Integrating Modularity into Product Development

1           Table of Contents

1 Table of Contents

2 Abstract / Summary

3 Scope and Nature of the Technical Research to be Undertaken

4 Gantt chart of proposed activities______________________________________4

5 Introduction_______________________________________________________ 5
6         Research___________________________________________________________6
6.1       Modularity_______________________________________________________6
6.2       Advantages of Modularity__________________________________________6
6.3      Modularity in Products_____________________________________________6
6.4       Manufacturing Modularity_________________________________________6
6.5       Three Facets of Modularity_________________________________________6
6.6      Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DFMA)________________________6
6.7       Market Research_________________________________________________6
6.8       Product Analysis_________________________________________________6
6.9     Proposed Solutions_______________________________________________6

7         References and Bibliography__________________________________________7

7.1 References______________________________________________________7

7.2 Bibliography_____________________________________________________7

2    Abstract / Summary

In today’s ever growing world of technological advancements, we are well surrounded by objects made of remarkable sophistication, complexity and power. Everyday multiple new products are introduced that are at once appealing and useful, here the pace of change has immerged us into an environment that is filled with risks and rewards. There are innumerable products around us that serve a particular purpose but as the world is advancing more and more and we’re being introduced to multiple alternatives in terms of affordability, appearance and functionality amongst these products. We as consumers are thriving to get more in less and to fulfill these demands, all well established companies are going out of their ways to make sure that these needs are met. Ulrich & Eppinger (1995) state that ‘Perhaps the most important characteristic of a product’s architecture is its modularity’ which directly influences its initial cost of production, ease of serviceability and effort needed to retire the product. By achieving modularity during the development of a product a lot of resources can be saved from exhaustion and also make it easier for the manufacturers to update it responding to the evolving market trends.

3           Scope and Nature of the Technical Research to be undertaken

  • Introduction: What is Modularity?
  • Types of Modularity
  • Advantages of Modularity
  • Manufacturing Modularity
  • Three facets of Modular product designing
  • Design for Assemble & Manufacture (DFMA)
  • Once the base argument is developed, the next step would be to find the right market to apply modularity.
  • Example product analysis for the chosen market
  • Design Solution proposed

4           Gantt chart of proposed activities

5         Introduction

According to (DeGarmos Materials and Processes in Engineering, 2016) Modularity is a degree to which a system’s component maybe separated and recombined. However, it can be used in different contexts and its definition changes accordingly. For example. In Biology, it is the concept that organisms or metabolic pathways are composed of modules. In Nature, modularity refers to the construction of a cellular organism by joining together standardized units to form larger compositions. In cognitive science, the idea of modularity of mind holds that the mind is composed of independent, closed, domain-specific processing modules, etc. But here we will be concentrating on Modularity in Industrial design, which refers to an engineering technique that builds larger systems by combining smaller subsystems.

The aim of this research is to find the relevance of implementing modularity when designing new products and how it can reduce the overall cost of production while easing serviceability. A comprehensive understanding of the usage of modularity in products, currently produced in the industry and its overall impact on the society will be developed.

The growing concern for the environment has spurred a great interest in environmentally aware design and manufacturing amongst designers worldwide. Introducing Modularity in consumer products can help bring multiple manufactures come together creating differentiated assembly lines that can decrease the production time while keeping the cost of production at minimum and providing multifaceted products to the consumers.

To infuse Modularity in the manufacturing of a product, it is necessary to understand the various manufacturing processes that each attribute of each component has to go through. The design elements of the product are then split up and assigned to modules following a formal plan or setting ( Module: Each of a set of standardized parts or independent units that can be used to construct a more complex structure, such as an item of furniture or a building, Oxford Dictionary) . This leads to the formation of two types of modules, one that are ‘hidden’, meaning the changes implemented on to them do not affect the other modules and the other being “visible” meaning that they comprise of certain “design rules” that the designers of the hidden- module must follow for them to function together. Through such Modular products a range of alternatives are offered that enable designers to replace earlier inferior solutions with the later superior solutions without affecting any change in the assembly lines that the product has to go through, further reducing costs of redesigning.
In this research we will be understanding the role of Modularity as a part of Product design process, its benefits and how involving it earlier in the design and manufacturing of the product can positively impact on its overall life cycle.

