Tampere University of Technology

TUTCRIS Research Portal

Designing modular product architecture in the new product development

Research output: Book/ReportDoctoral thesisMonograph


Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTampere
PublisherTampere University of Technology
Number of pages220
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-15-1924-6
ISBN (Print)978-952-15-1898-0
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2007
Publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)

Publication series

NameTampere University of Technology. Publication
PublisherTampere University of Technology
ISSN (Print)1459-2045


In this dissertation, the bases of the synthesis of the modular structure in new product design are examined. In a number of previous studies, the functional structure of the product has been presented as the primary basis for the modular structure. However, as shown in this dissertation, this approach is actually not possible in a genuine new product design process without iteration. This is proved theoretically by examining the systematical design process and by analyzing the elements that implement the goals. In addition, it is shown with hermeneutical historical examination and eight industrial examples that functionality is not always relevant in the design of the modular division from the viewpoint of the business environment. As a result from the first part of the dissertation, it is shown that there is no justification for prioritizing the functional structure over the other motivations for modularity. As thus functional approach has been discarded, we set out to examine the bases to which the synthesis of a modular structure ought to be based. To enable the examination, modularity is examined in a business environment that is larger than the design environment. We make observations on the changes in the use of modularity over history, and based on these, present a theory of the development of the modular product structures. The definition of modularity is examined, and modularity as a phenomenon is divided into two categories: variation related modularity and modularity related to the life cycle of the product. Most of the material and the examples in this study are related to variation related modularity that is called M-modularity in this dissertation. To chart the reasons for the formation of the module structure, we use the company strategic landscape framework (CSL) introduced earlier and analyze eight industrial sample cases with it. In the cases, the effect of function-basedness compared to the effect of the business environment is evaluated. As a conclusion, we state that the CSL-analysis process that creates the model is clearly better than the function-based one. On the basis of the results, the company strategic landscape framework is accepted as the starting point for the design process of a new modular product to be presented. The process is formed on the basis of the framework model and the V model presented in the Systems Engineering research and on the process of systematical design used on its bottom levels. The proposed method is compared to previous research and it is proved that it is possible to implement the presented design process of a new modular product even with the existing design tools.

Publication forum classification

Downloads statistics

No data available