Platform variable identification using sensitivity analysis for product platform design
Hume, Chad Albert
MetadataShow full item record
The recent trend of mass customization has redefined the way companies do business. Each individual customer is now their own market, requiring products specific to their wants and needs at mass production prices. This need for ever-increasing variety is a significant challenge for industry that many times leads to ballooning manufacturing costs and lower product performance. One approach that has received widespread attention and implementation is to develop families of products from standardized product platforms. While, many methods have been developed to address different challenges within product platform design, they are not without their limitations/tradeoffs and therefore leave much room for development and improvement. The Product Platform Constructal Theory Method (PPCTM), developed by Dr. Gabriel Hernandez, is a novel approach for developing product platforms that enable customizable products. Rooted in the tenants of hierarchic systems theory and constructal theory, the PPCTM solves for the product platform as a problem of optimization of access in a geometric space. The result is a hierarchical organization of the modes for managing variety and the specification of their commonality across the product platform. Overall, the PPCTM offers an extremely comprehensive product platform design method, with the ability to accommodate multi-platform design, multiple design specifications, non-uniform demand modeling, and multi-objective decision-making. One limitation of this method is that the selection of platform variables and the modes for managing product variety must be pre-specified or determined ad hoc by the designer. This thesis seeks to address this limitation through the integration of a sensitivity-based analysis method to determine the effect of platform variable variation on the family performance. The result of this work is a Sensitivity-based PPCTM that facilitates the selection of common platform variables, such that modes for managing variety can be ranked and applied to the space element hierarchy. The proposed method is illustrated with three examples: the design of a line of customizable pressure vessels, universal electric motors, and finger pumps.