A generic assembly relations model for product family variant management
The objective of this thesis is to develop generic assembly relations to support variant management to aid the product development for products as families. The advent of the buyers' market has encouraged manufacturers to offer products as families to meet customers needs for differentiation. This creates the corresponding need for representing the product and process variants in a way to support the assessment of impact of product variants. Through the study of literature and standards, the current status of product modelling and product family was captured. Existing models of product model have considered representation of products as one of a kind and do not have the necessary capability to incorporate the variation in production variants that is commonly seen in the assembly of families of product. A Generic Assembly Relations Model (GARM) has been developed to meet the requirements. The generic Bill-of-Material (GBQM) and generic Bill-of-Process (GBQP) have been introduced as a single formalism to represent the product and process variants. The proposed model supports the reuse of product/process variants through the Generic Assembly Relations and GBQM and GBQP. The integration is achieved by the generic relations which act as the bridge between product and process models. This research increases the understanding of how to model product and process in the product family environment. The GARM model works as a production support tool for the product family in the Concurrent Engineering environment. With the GARM model, different views of the requirements can be developed at an early stage; the designer can be supported with feedback information such as the change of product component and assembly process. The GARM model supports variant management to aid the product development for products as families. The impact of the product variant on assembly process can be evaluated through the model. It has been validated by illustrating how the data structure definition supports the evaluation of changes in product family assembly process definition when additional variants are added through an example from the Personal Computer industry.