6          Research

6.1         Modularity

To begin with the definition of modularity, the website of Baldwin and Clark [2000] offers few interesting hints. “The design of IBM’s 360 mainframe computer was truly modular—it was designed to have various parts, called modules. The modules were designed and produced independently of one another, but, when combined, they worked together seamlessly. As a result, all systems built out of System/360 modules could run the same software. Further, new modules could be added to the system, and the old ones upgraded, without rewriting code or disrupting the operations”.

($12). In the above mentioned example some of the parts are underlined to identify the importance of the critical features related to modularity.

Firstly, modules are “designed and produced independently”. One of the main advantages in the modular organization of design activities is the independence in each modules design. A complex system being separated into individual modules means that these can be placed into separate, specialized teams and then designed and produced independently. Here these teams can work autonomously, both inside or outside the company, due to the structure of modularity that allows “information hiding”. Now coming towards the sentence “they worked together seamlessly”, meaning irrespective of these modules being designed separately, they are able to work coordinately. Truly, if it were compensated by a greater difficulty in coordinating due to the independence in the organization of design, modularity would not be considered of such a great importance. And so the modules ability to work together with the other modules in the system becomes really important and hence it drives the usage of standard interfaces.

Lastly, the three underlined sentences can be discussed all together: “all systems, could run the same software. Further, new modules could be added, and old ones upgraded”.

Here, thequestion arises again of modules independency, both in terms of an organizational and technical perspective. Nonetheless, they still work together, sharing common resources as in this case being a common software. Due to such independency of the modules, new modules can further be added and that old ones can be updated. As these modules are independent to each other, the entire system can be improved and updated overtime through the simply substituting single or a group of modules. The only condition here is that the new or upgraded module contains the same set of standard interfaces so that the system can work as they worked seamlessly with the older version, even if it is with a higher performance.

There are a variety of products around us that can be considered as modular at a certain degree.  A car, For instance, Volkswagen reported that, in its Resende factory in Brazil, they adopted a modular approach to the manufacturing process. In the factory, a limited number of locally pre-assembled ‘modules’ by the suppliers are used in the assembling of Industrial vehicles.

Currently the use of pre-assembled modules has become customary in the automotive manufacturing practice of elements such as the cockpit (which incorporates a dashboard with a sound system, ventilation pipes and multiple controls and gadgets that are placed in front of the car’s interior), gadgets related with the vehicles doors (that includes power windows, latches and loud speakers) and for bumpers (including Park distance control and headlights). Such parts are produced independently by different suppliers and then assemble together to offer multiple application usage to the Customers. The above mentioned example reflects the increase in variety of uses that is associated with the modular architecture. Splitting a product into a set of modules helps in increasing the number of possible variations, allowing each of these modules to be combined in many different ways. This provides an advantage not only to the end-user but to the producers as well.

Nevertheless, the example of the car is implicitly based on the existence of a variety limit in the parts size and design: not the all parts can fit any given car and could demand a change in the external structures in order to be used. This means that the variations obtained through a modular configuration in a product is limited by the overall architecture of its system. So give a certain set of standard interfaces, the modular variety can be the highest variety but not the maximum possible variety. The main modularity characters arose here can be completed by two more definitions.

As showed in one of the recently published contributions, “Modularity is about how parts are grouped together and about how groups of parts interact and communicate with one another” [Langlois 2000]. Here the focus is on: interaction, communication and grouping of parts. This shifts the attention from physical products to a system where processes like interaction, communication and part grouping can take place. Modularity becomes a matter of language [Langlois 2000]. Finally, modularity is a matter of degree of complexity [Shilling 2000]. A complex system can be modular at various degrees.

