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Modularization assessment of product architecture

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Modularization refers to the opportunity for mixing-and-matching of components ina modular product design in which the standard interfaces between components arespecified to allow for a range of variation in components to be substituted in aproduct architecture. It is through mixing-and-matching of these components, andhow these components interface with one another, that new systems are created.Consequently, the degree of modularization inherent in a system is highly dependentupon the components and the interface constraints shared among the components,modules, and sub-systems. In this paper, a mathematical model is derived foranalyzing the degree of modularization in a given product architecture by taking intoconsideration the number of components, number of interfaces, the composition ofnew-to-the-firm (NTF) components, and substitutability of components. An analysisof Chrysler windshield wipers controller suggests that two product architectures mayshare similar interface constraints, but the opportunity for modularization of onemodule is significant higher than the other due to the higher substitutability of itscomponents and lower composition of NTF components.

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Juliana Hsuan Mikkola

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