Modular product architecture

Jeffrey B. Dahmus, Kevin N. Otto, Javier P. Gonzalez-Zugasti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

280 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents an approach to architecting a product family that shares inter-changeable modules. Rather than a fixed product platform upon which derivative products are created through substitution of add-on modules, the approach here permits the platform itself to be one of several possible options. We first develop function structures for each product. After comparing function structures for common and unique functions, rules are applied to determine possible modules. This process defines possible architectures. Each architecture is represented using a matrix of functions versus products, with shared/unique function levels indicated. This provides a systematic approach to generating architectures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-424
Number of pages16
JournalDesign Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2001
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Conceptual design
  • Design methodology
  • Product development
  • Product platforms


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