A design framework for product families implemented with additive manufactured variable platforms
Date of Issue2017
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Challenges exist in developing new product family design methodologies that can utilize the additive manufacturing (AM) advantages to improve the product family competitiveness in a cost efficient way. In this research, the author attempts to compensate the performance compromise in conventional product families by proposing the novel concept of an additive manufactured variable platform (VP); and the major objective of this thesis is to develop a design framework that helps designers implement additive manufactured VP modules within product families. During the development of the design framework, the following methodologies have been proposed: 1) a representative mathematical model to formulated the VP-based product family configuration; 2) a hybrid machine learning approach to select appropriate AM design features for addtive manufactured VP modules; 3) a fuzzy time-driven activity-based costing method to predict the AM production cost variation as a function of VP design adjustments, 4) a novel evaluation metric for VP-based product family designs, and 5) a multiobjective design optimization technique to identify the modular configuration and engineering design parameters of a product family. A case study of an R/C racing car family design is used throughout this thesis to demonstrate the usefulness of the proposed methodology. The implementation of additive manufactured VP modules shows a significant improvement in a product family’s performance at the price of a slight decrease in design commonality. As the major contribution of this research, the proposed design framework provides designers and enterprises with a guideline in developing high-performance and cost-efficient product families by utilizing AM-enabled design flexibility. The two previously separate research domains, i.e. AM and product family design, are integrated using the proposed framework and the constituent methodologies.