Archives—July 2003

Product Modularity–The Link Between Product Architecture and Product Life-Cycle Costs

John Gershenson (MEEM) has received a $289,439 grant for his project, “Product Modularity–The Link Between Product Architecture and Product Life-Cycle Costs.” This grant provides for the development of a method for understanding qualitative and quantitative connections among product architecture, product modularity, and life-cycle costs. Product architecture – the structure of assemblies, sub-assemblies, and components – has an enormous impact on the costs associated with each life-cycle phase of a product; manufacturing, assembly, service, retirement, etc. Component grouping into modules is one of the critical early decisions made by designers. This work aims to provide the relationship between modularity decisions and life-cycle product costs that designers lack by quantitatively relating each to product architecture. The result is a validated, implementable design method that includes these quantitative relationships. We hope to explicitly show, and therefore encourage, the application of validation to design methods.

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