M.S. Thesis Presentation by Patrick James Newcomb
Friday, March 16, 2001

(Dr. David W. Rosen , advisor)

"Implications of Modularity on Product Design for the Life Cycle"


 Growing concern for the environment has spurred interest in product Design for the Life Cycle (DFLC) which encompasses all aspects of a productís life cycle from initial conceptual design, through normal product use, to the eventual disposal of the product. A productís architecture, determined during the configuration design stage, plays a large role in determining its life cycle characteristics. An architecture decomposition algorithm from the literature is adopted for partitioning architectures into modules from each life cycle viewpoint. Two measures of modularity are proposed: one that measures module correspondence between several viewpoints, and another that measures coupling between modules. The algorithm and measures are applied to the analysis and redesign of an automotive center console. Results of applying the algorithm and measures accurately reflected our intuitive understanding of the original center console design and predicted the results of our redesign. Furthermore, these measures incorporate only configuration information of the product, hence, can be used before detailed design stages.

The research is expanded in a second case study involving a partial automotive interior, which consists of the original center console with the addition of an instrument panel. This complex assembly enabled the investigation of more significant configuration design changes such as moving components from the center console to the instrument panel. This more involved study tests the application of the method and metrics to a larger, more complicated design, with promising results. Avenues of future research are brought to light through the level of complexity of this second examination.