A systematic methodology for the modularization of manufacturing systems during early design

Abstract

A methodology is proposed to provide a guided process for modularization of manufacturing system components within the broader design process. The application focus is on manufacturing systems, including flow processes. Component clusters are formed by simultaneously considering physical-functional and strategic drivers that are fundamental to a more holistic partitioning of the system. The clustering algorithm now includes the ability to compel component unification or separation. A broad review of modularization methods was conducted to improve upon the state-of-the-art. Current methodologies can be difficult to use, are disjoint in their goals, lack objectivity, and do not produce externally repeatable solutions. The proposed methodology aims to improve upon these limitations by providing a step-by-step framework and integrating strategic and technical perspectives when clustering. The methodology is structured to guide the user toward a deeper understanding of the system, whether or not one is an expert, whereby the designer can focus more on the technical and strategic issues that should inform the modularization. A realistic case study for the modularization of a transportable fast pyrolysis plant was performed to evaluate the meaningfulness of the methodology’s results. The methodology clustered components into modules consistent with the information provided to the model, reflecting what would be expected from a deep understanding of the system.

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Correspondence to Theodor Freiheit.

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Rossi, F., Arfelli, S., Hu, S.J. et al. A systematic methodology for the modularization of manufacturing systems during early design. Flex Serv Manuf J 31, 945–988 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10696-019-09338-7

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Keywords

  • Modularization
  • Clustering
  • Decomposition
  • Manufacturing systems
  • Flow processes
  • Design process