Modularization as a driver for sustainable product design

The structuration of a product, i.e. the distribution of product functions and components, has a great influence in all the phases of the product life cycle. As a consequence, the optimization of the product structure is a largely addressed topic. Product modular structure or product modularization is a highly cited approach. It is claimed to confer a large range of advantages, e.g. enabling for mass customization, allow environmentally friendly EoL strategies, reduce product development costs, allowing efficient work in loosely coupled organization.

Status: runs
Partners: Collaborative Research Center 1O26 "Sustainable Manufacturing". Funded by: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.
Keywords: product modularization, modularity, product modular structure, design decomposition, part integration.

However, a clear view of the advantages of modularization and of the corresponding methods is still to be developed. This project aims at providing a clear view on the contribution of product modular structure for sustainable product development. It shall allow designers to find the right method for product structuration corresponding to their sustainability goals.

Project plan

  1. perform a systematic review of the engineering design literature with the aim of developing a conceptual map of modularization methods, guidelines, drivers and sustainability objectives.
  2. development of a comprehensive and coherent conceptual structure (e.g. ontology) of modularization methods, guidelines, drivers and sustainability objectives.
  3. integration of the conceptual map in an Design Decision Assistant helping to find the right methods to implement modularization in order to follow sustainability goals.