Modularization Assessment of Product Architecture
Modularization refers to the opportunity for mixing-and-matching of components in a modular product design in which the standard interfaces between components are specified to allow for a range of variation in components to be substituted in a product architecture. It is through mixing-and-matching of these components, and how these components interface with one another, that new systems are created. Consequently, the degree of modularization inherent in a system is highly dependent upon the components and the interface constraints shared among the components, modules, and sub-systems. In this paper, a mathematical model is derived for analyzing the degree of modularization in a given product architecture by taking into consideration the number of components, number of interfaces, the composition of new-to-the-firm (NTF) components, and substitutability of components. An analysis of Chrysler windshield wipers controller suggests that two product architectures may share similar interface constraints, but the opportunity for modularization of one module is significant higher than the other due to the higher substitutability of its components and lower composition of NTF components.
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