Then, the significant step is to measure the degree to which the system is modular, determining its evolutionary trajectories towards configurations of higher or lower modularity and also identifying the dimensions that drive its temporal evolution.

6.2         Advantages of Modularity

6.2.1        Reduction in Product Development Time

Modularity depends on splitting a product into multiple components with a clear definition of the standard interfaces. These interfaces allow the design task to be separated and later combined. This separation reduces the complexity of the overall design and enables design tasks to be performed coincidently, which directly influences the product development time and hence the product can be developed faster.

6.2.2        Customisation and Upgrades

Modular products fulfil the requirements of the end-users by accommodating several functional components that interact in a specific manner. This interaction of components allows the products to be improved and updated over time with the use of more efficient components performing the given functions effectively. Further, these components can be replaced or customized to fulfil different functions.

6.2.3        Cost Efficiencies Due to Amortization

Modular components can be used in numerous product lines, meaning that their production volumes are greater. Allowing the amortization of the expenses involved with the development over a large number of products.

6.2.4        Quality

Modularity enables production tasks to be able to perform simultaneously. Thus, components that are independent can be produced and tested separately before they are integrated into a modular product design. This helps is improving the overall quality of the product.

6.2.5        Design Standardization

Modular design facilitates design standardization by identifying the relative component functions which can be group together reducing the incidental interactions between these component and the other parts of the product.

6.2.6        Reduction in Order Lead Time

Modular products can be developed by incorporating standardised and customised components. This enables the designer to inventory the standard components, and then focus on the customization of the differentiated components. Furthermore, modular products can work as a combination of standard components, as in, the same standard components (inventoried) can be integrated in multiple ways to interact and perform variety of functions that can respond to end-users requirements.

“The advantages of modular design for manufacturing centred on extending the elements of flexibility and economies of scale that modular products have used to greatly increase the end user experience. Integrating flexibility, modularity, and adaptability into design to provide additional freedom to adjust and adapt to change” (Shah, 1996). The advantages of manufacturing modularity include: “streamlined suppliers, reduced inventory, fewer works in process and faster process time…” (Ishii, 1995), as well as component economies of scale, ease of product upgrade, increased product variety from a smaller set of components, and decreased order lead-time (Ulrich, 1991).

6.3         Modularity in Products

Modularity can be applied in the areas of product design, design problems, production systems, or all three. But in this research we will apprehend Modularity in product design.

Modular products through the combination of discrete building blocks or modules can attain various overall functions, and this overall function performed by the product can be further divided into sub-functions that can be incorporated by different modules or components. One of the important facet of modular products is the development of a basic core unit to which different modules or elements can be fitted, hence enabling the production of variety of versions of the same module.  This core unit needs to have sufficient capacity to cope with all the variations created with the independent modules and their performance and usage.

Many Product systems are modular, they can be decomposed into a number of components that can be mixed and matched in a variety of configurations (Garud and Kumaraswamy, 1995; Sanchez, 1995; Sanchez and Mahoney, 1996). These components are able to join, interact, or exchange resources (like energy or data) in some way, by clinging to a standardized interface. Unlike a tightly integrated product, where each of the component is designed to be working specifically (and often exclusively) with other specific components in a tightly integrated system, Modular products are systems of components that are “loosely coupled” (Orton and Weick, 1990; Sanchez and Mahoney, 1996; Weick, 1976).

Another good example of a modular product is the personal computer (PC). A PC consists of multiple varieties of components (parts) or building blocks such as hard drive, CPU, RAM, CD-ROM, graphics card and many other modules. Many of these can be upgraded or changed with little or no modification to the other modules when needed.

For example, a mother board of a CPU can be sold with different combinations of processor, hard drives, RAM, and etc. with the use of such modular parts, a company can choose from a huge variety of elements and form a product that can meet the end-user’s requirements.

The modules containing a high number of elements which have minimaldependencies upon and correspondence to other components in the product, not in the module but which have a higher degree of dependency upon and correspondence to other components in the module. These dependencies and correspondence include those which emerge from the relationships between the component’s attributes and those which emerge from the relationships between the components during the various phenomena the components undergo during their life-cycle (Figure 1).
Product Modularity
Figure 1: Representation of a product with modular (Module A) and non-modular (Group B and Other Components) sub-systems.

