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Robust Product Family Consolidation and Selection Using the Hypothetical Equivalents and Inequivalents Method

[+] Author Affiliations
Bryan R. Dolan, Kemper E. Lewis

State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

Paper No. DETC2007-35522, pp. 989-999; 11 pages
  • ASME 2007 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 6: 33rd Design Automation Conference, Parts A and B
  • Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, September 4–7, 2007
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4807-8 | eISBN: 0-7918-3806-4
  • Copyright © 2007 by ASME


The design and development of effective product lines is a challenge in modern industry. Companies must balance diverse product families that satisfy wide ranging customer demands with practical business needs such as combining manufacturing processes and using similar materials, for example. In this paper, the issue of consolidating an existing product family is addressed. Specifically, the Hypothetical Equivalents and Inequivalents Method (HEIM) is utilized in order to select an optimal product family configuration. In previous uses, HEIM has been shown to assist a decision maker in selecting one concept from a set when concept attributes conflict with each other. In this extension of HEIM, the optimization problem’s constraints are formulated using two different value functions, and common solutions are identified in order to select an optimal family of staplers. The result is then compared with the result found using a multi-attribute utility theory (MAUT) based approach. While each method has its advantages and disadvantages, and MAUT provides a necessary first step for product family consolidation and selection, a robust solution is achieved through HEIM.

Copyright © 2007 by ASME



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