Product Family Design Using Product Simulation and Multi-objective Optimization

Zapico, Miguel (2020). Product Family Design Using Product Simulation and Multi-objective Optimization. PhD thesis The Open University.



This study is concerned with the design of a range of products intended to cover different applications. The prominent example throughout the thesis is that of a family of industrial trucks that need to cater for a wide range of load capacities. That product range is normally built around platforms, i.e. basic sets of components that are common to some or all of the products in the range. With this approach, each product is made up of those common components and additionally other components that are specifically suited for each particular product.

The outcome of this thesis is a novel method to assess the possible combinations of common/specific components to build up a product range to cover a predetermined set of user applications and provide the company with a clear view of the trade-off between offering customer appealing products and keeping the costs down.

The method uses a combination of mathematical modelling and simulation for estimating the relevant performance attributes of each possible product design, fuzzy logic to reduce the naturally large number of objectives to a manageable one and a multi-objective searching algorithm to find a Pareto set of solutions to provide the decision makers with clear and useful information with which they can take a better decision.

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