Modularisation in two Global Product Developing Companies – Current State and Future Outlook

DS 91: Proceedings of NordDesign 2018, Linköping, Sweden, 14th - 17th August 2018

Year: 2018
Editor: Ekströmer, Philip; Schütte, Simon and Ölvander, Johan
Author: Raudberget, Dag; Andre, Samuel; Elgh, Fredrik
Series: NordDESIGN
Institution: Jönköping University
ISBN: 978-91-7685-185-2


Modularisation and platform strategies enable efficient utilization of resources through economies of scale and are therefore increasingly important for manufacturing companies. On the product side, modules are often considered the basis of product platforms by enabling a variety of product variants by combining interchangeable modules into different products. On the pro-cess side, modularisation enables faster and cheaper development of new product variants by reusing physical components, interfaces, and production equipment. The benefits of product platforms and modularisation have led two global product developing and manufacturing companies to initiate research projects within this field. The companies have previously made unsuccessful attempts to implement modularisation founded on a component-based approach and the firms are now searching for other methods to get the benefits of modularisation. This paper describes the initial state of practice in modularisation and product platforms in the two companies in their attempts to move from a purely physical approach to modularisation into the universal view that is presented in the Design Platform approach. Here, a platform is viewed as an evolutionary entity involving several company assets such as processes, knowledge, methods, and relationships which are essential to gain the benefits of platforms also in the development phase. The Design Platform contains various concrete resources such as the geometry of physical components, but also in homogeneous resources such as design rules, pro-cesses, methods and design automation. The results point to specific barriers that the companies experience when trying to adopt a mod-modularisation strategy. Several barriers are experienced by both companies while some are specific for one of the companies. Through several workshops, the concepts of the Design Platform and a flexible view on modularisation are introduced, and their possibilities are elaborated and ap-preciated by the workshop participants.

Keywords: Modularisation, module types, barriers, product platform, product development


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