Year: 1998
Editor: Marcel Tichem, Delft University of Technology, Mogens Myrup Andreasen, Technical University of Denmark, Alex Duffy, University of Strathclyde
Author: O'Sullivan, Barry
Page(s): 113 - 122


A product family can be regarded as a collection of products which are similar - similarity being defined from a number of perspectives. For example, a collection of products may be regarded as a product family if they provide the same overall function, they have similar properties or they are built from the same parts. The objective of this paper is to demonstrate that constraint based reasoning offers a promising basis for the development of support tools for designers concerned with the design of product families. A constraint-based design environment is currently being developed which assists a designer in designing alternative product structures from an initial statement of required functional and physical properties. Each product structure can be regarded as an intentional specification of a product family - each member of which provides the same functionality and are physically similar in structure. In this paper it is demonstrated how a constraint-based model of a product family can handle the complexity of product family design. In addition, this paper discusses how a constraint-based model of a product family is readily extensible and facilitates the specification of new product families

Keywords: Product structuring, product families, constraint-based model


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