Enhanced product realisation through modular design: an example of product/process integration

The success of new products in the market place depends upon timeliness, cost effectiveness and quality. The realisation of such products demands an integrated, structured, requirements driven approach to their development and manufacture. Requirements can be identified from both the customer and the business enterprise and are often in opposition through the customer’s desire for variety and customisation and business’ desire for standardisation and rationalisation. This paper presents design modularisation as an integrated, structured approach to these requirements. The efficacy of the approach is demonstrated through a case study of modularity applied to a measurement whilst drilling (MWD) electronic sensor for civil engineering and oil industry applications. The product presents a mixed technology platform comprising mechanical, electronic and software elements. The benefit of design modularisation is shown through improved product development, manufacture and performance. Further opportunities are identified for the development of modularity tools, their support and the investigation of modularity’s analytical performance.