TUTCRIS - Tampereen teknillinen yliopisto


Brownfield Process: A Method for the Rationalisation of Existing Product Variety towards a Modular Product Family



KustantajaTampere University of Technology
ISBN (elektroninen)978-952-15-3537-6
ISBN (painettu)978-952-15-3524-6
TilaJulkaistu - 29 toukokuuta 2015
OKM-julkaisutyyppiG4 Monografiaväitöskirja


NimiTampere University of Technology. Publication
KustantajaTampere University of Technology
ISSN (painettu)1459-2045


The purpose of the research is to define what kind of design information is needed when existing non-modular product elements are designed towards a modular product family that enables product configuration — and what kinds of steps facilitate this kind of design. Thus this thesis poses two research questions: RQ1. How to structure the design information needed in the designing of modular product families? RQ2. How to create the design information needed in the rationalisation of existing product variety towards a modular product family? The research approach includes application of Design Research Methodology (DRM) as originated by Blessing & Chakrabarti (2009). This research includes four main stages (Research Clarification, Descriptive Study I, Prescriptive Study and Descriptive Study II), all focusing on the defining of influencing factors and their impacts, as DRM suggests. This thesis considers that design reuse, product variety, standardisation, modularisation, product platforms, product families and product configuration are all main product structuring topics when an existing product assortment should be rationalised. Consideration of these topics makes up an effective tactic for the enabling of product variants to be provided for customers, without forgetting the benefits of design reuse and commonality in an industrial environment. The contribution of the research suggests that there are five key factors from a design information perspective that are essential in modular product family development aimed at product configuration. These elements are also the answer to RQ1: - Partitioning logic defines viewpoints that affect product structuring decisions from both a business and customer perspective. - A set of modules includes building blocks of product variants of a product family. - Interfaces (standardised) enable efficient defining of product variants in the order/sales-delivery process. - Architecture describes how modules and their interfaces are related to each other. Architecture also considers layout issues such as space reservations. - Configuration knowledge describes the relations between product family elements and customer needs that create a need for variety. Configuration knowledge can also present compatibilities of product elements or customer needs. The thesis also suggests a design process known as the Brownfield Process (the BfP), and includes ten steps in which design information related to the above key factors is defined. This is the suggested answer to RQ2. - Step 1: Target setting based on business environment - Step 2: Generic element model of the Module System - Step 3: Architecture: generic elements and interfaces - Step 4: Target setting based on customer environment - Step 5: Preliminary product family description - Step 6: Configuration knowledge: generic elements and customer needs - Step 7: Modular architecture: modules and interfaces - Step 8: Configuration knowledge: module variants and customer needs - Step 9: Product family documentation - Step 10: Business impact analysis The role of the BfP within the context of design research is discussed. From an academic viewpoint, there is a lack of these kinds of modularisation methods that aim at configurable products, although single aspects and key factors of the proposed method have been often discussed and their benefits and importance are emphasised separately in the literature. From an industrial viewpoint, the steps of the method can be applied in a real life environment based on the case studies. Thus contribution of the thesis can be considered worthwhile and an important addition in this research field.


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