Advanced product platform and product family design methods are needed to define and optimize the value they bring to a company. Maximizing platform commonality and individual product performance often fails to realize the most valuable product family during optimization; however, few examples exist in the literature to explore these trade-offs. This paper introduces a novel industry case study to explore the differences between “traditional” multidisciplinary design optimization (MDO) and value-driven design (VDD) approaches to product family design. The case study involves a family of five commercially-available washing machines and integrates multidisciplinary analyses, simulations, mathematical models, and response surface models to obtain ratings for individual product attributes. These attributes are then aggregated into a value function for the product family using a novel approach to estimate sales volume and a demand sensitivity curve derived from publicly available data. We then formulate and solve a “traditional” MDO product family design problem using a multi-objective genetic algorithm to minimize performance deviation and a product family penalty function. A novel VDD formulation is then introduced and solved to maximize the net present value (NPV) for the firm producing the family of products. Visualization and comparison of the results illustrate that the “traditional” MDO formulation can find several promising solutions for the product family, but it fails to find solutions that maximize the value to the firm. The results also provide a benchmark for researchers to explore alternative value function formulations and solution approaches for product family design using the novel industry case study.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Control and Systems Engineering
- Computer Science Applications
- Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
- Control and Optimization