Comprehensive Product Platform Planning (CP3) Framework

Author(s): Souma Chowdhury, Achille Messac, Ritesh A Khire,
Volume: 133(12) - December, 2011

Development of a family of products that satisfies different market niches introduces significant challenges to today’s manufacturing industries—from development time to aftermarket services. A product family with a common platform paradigm offers a powerful solution to these daunting challenges. This paper presents a new approach, the Comprehensive Product Platform Planning (CP3) framework, to design optimal product platforms. The CP3 framework formulates a generalized mathematical model for the complex platform planning process. This model (i) is independent of the solution strategy, (ii) allows the formation of sub-families of products, (iii) allows the simultaneous identification of platform design variables and the determination of the corresponding variable values, and (iv) seeks to avoid traditional distinctions between modular and scalable product families from the optimization standpoint. The CP3 model yields a mixed integer nonlinear programming problem, which is carefully reformulated to allow for the application of continuous optimization using a novel Platform Segregating Mapping Function (PSMF). The PSMF can be employed using any standard global optimization methodology (hence not restrictive); particle swarm optimization has been used in this paper. A preliminary cost function is developed to represent the cost of a product family as a function of the number of products manufactured and the commonality among these products. The proposed CP3 framework is successfully implemented on a family of universal electric motors. Key observations are made regarding the sensitivity of the optimized product platform to the intended production volume.

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