A comparison of modular product design methods based on improvement and iteration

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Modular product design methods enable the redesign of complex products to improve overall product. Different modular design methods exist in the literature, but they have yet to be compared quantitatively. This paper defines a modular design method with the "best" performance based on the comparison of four representative methods. Our hypothesis for the comparison was that, for the same initial design and same measure, a method that generates more modular products more efficiently than those generated by other modular design methods is the best one among the methods. Four representative modular design methods were implemented, combined with a common modularity measure, and used to redesign four different products. Analysis of the redesign results showed that Zhang and Gershenson's method could consistently achieve greater modularity improvements faster. Particular facets of some methods were further analyzed for possible improvement and combination to create a new, better method for application.

Publication Title

Proceedings of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conference