A methodology for collaborative design customization
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Modern design methodologies have used Function Component Matrices in a variety of different ways in order to support various facets of an engineering design process. The mapping of functions to components can be used to model and capture the dependencies and relationships that exist. This process is accomplished by breaking down complicated functions into smaller, easier to understand functions. This decomposition allows engineers to get a better understanding for how a change in each component within a product will affect the overall operation of the product. Being able to recognize the impact of the propagation of a sub-function change will give designers a better understanding of the flexibility (or lack thereof) of choices they have when designing a product for customization. In turn they can be used to inform the consumer regarding the consequences their customization choices can have on the final product. This thesis discusses how a Functional Component Matrix (FCM) can be used to assist in this process of product customization and understanding change propagation. In order for the process to take place effectively both the engineer and the consumer need an effective way of using the information in a FCM. To address this concern, this thesis has developed a method along with an interface to be used by the consumer while customizing a product. The interface captures all the information in an FCM and presents it to the consumer in an easy to understand way.