Thus, in a module, each of the components is independent of all the other components that are contained within the same module (Independence). Furthermore, each component present in a module must go through a similar during each phase of its life-cycle (similarity) to reduce the interdependencies between the modules.

This definition parallels with Suh’s (1990) form function independence definitions but also considers the application of modularity to other concerns in addition to customer requirements. The form-function relationship has hence been substituted with a form-process relationship. While complete modularity could be seen to be unrealistic except in the most trivial cases, a product that displays a higher degree of modularity is more likely to sustain a lower total life-cycle cost especially when examining the entire product family.

6.4         Manufacturing Modularity

Manufacturing modularity, a particular characteristic modularity. (Where “Characteristic modularity is defined as modularity applied to an individual life-cycle characteristics” (Gershenson and Prasad, 1997). Characteristic modules with regard to a particular phase of the lifecycle, contain a high number of components which have minimal dependencies upon and similarities to other components in the product. Examples of characteristic modularities are shown below in Figure 2.) Manufacturing Modularity

Figure 2: Views of a product as it goes through some of the major life-cycle processes. Once again, Module A is modular while Group B and Other Parts are non-modular.

Manufacturing Modularity can be defined as the development of the product modules with minimal dependencies consequent to other components in the product with regard to their manufacturing processes. Furthermore, the components present within the module have minimal similarities to external components and maximal similarities to each other with regard to their manufacturing processes. Such modularity can emerge from, e.g.  A module that comprises of all the components present in a product that are injection molded.

When defining the manufacturing modularity of a product an important consideration to undertake is the chosen level of abstraction of the manufacturing process itself. The manufacturing of a product comprises of multiple tasks and these task are further made up of sub-tasks. A product could be modular (similar and independent) when examined from the viewpoint of the overall manufacturing processes (For example, injection molding vs forging) but at a certain task level, the structure may not be modular at all with respect to the manufacturing process (For example: similarity of fixturing components within a module). And so, when relative manufacturing modularity of a product is being defined, one must do so with respect to the tasks and sub-tasks comprised in the manufacturing process. It’s parallel to considering the level of abstraction of the product.

Finally, it is important that the effect of manufacturing on each product attribute is taken into account by each manufacturing modularity. Similarly, it is important to consider each attribute of the product, components and modules, when looking for interactions and dependencies between components and modules. For example the housing of an electric coffee maker which is a modular assembly comprising multiple components. And all of the components of the housing are made of the same type of plastic and are manufactured to have similar tolerance specifications, possess the same surface condition, and undergo the same set of manufacturing process. Product attributes include: geometry, features, tolerances, surface condition, materials, and facilities (Gershenson, 1995).

6.5         Three Facets of Modularity

It is important to look at manufacturing modularity from the viewpoint of creating more modular products. Which is quite different from designing products that have reconfigurable or interchangeable parts. It’s also seen to be quite different from maintaining form/function independence. One of the goals of modular design is to combine all attributes with similar process into a single module and separate them from all other attributes and processes. When creating modular products it is important to ensure that at each level of abstraction the products attributes remain as independent from each other as possible for each level of abstraction of the manufacturing tasks. And if the dependency does occur, it should occur within a given module. Further, for every attribute within a module the manufacturing process should be similar.

The goal of modular design for manufacturing includes a one-to-one form/process relationship (independence). This involves maintaining both form to form, process to process independence and the relationship between the two. “Another important aspect of modular products is the similarity of how the module and its components are manufactured” (Gershenson, 1996-2). In addition, one more perspective on the independence between the form and the process is similarity. The entire module needs ti undergo the same manufacturing processes for each part of the form
(module). The final aspect of modular design is having minimal varieties of interfaces (interchangeability). This is used commonly in the industry today.

