MS Thesis Presentation by Rakesh S. Kulkarni
Tuesday, March 29, 2005

(Dr. Farrokh Mistree , Chair)

"Infusion of Robustness into the Product Platform Constructal Theory Method"

Abstract

Mass customization has emerged as a manufacturing paradigm for a number of enterprises to efficiently and effectively satisfy customers' requirements for product variety. The competitive nature of today's market makes it necessary for designers to have a methodology for designing customized products in such a dynamic environment.

The Product Platform Constructal Theory Method (PPCTM), developed by Dr. Gabriel Hernandez, provides designers a methodical approach for synthesizing multiple modes of managing variety in the development of product platforms for customized products. Based on both hierarchical systems theory and constructal theory, the design of platforms for customizable products is represented as a problem of access in a geometric space. The use of the PPCTM results in a hierarchical organization of the modes of managing customization, as well as the specification of their range of application across the product platform.

The focus in this thesis is to augment the PPCTM in order to develop an effective product platform design method that alleviates three of its major

limitations: inability to deal with uncertain distributions of demand, changing design parameters and changing extents of marketplaces. The infusion of concepts of robustness helps to address the first two limitations making the product platforms unaffected by large variations in demand and design parameters. The compromise Decision Support Problem is proposed to address the third limitation of changing extents of marketplaces by strategically designing product platforms that give expected favorable results even after market expansions.

he result of this work is an augmented PPCTM that facilitates the synthesis of multiple modes for managing product variety in the presence of a dynamic environment. The augmented method is used to design a line of customizable pressure vessels and hand exercisers.