Towards a definition of large scale products
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The range of structure sizes for industrial products produced today is increasingly expanding. This trend is evident both at the bottom end of the scale as well as the top end. Examples include the ever-smaller miniaturization of devices in the semiconductor industry and the increase in rotor diameter of wind turbines. While definitions already exist for smaller scale device structures e.g. nanotechnology, the conceptual distinction between conventional large products and large scale products is currently insufficient. In this study, we present a potential basis for the definition of large scale products. To achieve this, we first of all derive hypotheses and examine these in the context of an empirical study using the examples of threaded nuts, screw presses and passenger aircraft. The study shows that the transition from conventional products to large scale products is characterized by a disproportionate increase in product costs due to the augmentation of a characteristic product feature. Based on the findings described, we then derive a proposed definition which characterizes large scale products on the basis that man encounters his technical, organizational and economic limits with the methods and tools available at the time of observation, in the context of product creation.