A product must be designed while undertaking the facets of modularity in practice to increase independence and similarity.
These facets of modularity are commonly known as attribute independence, attribute similarity, process independence, and process similarity.

The more unique and independent the components and their manufacturing processes, the more modular the product. (Attribute similarity is not necessary for modular products as long as attribute independence is preserved and so it is excluded) e.g. In a given product many distinct modules can have blue components and still remain modular, although, if the components must all be similar in color then there is a dependency which reduces modularity.

Following are the three facets of modular product design with examples:


  1. Attribute Independence:
    The component attributes having fewer dependencies on the attributes of the components outside the module, such components are called external attributes. If the dependencies do exist, there should be fewer of them and should be dependent on to a lesser degree. Attribute independence produces yields for independence which enables modularity. It allows for the redesigning of a module with minimized effects on the rest of the product system, which further helps in making a product that is more agile in meeting the changing requirements of the end-users. E.g. A large cast aluminium component which rests on a plastic box. Now if there’s change in material being heavy iron for the cast component, a rib component will be needed inside to do so. Therefore, both the module will need to be redesigned for the change that should’ve only affected on one of them. 
  1. Process Independence:
    The manufacturing processes of each module are independent or have fewer dependencies on the processes of external components. It requires the manufacturing processes that the module undergoes be independent of the processes that the external components and modules have undergone by. Once more, and dependencies that still exist are minimised in criticality and number.
    For example, in a given process where two cast parts that have to be pressed together still in a hot state to strengthen the bond. If one of the process changes related to either of the parts so that there is a difference in cooling time, the processes that the other part has to undergo should also be changed so they can be pressed together at the same time.
  1. Process Similarity:

To reduce the number of external components that undergo the same process and create a strong differentiation amongst modules, it is necessary to group the components and sub-assemblies that undergo the same manufacturing processes into the same module. For example, Reinforced plastic components that are used in motorcycles like rear swing, rear forks, arm, wheel and disks can be woven fibres, chopped fabric, a slightly twisted fibre or a continuous lengths of fibre. Good bonding between the polymer matrix and the reinforcing fibre can only be achieved by coating the reinforcement with polymer. All of the components will undergo this specialized process. Therefore if they were grouped in a single module, each of these components that went through this process could be made at a single location and have a similar reaction to any changes proposed in the manufacturing process.

The process uniqueness also ensures that the changes to individual life-cycle only affect a single module of the product, hence conserving redesign energy. It can prevent the cascade of design changes caused by small changes in manufacturing process of a product when coupled with the other three facets of modularity.

Ignoring the rest of the life-cycle of the product while designing only for manufacturing modularity is not optimal, manufacturing modularity is important. Manufacturing is one of the most influential parts of the products life-cycle as it has the largest body of knowledge.

These factors facilitate in developing a sound methodology to understand manufacturing modularity. Hence the having products that are modular in terms of manufacturing have decreased change time and set-up costs, better utilization of production resources and decreased scheduling complexity.

6.6         Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DFMA)

The Design for Assembly (DFA) can show consequential savings during the production according to Boothroyd and Dewhurst (1985) and others (Sturges, 1992; Miyakawa, 1990).

One way of minimising the assembly cost is by reducing the number of components of the product. Hence, fewer number of components are seen in modular products for assembly.

The reduction in cost of assembly can be seen as there’s an increase in pre-assembly and use of common interfaces.

Similarly, Design for Manufacturability (DFM) helps in improving the product’s design decreasing the cost of production.

And so in order to accomplish the goal of this research to reduce the overall cost and time of production while increasing functionality and serviceability we will be involving DFMA analysis earlier in the design process which can reduce the amount of assumptions made while creating concurrent costing estimates, generating more reliable data to make the best decisions and expediting the project schedule.


Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA) method was introduced by

Geoffrey Boothroyd since 1960s on automatic handling. This enables the use of  gathered data of previously done mistakes, speeding up the development process and accomplishing new philosophies and technologies to further ensure that the activities that are quicker and more precise in generating results can really reach this target. (Pedro, 2006). All aspects of design, development, manufacturability, total parts, assembly time, cost and modularity are considered in this analytical process. This process mainly focuses on enhancing the product to allow improvements in the manufacturing, quality, reliability, cost, time to market, and many other fields.

