessment tool referred to as CMEA, Change Modes and Effects Analysis. CMEA provides the basic ability to assess the flexibility of a product, with analogous features to the well-known Failure Modes and Effects Analysis. Our enhancements extend the method to provide for intuitive and more repeatable measures of flexibility. We then use the enhanced CMEA to investigate a variety of consumer products with the goal of inductively deriving product flexibility principles. Concrete applications are shown for these principles from the domain of power yard tools, such as hedge trimmers, weed trimmers, and leaf blowers. Also, the applications are used to demonstrate the value of the CMEA enhancements.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME
Topics: Plasticity



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