Progressive sharing of modules among product variants

Gabriel Dobrescu, Yoram Reich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent market transition from mass production to mass customization forces manufacturers to design products that meet individual requirements. In order to address the high cost of this practice, manufacturers develop product families with a common platform, whose variants are designed to meet different customer demands. Parallel to this transition, the dynamics of the market forces designers to develop products composed of modules that are standardized as much as possible across products, thus can be more resilient than complete designs in a changing world. Starting from an original set of different components, our method designs a modular common platform and additional modules, shared by subsets of the designs, from which variants are composed. We applied the method to the layout design of a set of products. Consequently, the geometric aspect of the product family optimization is emphasized, but functional aspects related to the product features and to customer needs are also addressed due to their manifestation in the layout. The design search space is explored using shape grammar rules that alter component geometry and therefore, functionality. The search for optimal design is performed using simulated annealing. Given different objective formulations or parameter settings, the method can be used to explore the solution space. A simple example problem demonstrates the feasibility of the method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)791-806
Number of pages16
JournalCAD Computer Aided Design
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 2003


  • Basic platform
  • Common platform
  • Layout design
  • Modularity
  • Product family
  • Simulated annealing
  • Standardization
  • Variety


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