Integration of discrete but highly interrelated issues of manufacturing processes and assembly occurs in DFMA. Through its use companies can make the full use of manufacturing processes that exist while minimising the number of parts in an assembly.

DFMA is a system that is constructed using the building blocks that arise from the separate treatment of the productions system and manufacturing processes of a products life cycle.

DFM and DFA are the two elements that focus in the increasing the percentage of time spent on the conceptual design phase in a products development (Stone et al., 2004)

These are the two important milestone in the process of products development, as DFM is used during the early realization of the technical criteria needed to be fulfilled by successful creation of the assembly parts. (Giachetti, 1999, Stone et al., 2004,

Martin, 2002, Dewhurst, 2010). Therefore, DFM enables designers and product developers to collect early knowledge of the technical/ managerial specifications of the parts, hence laying a fertile ground for the devising methods of manufacturing that come in harmony with the specifications set. On the contrary, satisfying the standards of production that are attributed to production rate, lead times and yield rate is made possible by the application of DFA systems in the designing and development of products less parts promote easier assembly in the aspect of time and work. (Giachetti, 1999, Stone et al., 2004, Martin, 2002, Dewhurst, 2010)

Figure 3: Elements of DFMA

Product designing is the initial step in the product development process and it is where the most critical decision are undertaken that affects the final form and cost of the product, having an impact on  more that 70 % of the overall cost of a product. This can greatly help in improving the costs of production and development while improving on quality and reliability.

Basically, the main objective of this research is to redesign a new selection of consumer products for a more modular design and lower production cost. Hence, the DFMA method will be applied to analyze the Chosen product. As it offers a systematic process helping in simplification of the overall design leading to improving the integration between designer and manufacturer, to increase productivity, reduce the cost, improve product quality and reliability, to shorten lead time and fulfil the end users requirements (Tianhong Luo, 2007).

DFMA Methodology ——–


DFMA is known as a systematic design evaluation process, used to improve part design and part manufacture implemented earlier in the design process. Figure 4 illustrates the scope of the DFMA process.

Figure 4: Scope of DFMA

As mentioned earlier Design for manufacturing and assembly (DFMA) consists of two main building blocks that is Design for Manufacturing (DFM) and Design for Assembly (DFA). Where DFM methodology is used to analyse individual part geometry and process choices for impact on the manufacturing process, materials and tooling costs, while DFA is a structured methodology used to analyse the design concepts or existing products to simplify the design and assembly processes. Although DFA can be seen as a separate philosophy, it is commonly seen as a central element of DFM.

To implement DFMA in the development process of a product there is a need for extra planning time earlier in the design phase. Later in the process of development this time is usually recovered as the early attention to creating a detailed design and its direct impact on manufacturing eliminates the need for design evaluation and improvement.

Figure 5 shows an estimate of time saved in the product development compared to the traditional design philosophy to concurrent philosophy of engineering/ DFMA methodology.

Figure 5: Traditional Process vs. Concurrent Engineering Process

As shows in the figure 5, roughly 45% of time can be saved by applying the DFMA methodologies. DFMA is usually based on the experience and mostly be achieved through hands-on learning.

Following are the goals associated with the DFMA methodology:

  • The major goal being profit.
  • Eliminating unnecessary adjustments.
  • Minimisation of reorientations during manufacturing and assembly.
  • Maximise teamwork and consensus decision- making.
  • Design for easy service.
  • Enhancing ergonomic conditions for the operators.
  • A good manual design could lead to partially or fully automated assembly process.

