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Representation of Similarity and Dependency for Assembly Modularity

[+] Author Affiliations
Xiaoxia Lai, John K. Gershenson

Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI

Paper No. DETC2006-99522, pp. 389-398; 10 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


In previous work, researchers have expanded the definition of product modularity from function-based modularity to life-cycle process-based modularity. Our previous work in this area also developed and validated a modularity measure and modular product design method to improve life-cycle product modularity. However, we found that a correct modularity measure and modular design method are not enough to realize modular product design. How the measure and design method are used, especially the role of modular product representation, is an important aspect of modular design and imperative for realizing cost savings. In this paper, we develop a representation for component-component similarity and dependency that is based upon the most significant elements of product modularity. The life-cycle application we have chosen is the assembly process due to the audience’s familiarity with design for assembly methodology. The process similarity representation is based on assembly cost factors including tool changes and fixture changes. There is a clear reduction in non-value added time in the assembly process if these elements are the same for all components in one module. The process-based design dependency representation is based on design features that impact the assembly process (faces, fasteners, assembly interference, etc.). If components are independent of other components not in the same module with respect to these elements, the redesign of components in one module will not affect the assembly process of other modules. An example is used to show the application of these representations. The work in this paper establishes how to represent similarity and dependency for the assembly process. We plan to expand the representation to other life-cycle processes in the future.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME
Topics: Manufacturing



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