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Principles of Product Flexibility

[+] Author Affiliations
Atif Qureshi, Jeremy T. Murphy, Benjamin Kuchinsky, Carolyn C. Seepersad, Kristin L. Wood

University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

Daniel D. Jensen

United States Air Force Academy, USAF Academy, CO

Paper No. DETC2006-99583, pp. 295-325; 31 pages
  • ASME 2006 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 4a: 18th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, September 10–13, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4258-4 | eISBN: 0-7918-3784-X
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


Contemporary products need to evolve to accommodate competitive market pressures, rapid technological change and transient and multi-dimensional customer requirements. Product flexibility is defined as the adaptability of a system in response to these factors. Currently, flexible products are realized with ad hoc methods that rely on the experience and intuition of the designer. In this work, a set of formal principles is presented for guiding the design of flexible products. These principles are derived from the results of an empirical study of the United States patent repository. As part of the study, patents are analyzed with a dissection tool, and representative principles are derived from the data. The utility of these principles is demonstrated via the design of a flexible fuel cell system. The effectiveness of these principles is validated using a Change Modes and Effects Analysis (CMEA) tool to compare the resulting fuel cell concept to a typical device of similar functionality.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME
Topics: Plasticity



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