During the initial analyses of a concept design or an existing product these principles should be considered. Here, Design efficiency being the performance evaluation factor is used to determine the effectiveness of the current design, and this value is then used as the baseline to further improve the design by implementing   the identified goals. This value is calculated for all the new design alternatives, the method of determination varies depending upon the type of DFMA method being used. There a multiple discrete methods for evaluating part for DFMA, although these techniques have a number of common steps associated with them. They begin by tearing down the part, and as each part is removed for the overall assembly, three questions are put forward for the identification of the component that is a candidate (or the components that are candidates) for combination or elimination into other components

These question are as follows:

  • Does the component move relative to the others?
  • Does the component have to be of a different material?
  • Would combination of these parts prevent assembly/ disassembly of the other parts?

There are a lot of different ways to answer the question mentioned above. One of which is used in component reduction and simplification of the design, that is the “Subtract and Operate method” (SOP).This methods helps in identifying the components that can be eliminated.

The Subtract and Operate (SOP) is a four-step procedure, as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6: The Subtract and Operate Procedure


The Subtract and Operate procedure (SOP) is an in-depth analysis of the assembly consisting of basic part, answering the fundamental question being “is that part required?” SOP provides a procedure to expose components that can be eliminated from the overall assembly. A method must be used for the combination of the eliminated components with the remaining component a given assembly. And to evaluate the impact on these combinations of parts, “force flow diagram” are proposed. Like other linear diagrams these force flow diagrams represent the transfer of force through a product’s components. In this method, components are shown using circle whereas forces are shown by arrows that are also used to connect components.

Figure 7 (a) illustrates an example of a three- piece paper clip. In this case, the hand transfers the force to each of the lever arms, and the arms in turn transfers the force to each of the lever arms, and the arms in turn transfers the force to clip. This is represented in the force flow diagram Figure 7 (b).

Figure 7: Paper clip Example

The force flow diagram shown above shows the force flow through the product.

This diagram is used to analyse the assembly and determine which components can be combined, “R” is used in the diagram to illustrate a relation between two components. Then, the diagram is decomposed into sub-assemblies based of the “R’s”. If components are not violation the assembly, material or disassembly issues can then combined. The combination of parts that do not belong to the same sub-assemblies becomes more complicated. A renowned method to answer the three major question and to execute DFMA is using a “Functionality Chart”. This chart provides the sequence and logic for the designers to be able to determine if the component is a candidate for eliminating or for the possible combining with the other components of the assembly. The Functionality flowchart and its process sequence is shown in figure 8.

Figure 8: DFMA Functional Criteria Flowchart
With the usage of this chart, the essential and non-essential components can be identified,

And the design efficiency can be then calculated depending upon the DFMA methodology used which is an estimate of how good the design is when compared to the three major questions.



Feedback: Why introduce modularity (benefits)?

Make it a clear proposal.
Give clear examples phones (project ERA) , pc’s maybe cars
decided between QFD and DFMA and go ahead with one of them being clear about the direction of research

Concentrate on flow and structure of the research

Use multiple references for these topics

Talk about things you could do and you couldn’t in the research

Summary Table at the end

Construct a better flow, creating relationship
relate everything.


7          References and Bibliography

7.1         References

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  • Ulrich, K T and Eppinger, S D, 1995, Product Design and

Development, McGraw-Hill, New York.

  • Ulrich, K. and K. Tung (1991), “Fundamentals of Product Modularity,” Proceedings of the 1991 ASME Design Technical Conferences – Conference on Design Manufacture/Integration, Miami, Florida.
  • Fotis Kitsios, D. of Production Engineering & Management,  INNOREGIO: dissemination of innovation and knowledge management techniques, Technical University of Crete, January 2000
  • Ali K. Kamrani, Ph.D., Sa’ed M, Salhieh, Ph.D., Product Design For modularity Second Edition
  • CTI Reviews, 2016,  DeGarmos Materials and Processes in Engineering
  • Raghu Garud, Arun Kumaraswamy and Rchard N. Langlois, 2009, “Managing in the Modular Age: Architectures, Networks, and Organisations”, Interfirm Product Modularity. Pg 181

7.2         Bibliography

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Department of Precision Machinery Engineering, The University of Tokyo

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