A method for architecting product platforms

Javier P. Gonzalez-Zugasti, Kevin N. Otto, John D. Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

200 Citations (Scopus)


Consider a group of products sharing common parts and assemblies. The products in question we call a product family, and the common elements, the platform. In this paper, we present a method for designing product platforms and the derived family that takes into consideration both the technical performance requirements as well as the cost of the product family. The design of a platform-based product family is formulated as a general optimization problem in which the advantages of designing a common platform must be balanced against the constraints of the individual product variants and constraints of the family as a whole. This optimization approach forms the basis for a practical implementation as an interactive, team-based negotiation model for designing a family of interplanetary spacecraft based on a common platform. The approach is used to consider and specify different subsystems that could be made common to all the missions. It is also used to evaluate the impact of those platform design decisions on the performance of the product family, and thus be able to select from among feasible platform designs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-72
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • product families
  • product platforms
  • product portfolio architecture

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