Methodology for the multi-objective optimisation of product modularity

Product modularity is an extremely powerful principle that can be used by industry to gain many advantages such as ease of product upgrade, maintenance, repair and disposal, increased product variety and greater product development speed. Researchers have outlined the advantages of modularity at various stages of the product lifecycle and have developed many modularity measures and identification techniques. However there are a lack of computerised methods that can be applied to optimise modularity for multiple lifecycle objectives. To this end a multi-objective methodology has been developed to search for optimal modules within a design structure matrix (DSM) representation of the product. Firstly, an analytic hierarchy process is applied to create a hierarchical weighting system for the modular driver based component interactions. Then an genetic algorithm(GA) with a goal based programming fitness function is applied to search for a set of module combinations that will maximise modularity for multiple product lifecycle objectives.