The modular design of products leads to a large number of different products by creating distinct combinations of modules and components. This can give each product distinctive functionality, features, and performance levels. The design of modular products is of considerable importance in enabling companies to respond rapidly to changes in the market environment. This paper is concerned with the area of design with modules (DwM), which involves selecting the module combination to best satisfy the given set of requirements. The aim of this paper is to develop an approach for DwM, to meet customer requirements, using modules that come from suppliers that may be geographically separated and on differing computer platforms. An object-oriented approach for DwM, termed object-oriented design with modules (OODwM), is proposed where modules are represented as objects. The proposed OODwM approach is described and the approach is illustrated with an example involving the design of personal computers using the Internet as an implementation environment. The exchangeability inherent in OODwM is shown by exchanging the original selection object in the example implementation with a selection object that includes new constrained evolutionary algorithms. The use of an object-oriented approach for DwM offers several important potential advantages in that the model developed is readily computable, in the reusability of objects, and in the exchangeability of objects with similar interfaces. The main contributions of this paper are fourfold. First, an object-oriented approach to DwM is described. Second, a formalism for DwM using this object-oriented approach is presented. Third, the use of this formalism is illustrated with an Internet-based implementation showing how the formalism can be used for a specific problem, and how objects can be readily exchanged. Fourth, new constrained evolutionary algorithms are presented, together with some initial testing.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Control and Systems Engineering
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering