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Optimal modular product families

A platform consists of a finite number of modules used for building a family of products with more or less shared or unique properties. That is, some of the modules are used globally in a number of products in the family while others are unique and only used in one single product. Today, most car manufactures try to reuse and share as many components as possible when it comes to developing closely related vehicles. Another important aspect is the overall wish to be able to make decisions concerning commonality questions in a product family as early as possibly, perhaps long before there is any 3D CAD geometry developed for the different products.

An optimization process has to answer two basic questions. A first one is what is the extent of an appropriate module and the second one is what is the best design of the modules (shared or not)? Different objectives such as performance or cost are of interest in optimization activities including different types of design variables. The project aims at extending and using such an optimization process for product families in the car industry.

Structural optimization of platforms is so far a fairly undeveloped area but the interest from different car manufactures seems to be significant. The global rapidly increasing competition between different car brands puts focus on a short time to market for a new product and it also gives attention to the importance of being able to offer the customers a variety of different products facing the requirements from different segments of the market.

The goal of the project is to develop a robust, easy to use and flexible tool for optimization of modular product families under a variety of different objective functions using models of different levels of discretization from simple beam models to more complex shell geometries, perhaps also including spot welds and utilization design variables of different kinds such as shape, size and topology optimization variables.


Page responsible: Bo Torstenfelt
Last updated: 2008-02-07