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Industrial Case Studies in Product Flexibility for Future Evolution: An Application and Evaluation of Design Guidelines

[+] Author Affiliations
Andrew H. Tilstra, Peter B. Backlund, Carolyn C. Seepersad, Kristin L. Wood

University of Texas - Austin, Austin, TX

Paper No. DETC2008-49370, pp. 217-230; 14 pages
  • ASME 2008 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 4: 20th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology; Second International Conference on Micro- and Nanosystems
  • Brooklyn, New York, USA, August 3–6, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4328-4 | eISBN: 0-7918-3831-5
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


A product’s flexibility for future evolution is its ability to be quickly and economically adapted to meet changing requirements. In previous work, a set of guidelines has been developed for designing flexible products. In this paper, two similar industrial case studies are presented to investigate the effectiveness of these guidelines for designing small-lot products with flexibility for future evolution. The systems are real products that have been designed and built by the authors, providing unrestricted insight into the design process and outcome of each project. The first product, a large testing system for high pressure seals, was designed without the aid of flexibility for future evolution guidelines. The second product, an automated welding test station, was designed with flexibility for future evolution as a specific deliverable of the final product. The flexibility of each system was measured by considering its adaptability to prototypical change modes. Of the two systems, the welding system was found to be more flexible than the seal testing system. The welding system also served as an example of integrating product flexibility guidelines throughout the development process.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME
Topics: Plasticity , Design



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